Harpersman, A Little Different 

Album Review

The debut album from Boise-by-way-of-England singer-songwriter HarpersMan (Steve Bowes) is called A Little Different; and based on what typically gets sent to Boise Weekly for review, it is.

For example, instead of being the much-anticipated solo project by another in a long line of Brooklyn hipsters, it is the debut of Steve Bowes, a middle-aged dude. Instead of a neatly printed one sheet or an artsy handmade press release, it came with a 16-page glossy magazine full of high-quality black-and-white photos and album lyrics.

In an age pathologically dedicated to an anti-professional image, HarpersMan dares to do it old school.

That approach is clear in the music on A Little Different. Instead of a soft and introverted approach to folk, HarpersMan pulls from the bolder melodic phrasing and vocal style of the 1970s to create a smoothly produced album without a single rough edge. The strings are as smooth as the drum tones. Bowes put lots of work into the album and it shows.

Then there's the accompaniment. While contemporary folk-rock tends to pull from gypsy or Americana influences, snatches of Celtic music shine in the vocal melodies and the instruments played by a bevy of Boise's strongest session and backing musicians--like Ben Burdick and Bernie Reilly.

The combo is an album that sounds smoothly out of time, like it could be a collection of late-era James Taylor ballads. Bowes throatily croons testaments to the intoxication of love and the changing power of family over strummed acoustic guitar dressed up with Bread-esque flourishes of rock.

However well-done A Little Different is, the genre-fied feel of the album sticks more than any of its particular pieces. And while the differences in that overall sound stand out from contemporary folk-rock practitioners, they don't stand out strongly from the rogues' gallery of classic rockers that trampled that ground flat long ago.

Pin It

Speaking of Harpersman, Album Reviews


Showing 1-1 of 1


Comments are closed.

More by Josh Gross

Submit an Event

Today's Pick

Chuck Smith Trio

Popular Events

  • Five Nights at Fatty's Halloween Party @ Fatty's

    • Thu., Oct. 25, 9 p.m., Fri., Oct. 26, 9 p.m., Sat., Oct. 27, 9 p.m., Tue., Oct. 30, 9 p.m. and Wed., Oct. 31, 9 p.m. FREE-$20
  • Mike Rosenthal @ Chandlers Steakhouse

    • Fridays, 5:15 p.m., Saturdays, 5:15 p.m. and Wed., Oct. 31, 5:15 p.m. Continues through Oct. 27 FREE
  • Open Mic With Rebecca Scott and Emily Tipton @ Pengilly's Saloon

    • Mondays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 5 FREE

© 2018 Boise Weekly

Website powered by Foundation