Country traditionalist and Nashville carpenter JP Harris has taken enough time away from swinging hammers and hanging drywall to record and ready the release his latest record Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing coming October 5th via Free Dirt Records. The new album was produced by Morgan Jahnig, best known as the upright bass player for Old Crow Medicine Show.
“We took a counter-intuitive approach,” JP Harris says about the new album. “We had no pre-production. There were no rehearsals. We basically had a whole studio full of multi-instrumentalists, a six-piece band total, for the whole recording session. Everybody played at least two instruments. It was a really interesting way to do it and I think it helped us avoid anybody, including myself, overthinking the songs.”
After releasing an auspicious and well-received honky tonk shit kicker in 2012’s I’ll Keep Calling, and following it up with the equally killer Home Is Where The Hurt Is in 2014, JP Harris fans have been chomping at the bit for new music for the last four years. A classic workaholic who plans national tours between remodel projects and building studios for the high tone of Music City, he’s garnered a strong grassroots fan base and respect throughout the independent industry, including being asked to curate his own showcase as part of the 2018 Newport Folk Fest.
With all the other efforts he undertakes—including crafting handmade banjos and throwing showcases for artists in east Nashville during AmericanaFest—you may think his music takes a back seat to everything else. But JP Harris has proven to be one of the hardest working men in country music over the last many years who can do it all, and still deliver better music than his compadres west of I-24 in Nashville.
“I feel like I was trying to make this record for two or three years before we actually got around to making it,” Harris says. “I had written at least half of the songs a couple years before we got close to a plan of how to make it. A lot of things changed in my life between when I made my previous album and when we decided to go into the studio last year to make this one. It was really important to wait for the right situation to coalesce before I dove into making something new.”
Ahead of the release, JP Harris has made available the song “When I Quit Drinking,” which Harris says is an especially personal track for him, straying from his songwriting method of sometimes using the stories of others to base his characters around (listen below).
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Harris left home at 14 and traveled the country hopping freight trains, working odd jobs, and living without electricity or running water for over a decade in Appalachia. After moving to Nashville, he became a well-respected member of the east Nashville music community.
“I’m just hoping that me coming to the table without gimmicks or cool-looking costumes or fancy vintage jeans—just the grubby guy I am with a sleeveless shirt and a pair of boots on—is enough to get people into the music,” JP says.
1. JP’s Florida Blues #1
2. Lady in the Spotlight
3. When I Quit Drinking
4. Long Ways Back
5. Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing
6. Hard Road
7. I Only Drink Alone
9. Miss Jeanne-Marie
10. Jimmy’s Dead and Gone