Friday, December 11, 2009

Harper December Blog

Hi there everyone,

Its cccccold here in Michigan, USA. Wow another year has just sped by so quickly. But I have to say its been a great year for my band "Midwest Kind" and myself. We have alot to be thankful for. And a huge thank you to all those folks who came out to our shows and festival performances this year. We had an amazing 30 festival bookings this year!!! Its truly a blessing to have your support.

I am writing this blog on my laptop at Big Sky Recording Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. we are into day three of recording my third Blind Pig Record release. The band is sounding great and the songs are starting to take shape. We plan to have the CD out late April, early May, 2010 to combine with our upcoming United Kingdom tour.

In November we headed to the Midwest and Colorado. Our shows at Knuckleheads Saloon in Kansas City, Uncle Bos, Topeka and the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska were a blast. So many friends turned up- it made us all feel good. Then on to Colorado where we were bombarded by heavy snow. We still managed to perform our shows at The Little Bear and Lincolns Roadhouse.

We had three shows in Michigan in mid November, The Livery, Lake Superior Arts Center and Billys. The show at Billys was HUGE!!! we hope to be back in May to do a CD Release Party. Then it was south to Fort Myers, Florida to perform for the special needs kids at the Buckingham Exceptional Student Center. And what a truly inspirational show it was!!!. These kids were so appreciative that the band and I had come to visit their school. One little wheel chair bound boy was so excited he was emitting screams, or should I say shrill squeaks of excitement. He just couldn’t contain himself. It was a wonderful thing to experience. There was another little girl sitting on the stage who was just moshing to the music. Her entire head was braided and her braids flicked wildly about as she head banged to the music. Those children that could dance did and those in wheel chairs were assisted by teachers and fellow students. We added another special needs school to the tour- Westgate School in Pensacola, Florida. We were blown away by the dancing of these children. These kids had amazing rhythm and coordination. They collectively clapped their hands in complex poly rhythms complete with syncopation. Many musicians couldn't do this, let alone the average person. Bobbi later inquired about the music program at the school and learned that Westgate School has an extensive music program complete with drumming circles. Just amazing!!!. It just goes to show that music has a profound soulful effect physically as well as mentally.

Our shows at Celtic Rays, The Funky Blues Shack were fun. At the Paradise Inn in Gulf Breeze, we experienced a huge flood and one of our shows was canceled. Blues Tavern, Little Willies, Brackins were all well attended. We had a last minute show come up at The Bushman Brewhouse in Indiana which was alot of fun.

Our last show for the year will take place at the 411 Club in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This will be Mike Howe's last show, so please come down to send him off with a bang. There's also a whisper that the Chicago Rhythm n Blues Kings will be down later to jam!!

Have an amazing Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Happy Holidays to all. May 2010 be full of joy and inspiration.

See you out on the road,

Harper And Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Harper November Blog

Hey Everyone,

Winter is nearly upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere. We have one more month of shows then we go into the studio at Big Sky Recordings in Ann Arbor, Michigan to record the new CD for my third Blind Pig Record release. Woohooo! Its been an exciting two months with John Mayall releasing my song "Just What Youre Looking For" as track two on his new CD "Tough" (Eagle Records) and my friend "Dog The Bounty Hunter" using "Do What Is Right" on one of his bounty hunting episodes on the A & E TV network.

We had a nice warm tour to Tennessee and Virginia with shows at the Chattanooga State Community College, Blue 5 and Attucks Theater for the 'Discovery Music Series". Attucks Theater is a fabulous venue with a spacious stage and superb sound. We certainly hope to do a show there again soon. We noticed an immediate drop in temperature when we headed to upstate New York, Connecticut and Maine. We did a festival in Maine called the Harmony Harvest Festival. Man it was ccccold. The audience basically huddled round several log fires for the entire event. The festival took place on a stunning property just out of the tiny town of Harmony. We hope to visit this festival again when its warmer. On our way out of the festival, we were pulled over by the police, but we were totally "Kosher", so no problems there.

We performed a didgeridoo presentation at The Naples Elementary School in New York, followed by a very cool show at Black Eyed Sallys. We had a last minute booking (three weeks notice) at a Canadian Festival called the "Canal Bank Shuffle"in Thorold, Ontario. We were booked to perform at The Holy Rosary Hall- quite a large theater at 1.30pm. It was quite early in the day for us, so we weren't sure if there would be a crowd. Well we were mistaken, quite a decent crowd turned up for the show and the sound was brilliant. My band "Midwest Kind" & I had a great show!!! The only mishap was an elderly gentleman who walked up to the front of the stage and started yelling at Marc our drummer, saying that the band was too loud. I guess he picked the wrong person to yell at because this made Marc hit his timbales even louder in defiance. Seeing that he was getting no where with Marc, the man then walked over to the sound man to yell at him instead. I was told later that this particular guy does this sort of thing every year.

