JP Harris is less than a year removed from putting out his third full-length solo record, Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing. On top of releasing outstanding records, the established Nashville country music staple tours relentlessly. Oh, and he might have the most interesting backstory of all-time. Born in Alabama, Harris moved to Las Vegas in adolescence (where he discovered music and started a punk band) before leaving home at 14 years of age to move to Oakland. From there, he spent some time at an Arizona desert commune, rode the rails and hitchhiked throughout the nation, and finally wound up settling in a remote cabin without electricity or running water in Vermont. It was there that he learned to play banjo and fell in love with traditional Appalachian string music. That set the stage for his Flat Iron String Band and, later, Harris’ solo project.
Back in June, during one of the tireless musician’s many tours, Harris invited My First Band host Tyler Maas into his to van to talk about his path from Sin City punk kid to up-and-coming county artist. Amid the steady sound of raindrops falling outside and jets passing over the X-Ray Arcade, Harris graciously shared his incomparable life story, his thoughts on the modern-day music industry, his thoughtful songwriting approach, his disdain for most of the internet, and sage advice he gleaned from Lena Dunham of all people.
My First Band is sponsored by Boulevard Brewing and is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”), Flat Iron String Band (“Mustache Max”), and JP Harris (“When I Quit Drinking”).