“The Smoke And The Stars,” the opening track off of Jason Hawk Harris’s debut album is an impressive, emotional ballad, but one that belies what’s to follow shortly. The building swell of strings and deeply personal lyrics sounds amazing, but ultimately (and thankfully), Harris devotes much of the record to a more stripped down, laid back, wink and a nod approach to Americana.
“Cussing At The Light,” the very next song, kicking off with the line “Well, I think it’s about time I had a drink … I’m probably gonna have more than a few,” and is a far better representation of the album taken as a whole. The honky tonk piano and the sly lyrics are a perfect calling card for Harris. Based in LA now, but originally from Houston, Harris’s knack for writing lyrics that manage to be both personal and deeply witty at the same time bring to mind a slew of fellow Lone Stare Staters, everyone from Rhett Miller and Lyle Lovett to Willie himself.
Covering everything from love and death, addiction and survival, all in the span of just nine song, there is absolutely no fat to trim off this record. And while there’s not a weak song on this album, the distortion-laden, religion can be scary shit “I’m Afraid” is a tune Harris is going to have to close out his shows with every night from now until to the end of his career.
Jason Hawk Harris – Love & The Dark (CD) / Domain /