We finished off the month of October with a huge Halloween Party at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park where we opened for Ohio legends Ekoostik Hookah. Our band all dressed up with Mike dressed as a cow, Marc- a fluffy bunny and Chris came as a bumble bee. They looked hilarious. I dressed up as Mel Gibson from "Brave Heart". All the pics are up on our myspace page. The guys from Ekoostik Hookah got me up to jam with them during their set. A great way to finish the month. We head out on the road this week to Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado, then Michigan and Florida

Hope to see you out on the road,

Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Harper October Blog

Hey everyone,

September saw us leaving the UK, doing a show in Michigan the next day, then driving to Canada for the second annual Portstock Festival in stunning Port Dalhousie. We were all exhausted but we had a great show in Canada and helped to raise money for the purchase of equipment for The St Catherines General Hospital Foundation. $15000 was raised, which is amazing. The next week we had a show in Kalamazoo at The Evergreen Hall which benefited The National Kidney Foundation followed by our favorite Flint Michigan club- Rubes. Some exciting news just to hand, is that British Blues Legend "John Mayall" has just released my song "Just What You're Looking for" on his new CD "Tough" (Eagle Records). I also got my third song- "Do What is right" on "Dog The Bounty Hunter"- on the A&E TV network.

The last week of September we had several school shows in Burlington, Iowa and Springfield ,Missouri which were alot of fun. The kids really dig the didgeridoo!!. The band and I also performed at a beautiful winery called the Sugar Clay Winery just outside the town of Thurman in Iowa. It was an early finishing show and we were dreading going back to our hotel. When we had arrived earlier in the day in the tiny town of Tabor, we felt a little intimidated by the old turn of the century Inn that would be our home for the night. It was a double storey classic styled building with grey paint peeling on every panel and a "For Sale" sign out the front. We finally met up with the owner "Jean" and checked in. We nick named the house “The Amityville Horror House” because it looked so spooky. The inside of the Inn was quite beautiful- dark polished cedar wooden panels and floor boards with colourful Indian rugs. It was quite a surprise, considering the ominous exterior. We were the only people staying at the Inn, even the owner "Jean" didn’t stay there, which we thought was a little odd. I was looking at one of the round wooden breakfast tables in the down stairs lounge room and to my astonishment saw a magazine move all by its self. It was as if someone had picked it up and threw it across the room. The house was definitely haunted!.

After the show at the Winery, we decided to hit a local bar in town which was with in walking distance from our haunted Inn. The neighborhood bar was called “Glory Day’s” and we had a wild night of pool playing. We planned to drive back to Michigan early the next morning, so Bobbi and I decided to leave Glory Days round mid night. The streets were deserted in Tabor’s Main Street as we walked along the cracked pavement back to the Inn. I open the back door of the Inn and walked into the lounge room, I was startled by a man standing in front of the fire place. In a blink of an eye, he vanished. I asked Bobbi if she had seen the man too, and she said she had.

Having survived the haunted house, we have a busy touring schedule coming up with shows in Tennessee, Virginia, Upstate New York, Connecticut, Maine, Pennsylvania, Ohio and back to Canada.

Hope to see you out on the road,


Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads

Monday, September 14, 2009

Harper September Blog

Hey Everyone,

Just back from an amazing UK tour- 13 shows in 13 days!!! Thankfully we have a few days to recover before it all starts again. August was a great month for festivals. We visited the White Mountain Blues n Boogies Festival in New Hampshire here in the US. It was VERY hot and we performed in the baking Sunday afternoon sun facing the stunning white mountains. The sound was superb and the crowd really dug the show despite the heat. We performed also at our favorite clubs- Harrys & Inn On The Blues. After a show at Kclingers Tavern we headed to New York for the Chenango Blues Festival. We did several workshops at a Youth Camp, the public Library and a Veteran's Home. So we basically covered every age imaginable in one day!!!. The next day we performed two shows at The Festival and brought the house down. Chenango was alot of fun, really well organized and probably the best hospitality ever. After the festival we all got to hang out in the town of Norwich where there was plenty of live music to be heard. We caught up with amazing musicians: Mitch Woods and Chris Cain. Bobbi and I also hung out with our good buddys Chef Jimi and his lovely wife plus several other folks drinking red wine, eating gorgeous cheese in the foyer of our hotel until we were asked to leave!

The next day we headed to the first Annual Lakeview Lodge Festival. Apart from a very short huge heavy down pour of splattering rain, this was a great day. We caught up with Tyler Mac and Biscuit Miller. We finally got to meet Motor City Josh, after many conversations on the phone and got to hang out with Chris Cain for the second day in a row. After the show there was an almighty jam in the lodge that went to the wee hours of the morning.

