Feature by Sarah Spohn
BottleRock Festival in Napa gave me two things: an introduction to the California sun, leaving me with a tan line where my three-day festival wristband was, and introduced me to Corey Harper: acoustic Americana/country/blues guitarist and singer-songwriter extraordinaire.
The festival’s headliners included millennial mainstay Maroon 5, classic rocker Tom Petty, and ever long rockers Foo Fighters. Night after night, the main stage area was filled with tens of thousands of eager fans. Even during the day, the stage hosted hugely talented, up and coming acts from all across the country. For those staked out in their spots under the hot sun for hours, relief came in the form of Corey Harper. A Mississippi-sounding, California surfer-looking twenty-something from Portland brought the bluesy grooves, with heart, soul, and rock.
The blonde haired, blue-eyed singer learned how to play the guitar at his uncle’s house from classic rock hits like Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton and B.B. King. Other influences include Ben Howard and John Mayer, and Harper’s vocals mimic those same smooth, clean chords – backed with just the right amount of soul. His debut EP, “On The Run” has garnered his own fan base, and the singer has performed at plenty of festivals already this spring and the beginning of summer. He’s taken the stage at Sasquatch! Festival, BottleRock, Bonnaroo, and is set to play Ohana in September.
His original song “Favorite Part of Loving You” had a special acoustic release in May. Listen now, and you might find it becomes your favorite song to love. The singer’s music videos range from live takes in sunny California towns, perfect road trip music, with just the right sense of nostalgic Kodachrome feel to it, with an easy breezy casual Friday atmosphere. It’s the kind of song that will make you want to hop in a beat-up truck and take off down Pacific Coast Highway with a bottle of booze, blankets and Ray-Bans.
Being compared to John Mayer might seem cool at first, but after a quick listen to Corey Harper’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” you’ll quickly realize there might be a new boss in town. And this one’s a young gun who’s in it to win it. There’s a sense of Harper’s genuine personality and truthfulness that radiates from the music’s lyrics and easy-going guitar that comes across as so effortless. It’s music that doesn’t try to be one thing, but it succeeds in being just the right thing – good.