Harris Newman - "Accidents With Nature and Each Other"
(Strange Attractors Audio House 2005, SAAH029)
From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)
It is not unusual for the world-beating Montreal Canada underground music scene to gestate and nurture a genre-bending artist of Harris Newman's caliber. Yet Newman's unique approach to the compositional acoustic steel-string style sets him apart from the herd, both in his hometown and far beyond... so says the press release. THE BUTCHER'S BLOCK - the first thing to cross my mind is Hot Tuna but this seems even more technically proficient or hot shit or whatever, almost bluegrass. CLOUD CITY - I've never been impressed by guitar virtuosity but this music is very pleasant, original, but with soul, not just technique. CONTINENTAL DRIFT - it's so fast, more almost bluegrass. IT'S A TRIP (Part 1) - very atmospheric spooky cool. A veteran of the Montreal music community for some time, as a member of the bands Sackville (Constellation Records) and Esmerine (Resonant), Newman shot into the ranks of the new folk movement with the release of his well received debut "Non-Sequiturs" (Strange Attractors, 2003). LAKE SHORE DRIVE - great, awesome, should be music in a soundtrack. A THOUSAND STOLEN BLANKETS TO KEEP YOU WARM AT NIGHT - music to a Hippie Western. It doubles the tempo and it's twice as good. Guitar that sounds like guitar. LORDS AND LADIES - more spaghetti western. The whole CD is musically very tasteful, nice studio sound, starts to sound almost Russian. Wow, this is really gettin' it... some sorta crappy drummin' that takes away. OUT OF SORTS - more Hot Tuna-esque boogie without sounding like the 70's in anyway. Wow, this really hit's some nice transcendental moments. IT'S A TRIP (Part II) - self explanatory. ACCIDENTS - I've never really listened to any John Fahey but this makes me want to. Newman's strengths lie in his dexterous ability to borrow from the traditions of the steel string guitar movement while propelling it forward into postmodern realms... so the press page says. STOPGAP MEASURE - more of the same pleasantness, bad assness. This CD is a pleasure to listen to. DRIVING ALL NIGHT WITH ONLY MY MIND - a different sounding sorta tune. I have no comparison for this, just to say it's great music. Very listenable.
For more information you can visit the Harris Newman web site at: http://www.harrisnewman.com. Visit the Strange Attractors Audio House at: http://www.strange-attractors.com.
Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher