Sean Harrison’s Arkansas roots, literary upbringing and well-travelled life combine to create an intriguing mix of Country, Americana and Folk/Rock music that defies genre restrictions. As a singer/songwriter he brings wit and wisdom to a 12-track world view with his debut CD, HALFWAY FROM NASHVILLE (Arky Blue Productions). This is Southern storytelling in its unbound glory: forthright, happy, sad, inspired, shaken and stirred. Fans can pre-order physical albums from the artist’s website, HERE or purchase digitally via Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and Apple Music. The music is set for release on November 6.
1.Halfway From Nashville
- Go To Girl
- Gravel & Dirt
- Big Decisions
- Ode To A Goner
- Wake Up Dead
10.The Last Water Tower
- Breathe Out Her Name
(*all songs by Sean Harrison, except #5, co-written with John Dufresne)
The title track (and first single) premiered on The Country Note last month. The ballad uses Roger Miller-style quirkisms and nods to Johnny Cash to create a John Prine-ish, Tom T. Hall-esque half spoken, half sung reflection on life. “Gravel & Dirt” is a gritty, musically mesmeric study on what grounds us, how it forms us and what we take with us as we move on – or not. Self-deprecation and humor make “Big Decisions” an album highlight. The up-tempo shuffle combines with the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out – and hasn’t a clue as to just how gullible he is. “The Last Water Tower” is part biographical – and Harrison makes the most of this simple Country song when he performs it live. He will confess to having climbed most of the water towers in Fayetteville – including the tower on the grounds of the Veterans Administration Hospital. Sean breaks with the troubadour mindset with “Go To Girl,” the most commercially oriented tune on the disc. Danceable, happy and “peppy,” its charm is found in the sing-along chorus and innocent outlook.
Co-produced by Harrison, Michael Brinson and Paul Carabello, HALFWAY FROM NASHVILLE features enormous musical talent. Tim Alexander (Asleep at the Wheel) played accordion and keyboards, Don Martin (Carrie Underwood) sat in on drums and percussion and John Sprott (The Nelsons) played guitars, while Mark Austin and Nathan Zheim of Elvis T. Busboy & The Texas Blues Butchers played bass and drums, respectively.
Harrison notes that the project came together in a “pretty organic way.” It’s loose and full of energy, but tight – scripted but passionate. The key to its appeal is found in the songs. They are accessible but poetic and reflect the lessons of a thousand honkytonks and a million miles travelled. They have brought us HALFWAY FROM NASHVILLE.
“On the whole, these are pretty simple songs,” Sean observes. “Some tell a story and some just explore a feeling or situation. There’s happiness, sadness and pretty much everything in between.” There is certainly a bit of something for everyone, without any sacrifice of self or identity. Harrison, like the character in “Halfway From Nashville,” is at the midway point in life. And he’s just getting started.
Born in Nashville and raised mostly in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Sean grew up in the literary home of his father, the late novelist/screenwriter William Harrison (best known for the movie, Rollerball). His father taught creative writing at the University of Arkansas, which put Sean in frequent company of numerous talented writing students and visiting authors. It also connected him closely with a vibrant college campus during the turbulence and cultural renaissance of the late 1960s. In his early 20s, Sean played full-time in Texas and shared the stage with some legendary songwriters and pickers until “poor lifestyle choices”
derailed his promising music career. Sean explored Europe for several years – busking in London, Paris, Florence and Venice, southern Spain and other parts of the continent. Back in the States, he hit New York City and then Dallas/Ft. Worth before finally landing at home in Fayetteville. He has performed solo and in a variety of bands, appearing across Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Harrison has collaborated on several recording projects, including writing, co-writing and producing the popular self-titled debut EP for Country singer Milton Patton. Sean is best known in the songwriting community for his quirky and self-mocking tunes about the average guy’s stumbles and struggles through American life. With a razor-sharp wit, off-the-wall sense of humor and a hefty dose of self-deprecation, he brings a keen American literary fiction foundation to his writings. His blending of Americana, Country, Blues and Rock has created a sound that is sometimes irreverent, inherently believable, instantly loveable, and absolutely his own.
ABOUT THE ALBUM COVER ART
When it came to choosing the artwork for the project, Sean landed on a painting by Sir Sidney Robert Nolan (1917-1992) entitled Ned Kelly, 1946. Kelly was a renowned Australian outlaw, the Jesse James of the Down Under. He refashioned pieces of old steel farm equipment to make himself a suit of armour to protect him while on his raids. The square head in the painting is the cylinder-shaped helmet he made with a slit cut for seeing out.