Jamaica Plain, MA
Living Blues Magazine
★★★★ “Avoiding the perils of predictability, these four New Englanders
craft a fresh, genre-crossing group sound…”
“Erin Harpe is a hot mama blues singer.”
"This hard-charging white gal with the blues raises the roof with every note."
Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers, her Boston Music Award-winning band, are releasing their second full-length album, BIG ROAD. The self-produced album highlights Erin’s diverse influences, from her roots in acoustic delta and piedmont blues, to her electric side – slide guitar, boogie blues, funk and soul. Since the release of their acclaimed debut LOVE WHIP BLUES (VizzTone/Juicy Juju 2014), Erin and the band have been touring the country non-stop – honing their craft, and making plenty of new fans. Erin has emerged into the limelight, taking on a more direct role as producer and playing lead guitar. BIG ROAD is an apt name for her new, self-produced album. It describes where she and the band have been, traveling the highways and back roads, bringing people joy through their music.
BIG ROAD features ten songs – including four originals, and Erin’s own arrangements of songs by Mississippi Fred McDowell, Tommy Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Slim Harpo, and Randy Newman. “It’s the album I’ve always wanted to make,” explains Erin, “an authentic live-sounding set of songs, centered around my guitar playing, which is at the root of my music – from acoustic finger-picking, to electric slide guitar, to wah-wah fueled funk, with a few guitar solos thrown in. I also wanted to highlight our band sound by playing live in a room together, with just a handful of overdubs. We went into the studio after a 3-week tour based around the International Blues Challenge in Memphis (where we made it to the semi-finals), so we were very tight.”
Charismatic singer and guitarist Erin Harpe, along with her band the Delta Swingers, have become favorites around New England, with a growing fan base around the world. Their unique brand of dance music is rooted in vintage 1930’s Mississippi delta blues, then shaken and stirred with other genres like soul, funk, and reggae, evoking a wild southern juke joint where the whiskey and gin are flowing and everybody’s dancing.
Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers features Erin on vocals and lead guitar, backed by Jim Countryman on bass, Devin Vaillanport on drums and vocal harmonies, and Matt Charles on harmonica. Their critically acclaimed debut album “LOVE WHIP BLUES” (VizzTone) has been very well received, getting 4 stars in DownBeat Magazine, and airplay around the world including SeriusXM’s Bluesville!
“LOVE WHIP BLUES” is a refreshing, rootsy take on the blues, with songs about trains, hard luck and good luck, and of course (in the vein of Harpe’s other band, Lovewhip) shakin’ your booty. Ten swinging tracks include four originals, Harpe’s take on songs by 1930’s blues artists, and a very unorthodox version of the classic John Prine song, “Angel From Montgomery”, famously recorded by Bonnie Raitt. Produced by Dave Gross (Candye Kane, Chris O’Leary, Albert Castiglia, Gina Sicilia) at Fat Rabbit Studios, the album shows off the band’s signature Charles River Delta Blues – their own country blues/roots/americana cocktail – including an appearance by guest star guitarist Bob Margolin (Muddy Waters band).
“As a young girl, Annapolis, Maryland–native Erin Harpe learned the blues literally at the feet of the African American blues players of the Washington, D.C. acoustic scene. Her father, visual artist and guitarist Neil Harpe, was a mainstay at the famed Archie’s Barbershop where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Archie Edwards, John Cephas, Phil Wiggins and John Jackson. Erin grew up as a friend to all, picking up the true blues from early on. Her father, Neil, is internationally renowned among guitarists as a Stella expert and “purveyor of fine old time guitars.” –Frank Mathies, Living Blues Magazine
Growing up in the Washington DC area, Erin began playing the guitar in her teens taught by her father, bluesman Neil Harpe. She soon began performing at folk festivals, coffee houses, bars, and parties in the DC area, developing a strong blues guitar and vocal style of her own. Erin relocated to Boston to develop her music career, where she met local blues talents such as Paul Rishell and Susan Tedeschi.
Erin has released two acoustic blues albums, her debut Blues Roots (2002) and an album with her dad – Delta Blues Duets in 2008. Both received rave reviews and radio airplay across the United States, as well as at least six European countries and Japan. Erin’s soulful vocal style and accomplished finger-picking guitar playing has earned her many fans, including guitar great Ronnie Earl, and she is quickly becoming recognized on the international blues scene. In fact, Erin just completed her first European tour in Spring 2014!
Like her predecessors Memphis Minnie and Charley Patton, Erin has a wide appreciation of many styles of music, and ventures fearlessly outside the blues to lead her “Other Band,” the electro-funk dance band Lovewhip. Erin has even been known to slip a Lovewhip song into her blues sets, and the dancers don’t seem to mind a bit.
* 2013 & 2011 International Blues Challenge Semi-finalists
* 2012 Boston Music Award Winners “Blues Act of the Year”
* 2014, 2012 & 2010 Boston Blues Challenge Competition Winners
* 2012, 2011, & 2010 Boston Music Award nominees
* Erin Harpe is recognized along with Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, Shemekia Copeland, Rory Block, and Ana Popovic in 2013’s “30 Woman Burning Up the Blues” in The Alternate Route Magazine
What People are Saying
“Something akin to what the blues sounded like, Muddy and his band plugged in, which sounds better than ever in these hands.” ~ Cheap Thrills Boston”
“Erin Harpe has it all. The looks, the chops, the voice, the presence and the band all add to an aura that mesmerized the crowd…” ~ The Alternate Route
Upcoming Erin Harpe Shows
Tall City Blues Festival (TX)
Utah Arts Festival (UT)
Barnful of Blues Festival (NH)
Nashoba Valley Blues N Brews Fest (MA)
Green Love Festival (ME)
North River Blues Festival (MA)
2013 Int'l Blues Challenge (TN)
NYS Blues Festival (NY)
Washington Folk Festival (DC)
Back Porch Blues Festival (MD)
Wake Up the Earth Festival (MA)
Onset Blues Festival (MA) w/James Montgomery
JP Music Festival (MA)
Marshfield Blues Festival (MA)
2011 Int'l Blues Challenge (TN)
Jumpin' in July (NY)
Georgetown Music Festival (MA)
Zumix Summer Series (MA)
Utica Monday Nights Festival (NY)
First Thursdays JP (MA)
Loon Mtn Labor Day Festival (NH)
Big Road Top Radio Chart Positions
#2 - Roots Music Report Top 50 Contemporary Blues Singles with "Kokomo"
#5 - The Alternate Root Top Ten Singles with "Shake Your Hips"
#6 - iTop Top 100 Blues Albums
#7 - Roots Music Report Top 50 Contemporary Blues Albums
#7 - Relix Jamband Radio Charts
#12 - Roots Music Report Top 50 Blues Albums
#22 - iTunes Top 40 Blues Albums
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