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Jason Hawk Harris Love & the Dark Album Art
2019
| BS 272
$10.95

Love & the Dark

Deluxe LP is limited edition ghost white vinyl (limited to 500). LPs include digital download.

Click here for exclusive limited edition t-shirt

Debut album from the Houston-born-and-raised, Los Angeles-based orchestral country/rock/folk mastermind

Walks a line that touches on Lyle Lovett’s lyrical frankness, John Moreland’s punk cerebralism and Judee Sill’s mysticism and orchestral sensibility. Plus the literate and sonic audacity of an early Steve Earle---an outlaw unafraid to embrace harmony.

Full Description

Jason Hawk Harris hit rock bottom during the writing and recording of his debut full-length Love & the Dark. In the last few years, the Houston-born-and-raised, Los Angeles-based musician endured life-altering hardships—illness, death, familial strife, and addiction—yet from these trials, a luxuriant and confident vision of art country emerged.

With an unlikely background, Harris is a singer/guitarist/songwriter who walks his own line, one that touches on Lyle Lovett’s lyrical frankness, John Moreland’s punk cerebralism and Judee Sill’s mysticism and orchestral sensibility. There’s even the literary and sonic audacity of an early Steve Earle, an outlaw unafraid to embrace harmony.

Jason’s grandfather exposed him to country music at an early age, and his family celebrated holidays with group sing-alongs. In his teens, Harris began listening to punk, indie rock, and, notably, Queen. In some part inspired by the instrumental flair of Freddie Mercury & Co., he later took the educational plunge into classical composition and was eventually wait-listed for the master’s program at UCLA, when things took a turn.

While touring and performing in the indie folk band The Show Ponies, Jason started writing his own songs, intuitively returning to his country roots but incorporating his classical and rock ‘n’ roll performance skills. He released his first solo offering, the Formaldehyde, Tobacco and Tulips EP in 2017 and hit the road.

Meanwhile, his world fell apart: his mother died from complications of alcoholism; his father went bankrupt after being sued by the King of Morocco; his sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and gave birth to a premature son with cerebral palsy; and—subsequently—Jason got sidetracked by his own vices.

Love & the Dark is not THAT country narrative, though; that of surviving through pain. But it’s not NOT that either. This is his personal narrative on death, struggle, and addiction, of a life deconstructed and reassembled. From the opener, “The Smoke and the Stars,” it’s apparent this album, produced by Andy Freeman, will take you to compelling new places. An ache, a longing, claws its way out of the speakers, the gradual drone blossoming through without rigid genre designs. You can hear the essence of classical music in a long crescendo; you can feel his Houston upbringing in JHH’s soulful and humid inflection; you can sense his Los Angeles home in the sharp and risky dynamics. You can also hear the joy and exquisite desperation when he swings for the fences, belting “Maybe I was just waiting for you, to get through the grapevine, tear down that door, and let me live in those green eyes of yours.”

On “Cussing at the Light,” the classic “drink-you-off-my-mind” trope has an updated countrypolitan vibe with its precise harmonies courtesy of Natalie Nicoles, and later a raucous teenage urgency rumbles through the punchy “I’m Afraid.” The buoyant roots-pop “Red Room Blues,” featuring vocals by folk/bluegrass maven Rachel Baiman, touches antecedents stretching from Jason Isbell to Nick Lowe.

In the dark balladry of “Phantom Limb” (also sung with Baiman), when he softly describes his mother’s funeral through keenly personal details, “I got this shirt. Smells like the viewing/ Formaldehyde, tobacco and tulips/ I’ve washed it ten times, and it won’t come out,” he takes us to the bottom with him.

While his music acknowledges mortality, pain, and hardship, it’s also Jason Hawk Harris’s way of working through it. Love & The Dark is a hypnotically convincing album; you can feel the unknown, but you need not fear it.

Short Description
  • Love and the Dark is a masterclass in songwriting, a devastating yet gorgeous album upon which Harris remains determined as the hopeful torchbearer while simultaneously telling his sad, sad stories.

    — Alalogue Music
  • A close, careful study of grief, loss, and resilience made by an artist so authentically and unapologetically himself.

    — No Depression
  • An impressive debut, regal and enthralling in both songwriting and performance.

    — Twangville
  • Equal parts classic country and modern experimentalism (not unlike Sturgill Simpson) with contemporary themes and a punk ethos. 

    — Radio Free Americana
  • 'Love & the Dark' explores self-destruction, the great unknown and matters of the heart with bracing honesty and humor.

    — Associated Press
  • The emotions channeled through his six-string are sad, angry, beautiful and enough to make you cry.

    — Associated Press
  • Love & The Dark accommodates its difficult dichotomy, and does so with grace and resolve that’s truly exceptional. Harris has set a firm foundation for his burgeoning solo career.

    — Glide Magazine
  • A strong contender for Americana album of the year

    — Elmore Magazine
  • Dark and dangerous, gloomy and enigmatic, but always accessible and full of songs that genuinely push the boundaries of country music

    — Rocking Magpie
  • This is a kind of genius global country music that should be popular with purists and freewheelers alike.

    — Paste Magazine
  • It’s like if the Drive-By Truckers had experimented more with strings and classical tones on Southern Rock Opera.

    — Paste Magazine
  • The album's nine songs also represent something of a catharsis, as Harris runs through the fire and brimstone of dark times.

    — Billboard

Track List

  1. The Smoke and the Stars
  2. Cussing at the Light
  3. Confused
  4. Giving In
  5. Phantom Limb
  6. I'm Afraid
  7. Blessed Interruption
  8. Red Room Blues
  9. Grandfather

Listen

On Tour

Oct
24
2019

@ Hotel Vegas
Austin, Texas

Oct
25
2019

@ Magnolia Motor Lounge
Fort Worth, Texas

Oct
26
2019
Oct
27
2019

@ Dan Electro's Guitar Bar
Houston, Texas

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