A couple of days later we flew out to London for our 13 day UK tour. The flight was OK and we picked up our van and equipment at Heathrow Airport. The next stop was our hotel- The Metro Inn in Stockton on Tees. We booked this hotel on line and it looked pretty good in the photograph, but reality was a whole lot different. The hotel turned out to be an old Formula 1 which had changed its name. We had stayed at a Formula 1 in Australia several years ago and vowed never to return. This hotel was just as bad. Shared bathrooms- self cleaning toilets and showers- very nasty indeed. Bobbi had asked the receptionist if we could have a late checkout for 12 noon the next day and was told we could. At 10.15 am the next morning we were awoken by loud knocking at our door by the heavily tatoed, shaven headed manager with his Rottweiler dog in tow. We were told we had to leave! We hastily packed up and got the hell out!

Our shows at The Studio in Hartlepool and The Musician in Leicester went well. The Great British RnB Festival in Colne was a blast. We performed in a huge theater packed with people, just before Mick Taylor (Ex Rolling Stones). We had such great reaction that we were called back for an encore and an elaborate bow to the audience. Our shows at The Cellars and the Maltshovel Tavern were alot of fun. On our one day off we visited the town of York and climbed the 375 steps of the ancient York Minster - the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. We stayed the next two days at a 300 year old farm house in Laycock Village. We did two didgeridoo presentations at two local primary schools in Bradford and in the evening performed to a sell out crowd at the Laycock Village Hall. The next evening we performed at a fabulous club called the Boardwalk in Sheffield.

Our flight to Ireland for the Harvest Blues Festival was very short in comparison to our journey through security at Birmingham Airport. Our Bass player Chris Smith had to go through three different times. Flying is such fun these days!!! Ireland is the greenest of green countries. We stayed at a beautiful hotel and were treated to an amazing ala carte meal in the hotel's restaurant where we all had a very first authentic Guinness. The band performed at 1am in the morning to a packed house and we didn't get off stage until 3am.

The next day we flew back to England for a show at The Famous Monday Blues Club in Oxford, followed by a show at The Robin 2 the next day. Our final show took place at The Blue Funk Blues Club in Poynton then we drove through the night to get back to Heathrow for our flight back to the US the next day. We had a fantastic tour, ate way too much food and drank way too much fine beer. We plan to head back to the UK in April.

Hope to see you out on the road,


Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Harper August Blog

Hey Everyone,

July was an awesome touring month. My band and I performed at 11 festivals here in the USA- from Michigan to Maine to Illinois to Minnesota then back to Michigan. "Blue On The Mall" in Grand Rapids, Michigan was alot of fun but very, very wet. The rain just pounded down towards the end of the set, but many die hards stayed to the bitter end. We met up with local favorite musician Ralston Bowles who helped out Bobbi with merchandise sales. Ralston is fighting cancer at the moment, so please send him your positive vibes. Marc our drummer had a little too much fun that night and badly sprained his ankle after attempting to jump a trash can. He is off the crutches now and walking. We had beautiful weather for The Common Ground Music Festival in Lansing, Michigan. We opened for Bettye Lavette and Los Lonely Boys. We had a great show with a standing ovation at the end of the show. We heard a bit of Bettye but had to drive to upstate New York after the show to get to the Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse. The next festival was the amazing North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland, Maine. Another stunning day in a picture perfect location right on the Atlantic ocean. We performed to a huge crowd and receive yet another standing ovation. We saw Homemade Jamz, Super Chiken, Zac Harmon and Bobby Rush perform. What a fabulous lineup!. We were even treated to a lobster dinner back stage. That evening the Main street was closed to traffic and many different bands performed on the street or in various clubs. We all had way too much fun. We visited our favorite seaside town in York Beach, Maine for Inn on the blues then it was back to Michigan via a peaceful drive through Canada.

Mixer on the Mall in Kalamazoo was alot of fun. The Nothin But The Blues Festival in Bloomington, Illinois was another great event. Huge dark clouds rolled in during our set and it looked certain that heavy rain would follow. I told the crowd that I was going to play the didgeridoo to chase away the rain. Literally the clouds broke apart and revealed a clear night's sky. Everyone was absolutely blown away. We received yet another standing ovation and had a huge lineup for CDs. The Rogue River series in Rockford, Michigan was an unexpected pleasure. The place was packed with people and we had a fantastic show. Then we drove to Chicago that night on our way to the 10 000 Lakes Festival in Minnesota. We played two shows at 10 000 lakes and had a fantastic reaction. We then did the long drive back to Michigan through the upper peninsula through the night. Whilst driving on highway 2, just on dusk an on coming vehicle flashed their lights to warn us that there was something on the road. We slowed right down to see a grey dog like creature walking casually across the road. It was a wolf, who took a good look at us once he got to the other side. What an amazing creature! The wolf was just as curious about us as we were about him. Later that evening Bobbi saw another wolf that looked almost white in the evening darkness. The next day we crossed the Mackinaw Bridge which was enveloped in a heavy mist. We eventually arrived at the first annual Suttons Bay Blues Festival and again had great weather, which was surprising since it poured the previous day and again the day after the festival. We had a great set and saw Sonny Landreth do his thing on the slide guitar. The end of the month saw two local Michigan Festivals- Eats To the Beats and The Cross Roads Music Festival.

