ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY DEBUTS NEW FILM-NOIR-STYLE VIDEO FOR JESSE HARRIS’ “CATCH THE ASH”
PREMIERE COMES IN THE WAKE OF HARRIS’ PERFORMANCE WITH NORAH JONES ON LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN
Harris’ new album w/Star Rover, No Wrong No Right, out now on Dangerbird Records
– Harris & Star Rover have been featured recently at Paste, People, Juxtapoz, PureVolume, PopMatters,Bleeding Cool, No Depression, Glide, Magnet, Sirius XM’s Coffee House & more
Jesse Harris with Star Rover. Photo by Juan Patino
“A melancholy lament to the ephemeral nature of life.” – PopMatters
“Back in classic form … No Wrong No Right sees a veteran musician taking equal inspiration from Neil Young and experimental duo Star Rover.” – Paste
“Jesse Harris has learned how to keep an audience interested – and wanting more.” – Rolling Stone
“Harris’ gift lies in his deft rendering of fleeting moods and passing moments.” – Time Out NY
“Harris’ superlative songwriting skills are marked not only by his laid-back melodies and intuitive arrangements, but also by a keen sense of economy … the tunes themselves are the stars of this show.” – Billboard
“Jesse Harris writes songs that feel like endings – of an affair, a journey, a night out. … Sharp, sophisticated arrangements.” – NY Press
– Watch Jesse Harris’ “Catch the Ash” video at EW and below
– Stream No Wrong No Right in full at PopMatters
May 12, 2015 — In the wake of his performance last week with Norah Jones on the Late Show with David Letterman, Jesse Harris has debuted his new film-noir-style video for “Catch the Ash” at Entertainment Weekly.
Back in 2003, Harris first gained notoriety for writing Jones’ breakthrough hit, “Don’t Know Why,” which helped launch her storied multiplatinum career. Since then, Harris has had an impressive run of his own,along the way writing for and collaborating with renowned artists such as Bright Eyes, Cat Power, Feist, M. Ward, Melody Gardot, Mike Patton, John Zorn, Solomon Burke, Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris, and releasing 13 solo albums including the most recent, No Wrong No Right (available now via Dangerbird Records). The acclaimed new release is a spontaneous, adventurous collaboration with experimental NYC duo Star Rover, and also features several duets with guitar virtuoso Julian Lage, as well as John Zorn co-write “Kafiristan.”
With No Wrong No Right, Harris drew inspiration from Neil Young’s approach on After the Goldrush. “Some of that record was done with Crazy Horse, and it’s a rock record,” Harris explains, “but then you also have these hushed acoustic folk songs, and it keeps shifting back and forth between the two distinct moods. I always loved the way that worked, so I started there, but with No Wrong No Right, I also added a third element.”
The three elements Harris speaks of are an inspired set of full-band tunes recorded with guitarist Will Graefe and drummer Jeremy Gustin of Star Rover; a more subdued, acoustic-anchored series of duets with guitar virtuoso Julian Lage; and a trio of evocative instrumental tracks.
The album initially grew out of Harris’ discovery of Star Rover and the friendship and musical chemistry that developed between them last winter. “I fell in love with their band,” Harris says. “I was sort of a groupie, checking out their gigs all the time. One day they invited me over to their loft to play, and it felt great from the first song. Which inspired me to write a bunch more songs.
“Will and Jeremy, musically, are adventurous and free, and at the same time completely supportive of the song. They love to work out arrangements, but they play with a lot of looseness and expression. It’s so hard to find that perfect combination—either people don’t want to rehearse, and just play all over the songs, or they’re too rehearsed and there’s no spontaneity. As a singer and songwriter, I feel like they support the music, but at the same time completely challenge it.”
The duos with Lage—“I Probably Won’t See You For A While,” “Don’t Let Me Pass By” and John Zorn co-write “Kafiristan”—are sparse and disarmingly intimate, offering a refreshing contrast to the record’s more fleshed-out tracks. Harris raves about the musical abilities of Lage, who also plays in duos with Wilco’s Nels Cline and Chris Eldridge of The Punch Brothers. “Julian is a remarkable young musician,” Harris says. “He’s a jazz guitarist, but he’s equally interested in songcraft and experimental music. Playing with him is always exciting—he’s extremely sensitive, and has such a beautiful tone. I really wanted to capture our duo on this record.”
The album’s three instrumentals—also backed by Star Rover—continue Harris’ tradition of including a few sans-vocals tracks on every release. The aptly named “Staring Contest” features a loping, repetitive and extremely hummable guitar figure. “Pandora’s Box” is a dreamy meditation on the modern rabbit hole of social media, and “Miyazaki” is a tribute to the legendary Japanese anime director.
No Wrong No Right also features a mysterious and gorgeously wintery rendition of Rodgers & Hart standard “Where or When” bolstered by the organ playing of Larry Goldings (James Taylor, Madeleine Peyroux, Maceo Parker). Other notable guests on the record include CJ Camerieri (Paul Simon, Bon Iver, yMusic) on horns and horn arrangements; Margaret Glaspy on vocals; frequent Harris collaborator Mauro Refosco (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Atoms for Peace) on percussion, marimba and electronics; and Sofia Rei—who also performs with Harris in the John Zorn-led Song Project—on vocals.