After years of success as a performer in America, sharing the bill with the likes of America’s most celebrated musicians: Dolly Parton, Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, Marty Stuart, Earl Scruggs, and others, Jerry has quickly gained recognition as an amazing performer in the UK and mainland Europe performing at major events there. He has appeared at such events as North Carolina’s renowned Merle-Fest, The Bath International Music Festival, The Edinburgh International Festival,and The Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Jerry Harmon was born into a rich family tradition of music. His home, deep in the foothills of the Blue Ridge / Appalachian mountains, reverberated daily to the sound of music in many different forms.
Harmon’s musical career was launched at an early age, strumming a banjo fashioned from wood and groundhog hide by his uncle Gene. Radio programmes featuring Hank Williams Sr, Flatt & Scruggs and Ray Price also proved a lasting influence.
At the age of 12, with his Sears & Roebuck Truetone guitar in hand and an earnest determination, Harmon tackled the first of years of self given music lessons from a book by the famed North Carolina guitarist Arthur Smith. It is this rich family tradition, these years of practice, and the multi-dimensional experience that gives us Jerry Harmon, the Smoky Mountain Gypsy.
Jerry shares his Smoky Mountain home with his wife, Maria, and their two Schnauzers–the infamous, “Shadow” and his new friend, “Rosie.” Friends come often to the Harmon household, pulling up a chair, helping themselves to a cup a coffee or a cold bottle of water from the refrigerator. After you’ve been in the Harmon house more than five minutes, you realize you are no longer a guest–you are at home! Jerry gathers people around him like the mountains gather the clouds,– at home together… as much as the man and his music and the traditions of his storytelling.
Jerry’s new studio album ‘Walk Softly‘ sees him team up with acclaimed producer Pat Holt (Dr. Hook, Keith Bryant, Darlene Austin) for a record that embraces both his songwriting heritage and the contemporary country scene. Lead single, and title track, Walk Softly is a moving song that represents his journey to this point in time.
Review by Hannah Compton
Admittedly I am more of a modern country music fan rather than a traditional fan, however I do like traditional country but am just not as keen, a lot of it is not my cup of tea but some of it does grab my attention and I find myself thoroughly enjoying it.
When Jerry Harmons cd arrived through my letterbox, I had no idea what to expect. Like I do with every review submission, I hoped I was going to like it. I can happily say that I do.
Like many artists I have reviewed of a more mature sound, Jerry reminds me of the kind of music I grew up listening to in my family home. Although my family never listened to country music, there were easily some cross over artists in the mix and quite frankly you can find a little country in many artists. When listening to Jerry I thought of Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, Tom Petty and Travelling Wilburys. I also heard elements of Cat Stevens, Men At Work, America and I am sure other artists, but any of those artists countrified is more than ok with me. Listening to Jerry, well, it was like a walk down memory lane.
Each song has a nice, warm feel to it with an old soul sound and in general it is a feel good album that is full of really good music. There is nothing flashy, no catchy pop, no autotune, in fact there is nothing generic about it at all. The songs have a strong traditional country sound blended with folk, bluegrass and in some songs like Grandmas Are Sexy too a bit of Rock and Roll.
Jerry Harmon is a natural musician who produces not only good music but real, rootsy, bluegrass music with honest, homegrown, story telling songs about real life. Jerry strikes me as the kind of man and musician that you just want to spend time with, a man and musician whose music you truly respect and listen to in depth.
A lot of music these days can be heavily over produced and instruments are replaced with technology and even in country music, some of the traditional instruments and sounds are rarely used. Well this album is full of traditional instruments and old soulful, country sounds that really hit you, it’s refreshing. I have never really listened to Appalachian music before even blended with country and won’t pretend to know anything about it but am certainly intrigued now and it has sparked up an interest in me and I will certainly be looking into more of that style.
His music is engaging, captivating and soulful and totally different to what I usually listen to and I love that.
Stand out tracks for me are:
Back To The Country
Made Of Time
Grandmas Are Sexy Too
Man I Used To Be
Want To Come Home
Download Walk Softly by Jerry Harmon
To celebrate the release Jerry will be returning to the UK for a handful of intimate shows.
May 7 – The Islington, London
May 8 – The Castle Hotel, Manchester
May 9 – Oporto, Leeds
May 10 – Broadcast, Glasgow