Harper from down under!
Australian blues artist Peter
Harper is another of those Down Under blues virtuosos
that doesn’t show up enough here in the St.
Louis Blues area. I stumbled across this talented
musician by accident Tuesday night at Mainstreet
Blues and Jazz. Normally Tuesdays is open jam session
at Main Street Blues and Jazz in Belleville Ill,
however this past Tuesday night I arrived all primed
to experience a good jam session with other hungry
blues crazies, maybe sing a few tunes and blow some
harp. Imagine when I walked through the door just
to hear an aboriginal didgeridoo (perhaps the oldest
musical instrument on earth, a long wooden an indigenous
Australian woodwind flute like instrument) echoing
through the hallway as I made my way to the back
room. Maybe I was in the wrong place. Maybe I got
lost. Nope this was the right time and the right
place to have a new experience.
For the next two hours I sat mesmerized by this
Aussie singer/songwriter doing nothing but original
songs about his homeland. Political, romantic and
honestly written tunes came with various voices,
bluesy styles and hypnotic rhythms. His 5 piece
band was tight, the songs original and the various
tempos upbeat. One in particular, “Big Brown
Land” is as good a tune to tap your fingers
or toes to as any I have ever heard. His use of
the harmonica and the various sized 4-6ft. didgeridoo
created a new blues sound to be experienced by all
blues enthusiast. His music will appeal not only
to blues audiences, but to fans of rock and new
age music too.
Chatting with Harper and the band I discovered that
he was just passing through here promoting his new,
Blind Pig CD release “Down to the Rhythm”.
Big Brown Land means so much, to me and I'll miss
Australia. I had to leave there and come over here
for work and publicity", he informed me.
He and the band were playing a one night stand at
the Illinois night club and then had to drive on
to Omaha Nebraska later that night to play somewhere
there the next night. They eventually were working
their way back to the west coast doing one night
stands and jumping in the van for the next smoky
blues spot. Sitting and listening to Harper and
the guys in the band talk about this adventure made
me think about all those stories of young men, leaving
their homes to follow their dreams and joining the
circus. Personally I hope this circus comes back
to town and St. Louis Blues fans can hear this new
and different style of expressing the Blues, down
under Aussie style.