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Peter 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.

“Big Harley” Hermsen

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