Growing up in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, Texas, the son of musicians, Chris Harris was raised amidst an abundance of musical styles and traditions. Although certainly influenced by his parent’s jazz background, Chris’ musical education was shaped and steeped in the broad variety of musical forms associated with the north central Texas region...the blues of Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughn, the country-pop of BW Stevenson, the poetic imagery of Townes Van Zant. From early on, music was the seminal influence in the Harris household.
Chris’ initial CD, ‘Chris Harris – self-titled’ represents a collection of songs gleaned from his live sets, which have always been heavily laden in Texas folk. “I was really just trying to put together a cd of 3 or 4 songs that I could use to get some work” says Chris. “It then became something bigger, and we thought we’d go all the way with it”. The album features veteran performers Eddie ‘Skip’ Parente on violin and mandolin, Jon Lindahl on bass, and friends Kris Mitchell (of the Bitch Creek Nymphs), Toni Powell (of Urban Coyote) and Ken Potter supplying harmony vocals.
A stellar acoustic finger-picker, Chris uses his mastery of mood and tempo to illuminate the songs he sings. Much as a skilled illustrator can transform a good book into a memorable one, Chris “paints” his songs with his guitar. Still, when you ask most fans, “What’s so special about Chris Harris?” they’ll tell you it’s his voice. It’s actually a startling voice, in some ways: haunting and sweet and gruff all at the same time.
His self-titled debut CD presents this uniquely talented singer and guitar player at his soulful best. Plying his trademark molasses-over-sandpaper voice to poignant effect, Chris pieces these songs together into a patchwork quilt of longing, sorrow, redemption, and hope. Harris’ arrangements somehow manage to feel spare and lush at the same time – guitars, bass, violin, mandolin and backing vocals, all supporting his rueful sound. The emotional effect is devastating. This is music for listeners who care about how they spend their precious time ...
Willie Carmichael, October 2005