August sees us heading to the east coast of the US again and at the end of the month a fabulous tour of England and Ireland.

Hope to see you out on the road,


Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Harper July Blog Part 2

Hey Everyone,

Some of you may have noticed that our drummer Marc Dixon is on crutches. He badly sprained his ankle and had deep contusions of the muscles, after at a fall at our show at Blues On The Mall on July 1. The good news is that after a week of painful crutching around, he is started to be able to put some pressure on his foot. We expect a full recovery by the middle of July. Marc has still been able to drum at our shows, crutches and all. Infact, we received standing ovations at The Common Ground Music Festival in Lansing, Michigan and at The North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland, Maine, here in the USA.

Still out on the road,


Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Harper July Blog

Hey Everyone,

July is upon us and we are gearing up for a great festival season here in the USA. The last two weeks of June saw my band "Midwest Kind" and I heading to Missouri for the Parkville Riverjam right on the Missouri River which was moving with great speed. Apparently last year, the whole park was flooded and the festival took place high up on the hill. We had a great show and the weather was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately Marc our drummer left behind his timbales in the darkness at the back of the stage. Thankfully they were found, so hopefully the drums will be shipped back to us very soon. We also had some great shows at Skips Lounge in Indiana and the fabulous BB's in St Louis, Missouri.

Then we headed out to Lincoln, Nebraska for the Celebrate Lincoln Festival. The weather was not the best, but thankfully we had no rain during our set. Chubby Carrier performed after us and put on an amazing show. Marc Dixon our drummer jammed with the band doing his zydeco thing!. The rain pelted down, but many die hards stayed to the bitter end! Later that night we were woken at 4am by a huge raucous party next door. At first we blamed Chubby who was also staying at the hotel. But later we found out it was the Roller Derby Girls who had literally taken over the hotel. There were two parties going, one on the first floor and one on the second floor. After many complaints, the party was moved out into the car park and went all night. The poor nerdy guy on the front desk, didn't know what to do. The Roller Derby Girls just laughed at him and offered him a beer , when he asked them to quieten down. It was a wild night thats for sure.

On our way to Springfield Illinois, we were driving west on State Highway 36 when a large semi trailer truck, which was driving on the wrong side of the road, forced us off the highway. Thankfully I had a gut feeling something like this was going to happen, so I was ready to get out of the way. Still we all had a quite a scare!

Our show at The Alamo in Springfield, Illinois went really well, then we headed home to Michigan the next day. We performed at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Top of the Parks Stage, outside in the 94 degree heat. It was HOT!!!! We were very inspired by our friend Diane, who was hit by a bus earlier this year, dancing throughout the entire set. Good for you Diane!
We headed south to The Rathskeller in Indianapolis for another outdoor show. We got to jam and hang out with Biscuit Miller and our former guitarist Tyler Mac . I would have to say the temperature would have got to 100 degrees, because it was 93 degrees at 11pm at night. It was a hot one thats for sure. After a private party in Leland, Michigan we headed west to The Alpena Music Festival. Thankfully the weather was alot cooler, but with the coolness came the rain. It pretty much rained lightly throughout our show, but the folks there didn't seem to mind.

Hope to see you out on the road,

Peace, Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Harper June Blog

Hey Everyone,

Just when we thought that the madness was over, then came along our May USA tour to Alabama and sunny Florida. Our show at 1048 in Montgomery Alabama was a lot of fun- its been along time since we played this club. Then it was the long drive to Boca Raton, Florida to The Backroom. We had torrential rain on our drive and our Dodge sprinter van started to act peculiarly just as we got close to our destination. All the lights on the dashboard were blinking on and off and the power seemed to be draining. As we rolled into our hotel, the van just stopped dead. A quick call to AAA and an hour or so later, we had help. The battery was charged up and all seemed to be well. We suspected it might be the alternator. And of course all this was happening on Memorial Day Weekend. We had a nice show at the stunningly decorated "Backroom". What a cool place - amazing sound and the room itself is a feast for the eyes with its red hues and art deco styled lamps and artwork. The next day - we faced the awful truth that our vehicle needed a new alternator. By divine guidance, it seemed, I was able to find a Dodge Sprinter dealership and mechanic who was able to replace the alternator on a Saturday afternoon while the rest of America was on vacation. The band camped out side their hotel rooms during a huge down pour which lasted for hours. But we were back on the road by 3pm , some $1200 poorer . Thankfully we were able to make our next show at Aces Lounge in Bradenton.

