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Kemp Harris Biography

With almost four decades behind him as a songwriter and performer, Kemp Harris has shared the stage with a surprising range of talent -- including Koko Taylor, Taj Mahal, Gil Scott-Heron, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Harris' depth of experience echoes powerfully throughout his sophomore CD release entitled "Edenton," scheduled for release on March 13th. The album is both a literal and figurative journey back to Harris' roots in Edenton, North Carolina, the town where he was born.

It features the legendary Holmes Brothers on backing vocals. The Brothers bring the full force of their talent, providing deep, rootsy harmonies to the raw-boned force of Harris' lead vocals. With the support of the Holmes Brothers, Harris's original songwriting and performances reflect a mature artist not content to rehash the clichés of the blues and roots genre. Harris shows his willingness to fuse diverse elements in the search for a more modern and timely blues, with intelligent lyrics that are both socially aware and intensely soulful. Edenton brings an edgier, darker hue to this traditional American music.

A diverse group of covers augments the original material. Kemp really reaches back on the gospel classic, "Didn't It Rain." This cappella track features his mother and aunt (each of them in their late-seventies) singing a version the trio has been performing together since Kemp's childhood.

The album was recorded at Hi-n-Dry Studios in Cambridge, MA, the former studio of Mark Sandman and the band Morphine. Tom Dube (Marc Cohn, Buffalo Tom, Ben Kweller, Juliana Hatfield, Duncan Sheik) engineered the album. As a result, the production on the album is sparse, warm, and organic, letting the humanity of the songs and performances come through.

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