Nick Harrison has a well-trained voice and plays acoustic guitar in a multiplex folk sound capturing attention from the very start. That he selected Michael Mugrage as his second was wise, as that gent wields a great electric axe (a bit too infrequently for my liking in fact) and knows his way around a studio, having produced a CD sparkling in its sonorities, pristine clarity, and spaciousness. The two have created an impressive debut extending even to the semi-symphonic (Lonely Mountain), capturing a wide range of emotions, from the wistfully personal to the exalted.
Harrison possesses a superb sense of how to pace a song. Every cut builds itself well, fleshing out mood and cadence, and the backing vocals of Mugrage, Carrie Ernst, and Alexandra Benderoth fine out his own own tones alongside an ensemble of seven backing musicians exercising discernment in following the mainstay. I suppose it could be said that this is modern, but I'll have to disagree. Harrison's work goes back to the period from the late 60s to early 80s when folk rose, fell, and rose again, resulting in gents like Michael Tomlinson, to whom Harrison has more than a few resemblances.
On Nick Harrison, you'll find country swing residing in pure folk (Brooklyn Blues), melancholy romance (several cuts), mellow pensivity with anger (Burning Bush), and a number of kindred modes, all masterfully set in tones that will stand up to anything on the charts and easily shove a great deal of it aside. In fact, should you have been a fan of latterday Ambrosia, Pablo Cruise, and similar bands, you'll locate material here showing what should have been more regularly wrought by those high-charting past ensembles.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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