Bobbi rented a condo in Rotonda near Fort Myers and we looked forward to a couple of days of going to the beach. Our mini vacation was cut short by our bass player Chris cutting his foot on the jagged edge of a glass coffee table. At first we thought that he wouldn't need to go to the hospital, but when we arrived at Celtic Rays for our show, Chris's foot erupted with blood which spurted all over the floor of the bar. Bobbi drove Chris straight to the emergency room where he was scolded by the nurse for not coming in earlier. His deep gash received 16 double stitches and Chris himself received a pair of crutches and a nice bill. Like a trooper, he hobbled into Celtic Rays and played his bass as if nothing had happened. The next day we had the pleasure of performing to the special needs kids of the Buckingham Exceptional Student Center. It was such a privilege to perform to these exceptional students, many danced either on foot or in wheel chairs. Everyone there felt uplifted and inspired.

Our next stop was the incredibly unique Bradfordville Blues Club in Tallahassee. Then it was Ms Newbies in Panama City Beach, where we pretty much rocked the place. On the way back to our stunning condo, generously provided by our good friends Ken & Rachel Brown, we came across several extremely drunk drivers. We were pretty much freaked out by a drunken woman and her drunk boyfriend on a motor scooter. The pair were snaking along the road infront of us. The female rider nearly passed out at the traffic lights. Then we saw a car driving down the wrong side of the highway, avoiding the oncoming traffic. It was all too much for Bobbi, so she called 911.

We were glad to make it to the Paradise Inn in Pensacola Beach. We had some really nice shows and just loved the gleaming white sands of Pensacola. While walking barefoot along this amazing beach, Bobbi nearly stepped on a used hypodermic needle. It reminded us of St Kilda Beach in Melbourne, Australia, where you would never dare to walk bare foot for the very same reason. We had some great shows at The Funky Blues Shack in Sandestin and got an invite by Chuck and Ken Brown for a boat ride to Crab Island. Our last show took place at The Blues Tavern in Mobile, Alabama for the owner Randy's birthday. Unfortunately Randy decided to start his celebrating one day early, so we didn't see him too much at the show. We have a great festival season this summer and a tour to the UK.

Hope to see you out on the road this summer,

Peace, Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (CD orders/ downloads)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Harper May Blog

Hey Everyone,

We are starting to get into the festival season, which is always the best time of year. Im happy to say that this year we have over thirty festivals booked in five different countries. This is the biggest year for us ever. We will also tour the United Kingdom again in late August and even get to do a festival in beautiful Ireland which is sponsored by "Guiness". We could be in trouble there!!!! April was a pretty relaxing month with very little touring involved. It was great to catch up on doing the ordinary things such as cooking your own meals, making the bed, chain sawing the many trees that had decided to fall down while we were out on the road. Even getting bitten by a wood tick kind of brings you down to earth from the craziness of the road. Oh- & getting to sleep in without someone yelling "House Cleaning" Ive been working hard on getting some new songs together as well. So far so good. We plan to start performing some of the new tracks in the next couple of weeks. I hope to release a new CD early in 2010. During April we added a new bass player Chris Smith, to my band "Midwest Kind"-- yet another talented Michiganda!

Some of you may have noticed that we have a new look Harper website with an interactive blog. Try to check it out when you can. This week we head out on a short tour to Iowa, we will be visiting our favorite lady, Betsy in Fort Dodge at Betsy's Blue Note, this will be a show and a Jam after- which will be a lot of fun. Then to Des Moines for Blues On Grand - yet another great club & then we headline the Simply The Blues Festival in Fort Madison, Iowa. So Please come on down because this is a fantastic festival full of amazing music and good vibes.

On Friday May 15 we will be doing a stunning new theater in Bowling Green, Ohio called The Clazel with opening Toledo band- "Frostbite" and we have another show at our favorite Flint , Michigan club- Rubes on Sat May 16. Then we head south to Alabama and Florida, where we are sure to get a sun tan.

Hope to see you out on the road,

Peace, Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for CD down loads) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Harper Blog April 2009

Hey Everyone,

Just back from a six week west coast US tour. Its good to be home.!!!! After our wild weekend in Hico , Texas , we headed to an "out of the way" town in Alpine, Texas which is the home of an awesome club called "Railroad Blues". Alpine is just north of the Big Bend National Park and we do this club from time to time, if we happen to roll by that way. We had a packed house on a Tuesday night, which was pretty cool!

