I must say I was a little skeptical when I first saw the genre moniker “Neo-Americana” tied to Nashville singer-songwriter Campbell Harrison. But after listening to some of his music, it feels accurate in a most endearing way.
Harrison is an artist whose sound is difficult to pigeonhole, as he seamlessly blends elements of Americana, rock and roll, soul, and folk in a tidy package delivered to our ears. And in my humble opinion, those who make music that is difficult to stuff into a box and define is often some of the better music.
The latest example of this is Harrison’s brand spankin’ new single, “Soul to Keep,” which drops today.
Hailing from Covington, Georgia, between Atlanta and Athens, Harrison was brought up and inspired by local legends like Donna Hopkins, Ralph Roddenbery and Caroline Aiken. His first studio EP, Behind Glass, hit airwaves in 2015, which boasted a heap of respected veteran artists, most notably the late Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi-Trucks Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit). And then in 2017, Harrison dropped his first full-length indie album, the much lauded Dreamer in a Bottle.
Admired among peers and fans for his illuminating storytelling and sticky melodies, Harrison is naturally skilled at molding multiple genres into a style that’s both recognizable and very much his own. He’s able to take components of everything from swampy rock, to alt-country, to folk and indie pop, and create a sound he describes as- you guessed it, “Neo-Americana”.
“But don’t let the Americana label and his mellow voice fool you,” says Gregory Sweet of KSVR FM. “There’s a hard edge to his music along with deep lyrics and great guitar work.” I’ll be damned if that ain’t the truth.
After shipping north to Nashville, Harrison spent more and more time getting acquainted in various studios, and had two live EPs produced in 2018. He also released the single “Underneath The Skin” in 2019.
At the dawn of 2020, when masks were more of a Halloween novelty than a daily necessity, Harrison hooked up with the engineering maestros at Welcome to 1979 studio to record “The River.” It was this foot stomping, barn-burner of a tune that reaffirmed his reputation as a fresh new sound, untethered by a conventional genre. He would follow the success of “The River” with the diligently crafted track that is “Soul To Keep.”
“Soul to Keep,” which features the talented Ted Pecchio (Doyle Bramhall II, Susan Tedeschi, The Codetalkers) on bass, is an unorthodox tale about a selfish man who takes advantage of others all his life, but always thinks he has time for redemption- until he doesn’t. It’s as good of a song to sing along to when driving as any, with a steering wheel-tapping melody, and poignant and catchy lyrics.
“Soul to Keep” is available on all streaming platforms and major retailers. And keep your ear to the ground, as Harrison is ripe to be a major player in the Nashville Americana scene and beyond. Be on the lookout for his new EP in the frosty hours of January 2021.