Well, it looks like it’s finally that time…Today I get to put my hands on the first copies of the soon-to-be-released album, Bow and Be Simple!! I’m a little more than excited, and I can’t wait to share these songs with y’all! The songs were recorded on an island outside of Copenhagen, Denmark with Danish backing band, The Sentimentals, and features Rachel Jones. We laid it down “live” in the studio with some tracks captured in one take. Some tunes hadn’t even been played by this lineup before. Think of it as an invitation to a moment-in-time that was constructed by the kinship of music. If you want to pre-order the album before the street date (March 20) you can get some cool packages and deals. More on that at mattharlan.bigcartel.com There will be more news to come, but for now I’m just glad to say it’s coming out! Check the Facebook page for updates!
Hey y’all, Well, I had really hoped to check in formally sometime before now, but between the travel schedue, gig itinerary and limited reception throughout the mountainous parts of the US of A it has taken longer than I expected. To those of y’all that have sent messages on Facebook and by other means, thank you for helping keep me connected! I guess this is the part where I give y’all a brief run-down of what’s been going on this past month or so. It’s been a whirlwind: South by Mid- to Northwest Brian and I have gone through 6 states so far, starting in our beloved Texas, moving through New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and currently milling about Montana. Together with our trusty scribe and merch lady, Amanda, we have played venues big and small…crossed rivers wide and narrow…spent late nights carousing with outlaws, activists, lifetime students, artists, musicians, faeries, Festivarians, Basque people and Mormans…and we’ve made it more than a month with our sanity intact and our horizons broadened. The next stops on the journey include North Dakota (where the summer is still on its way), Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Arkansas and then back home to our loved ones in Tejas. Telluridden Troubadours On our trip through Colorado we had a magical stop in Telluride where we spent about 5 days camping and playing music among the friendliest group of festival goers this side of Kerrville. The detour was made possible by the fine folks at Planet Bluegrass, who invited me to come “compete” in the Troubadour Competition. Song contests are funny. Our hosts reminded us frequently that Gillian Welch mentioned at a previous festival how songwriting is most definitely not a competition. I tend to agree and completely believe that any of the 10 finalists could have walked away with the prize Shanti guitar. However, I ended up being the one chosen to receive the honor. And what an honor it was to play this masterwork of an instrument, in front of 10,000 or so people! Plus, aside from filling the slot in between Yonder Mountain String Band and The Decemberists, I got to play a short ‘tweener set before fellow Texan, Steve Earle! It was truly a magical experience, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt slightly different afterwards. Bearded and Beloved Sing a Song About Trains I told Rachel before I left that I would not be shaving until I got back to town. I’ve been keeping this vow although I’ve never really been this furry before. But, it’s a symbol of the love that continues to grow even as we’re apart. In honor of this promise to my beloved and of our musical and loving bond, I wanted to share with y’all this song that we recorded together at Wire Road Studios before I left Houston. It’s a tune I wrote in Conroe, TX while trying very hard not to load in very much equipment at a gig with the Dragliners (sorry y’all…). She and I will be recording more together later this summer / early-fall in Denmark, but for now, this is one of the only magnetized versions of her sweet voice dancing around my ragged one: soundcloud.com/redfrogaudio/slow-moving-train-matt-harlan. I hope y’all dig it…I sure do. So Long, For Now Well, I guess it’s time to put up my computer and go meet my tourmates so we can get packed and ready to shove off to our last Montana gig tomorrow in Billings. I think Montana is the perfect place to spend the 4th of July, with its rugged spirit and inividualist ideals. Hopefully the state feels the same about having us…bearded idealists that we’ve become. Pictures, blow-by-blow gig analyses and travel insights are likely to begin flowing now that I’ve broken the proverbial seal on this tour correspondence (and now that I’ve figured out how to get my photos off of my iPhone). I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday weekend and am looking more and more forward to seeing the mix of familiar and foreign faces on our return. Take it easy, -matt
Hey y’all…I’m excited to be one of the 10 finalists in the Telluride Bluegrass Troubadour Competition! We were already headed that direction for the Hudson and Harlan summer tour, but now it just got a little cooler! Can’t wait to get back to Colorado! Check out the list of finalists here: www.bluegrass.com/telluride/contests.html#troubadour
It’s time to make that trip again…if you’re in Austin, drop by the G&S Lounge, Amelia’s or NeWorlDeli. Be great to see ya! Thu Mar 17 2011 2:00p Amelia’s – NotSXSW Austin, TX Thu Mar 17 2011 11:00a G&S Lounge – NotSXSW Austin, TX Fri Mar 18 2011 3:30p New World Deli Austin, TX Sun Mar 20 2011 2:30p Amelia’s – NotSXSW Austin, TX
Exciting news on the collaboration front. This summer I’m going to be rolling around our fair country with the one and only Brian Hudson from Austin, TX. We’ve got some dates set up already, but check out the website for updates…we may be swinging through your town! www.hudsonandharlan.com.