Our shows in Colorado went well. On the way home from our show at The Toad Tavern in Littleton, Colorado, we were driving down the highway to Boulder, Colorado, round 3am. Seemingly out of the darkness, a man appeared right in the middle lane of the highway. Bobbi let go a blood curdling scream and threw her arms in front of her face, in an attempt to protect herself from the impending disaster. It was only my quick reflexive reaction that saved us and saved the life of the young drunken man who was so hell bent on loosing his life. Our bass player was following in a car behind and the driver barely missed the man as well. We were all shaking from head to foot. I asked Marc our drummer to call the police to let them know that there was a drunk on the highway. One can only imagine the ripple effect that would have occurred, if we had crashed into that young stranger. It would have left a terrible scar on our souls because there is no way that he would have survived the impact , let alone the anguish caused to the man’s family. I thanked God for guiding us through this situation. That defensive driving course I completed in Australia so many years before served me well that night.

The drive through the Colorado rocky mountain range through to Utah was absolutely breath taking in the early spring. The sun was shining in a deep blue sky and the mountains had just the right amount of gleaming white snow. We stopped the van many times to take photos and to take in the view. We did a great show in Cedar City in Utah at The Grind Coffee House. It was an alcohol free show which took place on St Patrick's Day. One would think this wouldn’t work but we had a packed house of coffee drinking music lovers. The next day we did a show at The Wine Cellar in Ogden . Utah. Its always nice to hang with Mitch and all the folks in Ogden. We had some really nice shows in Northern California at The Torch Club (hello to Crystal & Jason), The Stage Door and Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. We then did the magnificent drive up highway 101 North along the brilliant Oregon coast line to Washington. We drove through the Avenue of the Giants. We saw many huge Redwood Trees, it was amazing.. Our shows in Washington were a lot of fun and we looked forward to our show at The Yale Hotel in Vancouver, Canada. We have done many border crossings before and had actually done the Vancouver run last year. After hitting the border, we were told to go into the border office to get our work permits. We were told to wait until called. It seemed to be taking quite some time- longer that usual. Then GT our bass player was called up to booth and was there quite a while. He came back and told us that he wasn’t allowed through and that we would all have to return to the US. So our next step was to take GT back to the US, put him in a hotel close to the border and then head back to Canada. We were stuck in line for at least two hours. When we got to the US side, we were asked to go into the office. Then our van was searched, which took more time. But we got through. We easily found GT a hotel and were on our way. We had to go back into the Canadian border office to get our work permits. The Canadian border guard after taking our passports and the performance contract said that he could not let us in without a 7 digit labor number, which the Yale Hotel’s booker had failed to give Bobbi. Bobbi couldn’t believe that the paper work hadn’t been put through because she had sent through all the information required at least two months prior. The problem was that Joe Luciak the booker had gone on vacation to Jamaica and hadn’t left any instructions for his staff.

So Bobbi started calling the Yale Hotel and managed to speak to one of the bar attendants who was able to locate Joe, who had just returned, next door. A tense 15 minutes went by, with much praying and then Bobbi called again. An Australian voice answered the phone this time and he was aware of our predicament . The staff had to break into Joe’s office to get the labor number and thankfully found it. It was such a relief to hear an Australian voice and it was so easy to hear the number correctly. Bobbi gave the number to the border guard and even he seemed to be happy for us. I guess the hard ass act was just part of the job. We received our permits and raced to the Yale Hotel. We arrived at 8.15pm for a 9pm show. We had been stuck at the border since 2pm. What a day! The show went well as the three piece. Infact everyone seemed to be blown away that we had no bass player.

We stopped by Ed Mahoney’s house on our way through Seattle. Ed is one of the owners of Highway 99- an awesome club we had performed at on the Saturday before the Canadian border crossing. He cooked us up a fine feed of large shrimp and chicken. A few brews were also consumed and the conversation was excellent. So we began the long drive though Washington State, Idaho and landing in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was Marc's birthday and we went to see a burlesque show called "La Femme' courtesy of our old guitarist from 10 years ago- Elvis Lederer, who now works for Cirque Du Soliel. We had an awesome night & it was great to catch up with Elvis. So then we headed to Tucson , Arizona for a show at Club Congress, where we were surprised by our Texas friends from Hico. The final show took place at the Glendale Jazz & Bues Festival. We had stunning weather and the park was packed with people. We had a brilliant show and an excellent finale to our six week tour.

Hope to see you out on the road,

Peace, Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for CD down loads) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Harper,s Blog, March 2009

Hey Everyone,

Spring is definitely on the way. We had a pretty rough winter in Michigan, so its nice to get some warmer temperatures. February was a month of several new clubs. Midwest Kind & I had the pleasure of performing at the Jammin Java in Vienna, Virginia. This is a great listening room with a great concert vibe. We did a fundraiser for the Virginia Music Adventures which is a musical organization that tours young musicians all around the world. Jeff Cummins does an amazing job of providing this unique opportunity to so many young up & coming musicians. JM Randalls & Blue 5 also in Virginia were also great shows. We also did a show at the Lakeview Lodge in Lawrenceville , Pennsylvania. I suggested to Dexter the owner of the Lakeview to put on a festival in August. The views from the lodge over looking a large lake are spectacular and would be the perfect spot for a summer festival. Bobbi gave Dexter a few phone numbers of some of our good musician friends and within half an hour , Dexter had the whole lineup booked for Sunday August 23. So make sure you mark your calendars, because this will be a great day.

