June 09, 2017 – JP Harris

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A ran across this character in Arizona several years ago at a saloon. He and his crew were all very gracious and made some great music. It almost sounds deceptive to apply the term “country” to these guys, but that’s what they insist they absolutely are, eschewing all of the confusing classifications of music in this modern age. I can dig that. But this isn’t the kind of country you might imagine, what with pop country, americana, and other folk sub-genres . JP Harris has an edge, and I think it’s pretty apparent when you look at him.

A while after I met him, I was foolishly angered when one of my Facebook photographs – today’s photograph, in fact – wound up in an article without my permission. I was pretty hot-headed back then and didn’t react kindly, but I’m hoping there isn’t too much love lost (but hey, it’s difficult to tell). It’s hard to accept how little currency a photograph carries these days, but in a world where everybody is in the picture-making business – in a world where everybody has a camera in their pocket, on their phone – it’s just one of those things.

In the final analysis, “Facebook” means “free to all.” I don’t have to like it – just as musicians, I’m sure, have to suck it up when dealing with digital distribution and file sharing – but I guess that only means that I have to continue to adapt and try to find new ways of building value in the images I make.

Challenge accepted.

JP Harris was born only a couple of weeks after me, in the year of our lord 1993. According to the bio I found on his website, “he left home on foot at the age of 14, traveling via thumb and freight train, living the next 4 years mostly from a backpack, a tarp, a bedroll. Eventually landing in the northeast, he worked as a farm laborer, equipment operator, lumberjack, luthier, and carpenter.”

It ain’t about the age of the model – it’s all about the mileage. And JP Harris has lived at least a couple of lifetimes in his thirty-four years.

His first all-original album, “I’ll Keep Calling,” won “Best Country Album of 2012” in the Nashville Scene. He won the same honor at the Independent Music Awards, landed a cameo on NPR’s ‘American Routes,’ and collected accolades in various print publications. Rolling Stone has named JP Harris one of 2014’s “Country Tours Not To Miss,” as well as one of “21 Must-See Country Acts at SXSW 2015.”

Check out what’s going on with JP Harris today.
You can find him on Facebook here.

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May 14, 2017 – After The Tornado

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I wouldn’t ever expect most people to have their thumb on the pulse of what happens in small towns in the middle of Kansas, but today’s photograph comes from a little place called Greensburg. In May of 2007 around nine o’clock at night, an EF5 tornado tore through the city center. Estimated at 1.7 miles in width, with winds in excess of 200 mph, it was later confirmed that ninety-five percent of the entire community had been destroyed by the tornado.

The above photograph was taken on November 1st, 2012, more than five years after the devastating storm. A tremendous amount of rebuilding has been done, but there are whole grids of roads that used to be housing subdivisions that are, today, just empty lots with foundations not entirely different from this one.

I drive through this town every time I return to Kansas City from my Arizona home to visit family. I stop at the same gas station every time I pass through.

Greensburg, twelve days after the 2007 tornado.

After the tornado, the Greensburg city council passed a resolution stating that all city buildings would be built to ‘LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum’ standards, making it the first city in the nation to do so. Greensburg has been rebuilding as a “green” town, with just the right name to support the decision. At this point in time, the city’s power is supplied by ten 1.25 MW wind-turbines, which can been seen blanketing the plains outside of town.

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