New Jersey-based Americana singer-songwriter Eric Harrison recently released his EP, Dear John, a project paying tribute to legend John Prine.
Eric explains, “This EP is a five-song homage to the late, great John Prine. The idea was birthed about a week after COVID-19 took John from us on April 7, 2020.”
He goes on, adding, “To write like John Prine is to write with a big heart. I don’t sing like JP and his influence on me may not be obvious, but because these five songs are bound by a conscious effort to write like (and about) him, I felt compelled to release them together.”
The idea for Dear John was suggested to Eric by his friend, producer, and confidante, Kevin Salem.
Eric says, “I had just started releasing new music and was looking forward to a year of full band shows, which were begrudgingly replaced by solo Facebook sessions from my front porch. Amid the madness it was fun to make new virtual friends while playing music, though the digital divide left me a little suspicious. I was in a creative rut, and I need to be writing well to feel legitimate.
“Enter my friend and producer Kevin Salem, with whom I traded tips every few days on how to maintain some sense of normalcy in our families’ lives. Mindful of the need to grab the oxygen mask for oneself when the cabin pressure drops, Kevin knew how I loved John, so he gave me a simple but daunting assignment: write some John Prine songs.”
Appearing on the EP, along with Eric Harrison (vocals), are Simi Stone (backing vocals), Kevin Salem (drums, guitar, bass, keyboards), Sasha Ostrovsky (lap steel), Michael Arrom (piano), and John Conte (upright bass).
Highlights on the EP include “Till You Make Me Home,” traveling on a heavy bassline, and crunching percussion. The feel and flow of the song undulate on vibrant colors as Eric’s evocative tenor imbues the lyrics with quixotic warmth. I love Ostrovsky’s steel guitar on this track, drawling and creamy.
Brimming with country twang, “Cougar Jenny” features the delightful voice of Simi Stone, adding luscious tangs of down-home savors. Whereas “Hoover Dam” rolls out on soft, gleaming hues topped by Eric’s smooth voice. Again, the lap steel guitar infuses the harmonics with scrumptious crying tones.
With Dear John, Eric Harrison dishes out appetizing Americana, full of country inflections and velvety vocal timbres.