Our shows at Tullys, The Dinosaur BBQs & the Lafayette Tap Room were a lot of fun as per usual. We performed at The Thunderbird Café in Pittsburgh, another new club for us. The Thunderbird Café is a really nice club with great sound and a relaxed atmosphere- we definitely plan to hit this club again before the end of the year. A new Michigan club for us was the The Livery in Benton Harbor. This is an excellent micro brewery. The beer is just superb!!!!! Plus a great listening room- another good find for us. The last week of February was spent at the Carter Middle School in Clio, Michigan. Bobbi, Marc & I taught classroom didgeridoo, and didgeridoo painting to the band students of the school. We also did two shows in the gymnasium for the whole school the next day with the whole band. It was a trip. I ended up on two Television stations plus several stories in the local papers. I think we were a hit!!!

Our show at the Kalamazoo State Theatre in Michigan was incredible. Such a beautiful building with ornate furnishings, large balcony and seating for about 500 plus. It was part of the Budwieser Blues series and it was very cool to be invited to perform. Rubes in Flint, Michigan was also a packed house. The first week of March we began our annual tour to the West Coast. We hit BBs, in St Louis & Cartoons in Springfield , Missouri along the way. That weekend we did a house warming party for our dear friends Richard & Michelle Sukup in Hico , Texas. They have a stunning hacienda style house on 75 acres. We had a wild weekend of horse riding & shooting. Richard had two large horse trailers of 8 horses brought in for the Saturday and on Sunday we had an incredible day of shooting targets and clay pigeons. Don’t worry no critters were hurt. It was the complete western experience. We wore cowboy hats & boots and roasted steaks out on the open fire while listening to the coyotes howl. What a weekend!

March will see us heading to Colorado, Utah, Washington, California, Vancouver, Canada and Arizona. We hope to see all our West Coast fans in the next few weeks.

Peace & Safe Journey,

Harper & Midwest Kind

Monday, February 16, 2009

Harper Blog, February 2009

Hi Everyone,

February has been a tough month emotionally for me. The devastating fires in my home state of Victoria in Australia tore away a piece of my heart. The searing temperatures and gail force winds created Australia's worst disaster of the century with nearly 200 people killed and a horrendous loss of native animals, live stock and property. The saddest aspect of this disaster is that many of the fires were deliberately lit. I find it hard to fathom that any human being would want to wreak such havoc on so many innocent families. Forever scarring our souls and minds and the beautiful Australian landscape, that we all love so much. My heart felt sympathy goes out to all those effected. The worst is now over and now is the time to rebuild and move on with our lives the very best that we can. Thankfully my family is safe, but the fires did get very close. I am also very thankful that my favorite pub- The St Andrews Hotel in St Andrews, an area hit very hard, is still standing. So please say a prayer for our Australian brothers and sisters.

On a more positive note, our January tour here in the US went really well. It was a relief to escape the freezing temperatures of Michigan that caused the cancellation of our show at the Fire Fly Club in Ann Arbor. We enjoyed the music of "Diddley Squat" who opened for us at Knuckleheads in Kansas City. We said a little prayer for this band as they headed out in the dead of winter, for an over night drive to Denver for a show the next day. Such is the life of the touring musician. Our shows at Blues On Grand in Des Moines and Uncle Bo's in Topeka were a lot of fun. We then headed South to Tennessee for a show at Bourbon St Blues & Boogie in Nashville which was closely followed by a very cool lunchtime show at the Chattanooga State Community College. We enjoyed the warmth of Alabama with shows at Little Willies in Tuscaloosa and two shows at Brownstones in Hattiesburg. We were blown away by the number of people who had driven up from New Orleans to see us at Brownstones. I guess we need to organize some shows in that fine city very soon!!!

The last surviving juke joint in Alabama, Blues Tavern in Mobile- was a packed house. We plan to return for the tavern's owner- Randy's birthday in June.

Our drive north was a real eye opener. A powerful ice storm had hit Arkansas and Missouri. Miles upon miles of power lines were down, many power poles were snapped in two. There were also a large number of fallen trees- laden down with heavy ice, that had crushed several homes. But we made it to St Louis after a slow and arduous drive. I am happy to say that we have a new home in St Louis- BBs Jazz , Blues & Soups. If you have never been to this club, you must go. The history on the walls is a who's who's of the jazz & blues scene. It is a beautifully decorated club with great food and sound. Owner John May has been running his club for 30 years. He really made us feel welcome!

