The Harters ‘Run’ on Three-Part Family Harmony
Country sibling trio, The Harters, have waited a long time for their shot at success. Their new single, 'If I Run,' hit country radio this month and has created quite a buzz in Nashville, thanks to their heartfelt passion and powerful harmonies.
Music became an important part of Mike, Scott and Leslie Harter's lives early on, as their father would sit around the house playing guitar while his five children sat mesmerized by Hank Williams and Beatles songs, to which the trio's older sisters would sing. The Harters are now embarking on life at center-stage, anticipating the forthcoming release of their debut album. But the singing siblings are already looking beyond that point.
"We've had our whole lives to write this first album," Mike Harter tells The Boot. "What we think are our best songs are making this album. The time's going to come when [our record label people] say, 'We're ready for album number two.' We want to be ready. Right now we're just really trying to concentrate on writing and get some stuff ready for the second album. I know it sounds crazy to even think that way because the first one hasn't even hit the shelves. We're planning on being successful and there needing to be another album [laughs]!"
The Harters strive to be the best songwriters they can be, a task in which they take great pride. "When the three of us write together, it's kind of chaotic, to be honest," Scott says with a grin. "Mike is definitely the strongest, lyrically, out of the three of us when we write. Our writing styles are just all so different with styles on our own and what we're influenced by. Imagine three circles and in that gray area -- where those three circles meet -- is where all of our music sits."
"When it comes down to it, when we're writing and settle on a melody, all three of us lock into the harmony parts at the same time," Mike explains. "When the song is done being written, it's 90 percent there [as far as] what it's going to sound like on the record ... it's just on a work tape."
"We actually don't even need to talk when we write," adds Leslie. "We know what the other person is thinking. It's like, 'I know!' There's no need to talk!"
The Harters' debut album is currently in the final stages and when complete will be loaded down with songs penned by the band. However, finding the right songs to put on the album has been a catch-22. "As an artist, the latest song you just wrote is always your favorite," Mike says with a smile. "You get sick of listening to them, just like you would with any music that you listen to. If you listen to it enough, then you're done listening to it."
So far, one song in particular has been a favorite of the band as well as radio listeners nationwide. "I will say that I have not gotten sick of 'If I Run' yet," Leslie says. "And I wrote the thing! [laughs] Usually it doesn't work that way at all!"
The power-ballad asks the question most relationships are forced to face: the decision of working through problems or going separate ways. "People give up so easily these days," Leslie says of the song's inspiration. "If one thing goes wrong, they turn to a breakup or divorce."
As with the current single, The Harters promise fans one thing when it comes to the yet-to-be-titled album: music that is open and honest. "I think what you hear on the album and what you hear us do live will be the same thing," Mike says. "There's not a bunch of smoke and mirrors going on; just acoustic guitars, a bouzouki, every now and then a piano, a bass guitar and drums. There's not a whole lot going on other than that. I like it because it's easy to listen to."
"Our producer got the best sounds he could possibly get, and allows the song and the artist be the artist," adds Scott. "It's always been hard for us to find somebody who didn't always try to make us into a box or make us sound a certain way. He just let us be us, and it's awesome."
"There's not one song on there that sounds like another song on there," Leslie says. "It's so drastically different from one song to the next. I hope that's a good thing. It's entertaining to me."
"In the past, we have worried about the competition because when we came to Nashville, everybody was like, 'Oh my gosh ... a trio!'" Leslie laughs. "At that point, it was just Trick Pony and Rascal Flatts. They were excited because it was a family band with harmonies. It was the cool thing. Then our producer said, 'Hey, there are a couple of two guys and a girl harmony trios that we have to watch out for ...' It was Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry."
"I think the only comparison you can make is that we're family and so are The Band Perry," reasons Mike. "With Lady A, yeah there are three people -- two guys and a girl -- other than that, musically, it's not even close to the same thing. If you listen to the music, The Band Perry's got their own thing, Lady Antebellum's got their own thing, and The Harters has their own thing. There is definitely room for all three of us."
Look for The Harters on the road throughout 2011, with acts such as Jerrod Niemann, Alan Jackson and Randy Houser. For more information on The Harters or to see where they will be performing, visit their website here.