Jess Harp’s Angelic Voice Transcends Grief on ‘Nick Drake’ [LISTEN]
You can hear the fruits of Jess Harp's choral training in their voice. With an unquestionably ethereal tone, Harp honed their talent in Bentonville, Arkansas' high school music programs and church choirs. They taught themself guitar in their late 20s, drawing on influences as disparate as Chet Baker, Angel Olsen, and Chris Owens. Harp played out around Fayetteville, becoming a fixture in the DIY scene there.
The band's first single, "Nick Drake," is a swirling pastiche of Harp's swooning vocals, delicate indie rock touches, and profoundly emotional lyrics, creating a soundscape that is equal parts brutally self-reflective and a comforting cocoon -- all with a dash of Southern rock psychedelia thrown in.
Their debut album, Jessy Baby Forever, was recorded live, mixed, and mastered at Fayetteville's East Hall Recording Studio. Featuring James Williams on lead guitar, Hayden Johnson on bass, and Dick Darden on drums, the band plays with incredible chemistry, creating organic arrangements that feel destined to unspool into shoegaze-y jams live.
On "Nick Drake," Harp mourns the loss of a close friend by invoking the deaths of similar tortured artists: Johnny Cash, Sylvia Plath, David Bowie, Nick Drake. The song crescendos in a swirl of anger and grief before gently ebbing away. Listen below.
Jessy Baby Forever will be released via Gar Hole Records on May 6, 2022. You can out more about Jess Harp by visiting their page on Bandcamp.