“Dear John,” Eric Harrison’s New Ep Is Dedicated To John Prine
“This EP is a five song homage to the late, great John Prine. The idea was birthed about a week after COVID-19 took John from us on April 7, 2020. To write like John Prine is to write with a big heart. I don’t sing like JP and his influence on me may not be obvious, but because these five songs are bound by a conscious effort to write like (and about) him, I felt compelled to release them together.” – Eric Harrison
The idea for a John Prine tribute album came from Eric’s friend and producer Kevin Salem. The task of writing the songs to pay homage to John was left to Eric, and two years after Prine’s passing, Dear John was released.
The five track EP leads off with a song of love…or lust at first sight. “Til You Make Me Home,” even manages to give a nod to John Prine in the lyrics. It’s fun and bouncy, and tells a more light-hearted version of the story in “Closing Time” by J.D. Souther. Listen more than once for full enjoyment.
“Cougar Jenny” is a sweet story with a somewhat misleading title. The track features Simi Stone as the song’s namesake who offers a slightly different point of view. Everyday people and everyday stories, something of which Prine was a master, Harrison ably follows in his footsteps.
A life well lived, it’s what we all strive for. “Hot Teardrops And Cold Compresses” speaks to all the small things that make for one. An upbeat song that looks at the last verses of one’s story, Harrison manages to convey what’s most important looking back.
“Hoover Dam” has some nice imagery and play on words, while looking at love unrequited. Musically, there’s a slow buildup to the lap steel which sets the somber feel, to the piano and guitar break where the mood rises to acceptance, letting the words and music bond together.
Dear John ends with the simple yet beautifully crafted “Live Before You Die.” There’s nothing fancy about it, but within the plain words and low key melody, lie the words we all feel should be heeded. “Open up your heart and sing a song to call your own.” “Don’t lose the will to be amazed and live before you die.” There’s a lesson that is subtle and beautifully taught.
As a project that is dedicated to John Prine, Harrison uses his own story writing ability to create easily relatable lyrics that tug at your emotions.
Eric Harrison is a New Jersey based singer-songwriter who began his career unceremoniously in a pub in London. Fast forward a couple of decades and many releases, Harrison like the rest of us dealt with the pandemic as best he could. Then came the idea for Dear John…“I have never met a casual John Prine fan. To know him is to love him, and losing a soul who had brought such comfort, humor and joy to our lives while the plague that took him was knocking at our back door – that was a lot to take.
I had just started releasing new music and was looking forward to a year of full band shows, which were begrudgingly replaced by solo Facebook sessions from my front porch. Amid the madness it was fun to make new virtual friends while playing music, though the digital divide left me a little suspicious. I was in a creative rut, and I need to be writing well to feel legitimate.
Enter my friend and producer Kevin Salem, with whom I traded tips every few days on how to maintain some sense of normalcy in our families’ lives. Mindful of the need to grab the oxygen mask for oneself when the cabin pressure drops, Kevin knew how I loved John so he gave me a simple but daunting assignment: write some John Prine songs.”
He did. John would approve.
Review by Kath Galasso @KatsTheory
Till You Make Me Home
Cougar Jenny (feat. Simi Stone)
Hot Teardrops and Cold Compresses
Live Before You Die
Official Website: https://ericharrisonmusic.com