We also got to visit our good friend Betsy at Betsy's Blue Note in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Betsy's Mum - Janice passed away recently. She was a fine lady! We definitely felt her presence at our show. The Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska was a lot of fun- we will be back for the Celebrate Lincoln Festival in June. Our final show for our January tour took place at one of our favorite stops- Kirksville, Missouri - for the Journal Building. We had a packed house and the vibe was incredible.

We have a west coast tour coming up in March and a few Michigan shows coming up for the last two weeks of February.

Peace & safe journeys,

Harper & The Midwest Kind

Friday, January 16, 2009

Harper's Blog January 2009

Happy New Year !!!

I hope you all had a great holiday season. My band & I are just back from an amazing tour of Belgium, England and Wales. We almost didn't fly out of Detroit because our flight to New Jersey was cancelled. Bobbi managed to get us all on an earlier flight, so it was a mad rush to the airport. We had a great flight to London but unfortunately my didgeridoos and harps didn't make it. Our good friend Howard Graves was also with us & his bag went missing as well. It was a bit disconcerting as we had to catch the Eurostar fast train to Belgium with out our bags. We were assured that the bags were on the next flight. Actually it was a blessing in disguise as we really had too much luggage to carry and there were no trolleys. Two elderly ladies literally fell over on the escalator to the Euro star because they couldnt carry their bags. We helped them to get to the train amongst a stampede of people pushing to get to the entrance. Flying is definitely alot more civilized. Once we got to Brussels we were met by the festival director Eddy Plasquay. Eddy had hired "a large American van" to transport us to Vilvoorde - the city where the festival was to take place. Well this large American van was just a large sedan and we had six people, guitars and luggage. We literally squished into the car. It reminded me of the car crushes we used to have at school. We managed to get in 27 thirteen year olds into one car. Eddy was so frightened of getting pulled over by the cops that he took all the back roads to Vilvoorde - so we had to endure about an hour of been squashed.

We had a great time in Belgium & thankfully the didgeridoos turned up on the day of the festival. The Pjeire Blues Festival was held in the grandiose stables of a bankrupt aristocrat. It was a great night to experience. We had an amazing show and I was invited to jam with Javier Vargas and the Vargas Blues Band from Spain. Later we found out exactly what the word "Pjeire"mean't. It is a slang word for 'horse eaters". So we performed at a horse eaters blues festival!!!! Apparently horse meat is considered quite a delicacy in Vivoorde and Eddy wanted to take us to a horse meat restaurant. Everyone was hyped up to eat horse, except Bobbi who is a big horse lover. We arrived too late at the restaurant after our show at Crossroads Cafe. Everyone except Bobbi, was disappointed. On one of our off days Bobbi, Mike, Howard and I visited Paris, while Marc & Ralph went to Amsterdam. Paris was freezing, but we managed to see quite alot in one day. Our friend Howard was on a spiritual pilgrimage for his wife Holly who passed suddenly in September. He poured her ashes into the river Seine just across from the Eiffel Tower. It was a very poignant moment- one I will never forget.

After another ride on the Eurostar to London, we arrived in England for a week of shows. The UK was very warm compared to Belgium. Our shows at The Cellars in Southsea, The Musician in Leicester and The Green Room in Macclesfield went really well. Worthenbury Hall in Wales was amazing. It is such a beautiful country that has retained its cultural identity. It was so nice to catch up with the many friends we had made in 2007 on our first trip. In Liverpool we did the Beatles tour at The Kasbah- the very first place the Beatles performed. Rory Best (brother of Pete Best) was our tour guide and his early stories of the Beatles just about blew us away. That evening we played to a packed house at Foghertys. It was a fun week and we plan to tour the UK again in late August and September.

We flew back to Chicago on December 22 then took the short flight to Detroit. Well this time we all lost our bags thanks to Northwest Airlines. Detroit airport was in disarray , there had to be at least 1000 delayed bags just sitting at baggage claim. After 2 hours we got out of the airport then drove back to Grass Lake to find our house snowed in. We stumbled through two feet of snow to get to the front door. Then we spent the next hour and a half digging Marc & Mike's car out of the snow. What a night.!!!

After nine anxious days I received my four foot long bag containing the didgeridoos & harps. Wooohoooo!! With a new year we have a new beginning. We welcome GT from Flint, Michigan as our new bass player. We wish Ralph all the best best for the upcoming birth of his new son.

We wish you all the very best for 2009. May it be a year of peace, prosperity, joy and inspiration for us all.

Peace, Harper, Bobbi, Marc, Mike & Ralph & new bass player GT (Official Harper Website) (for CD down loads) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

December Newsblog

Hey Everyone,

November saw the election of Barrack Obama here in the US. It was truly a historical and inspirational day. Congratulations to all those voters, regardless of political persuasion, who got out to vote.

We had alot of festivals to do in October. The Roots n Blues n BBQ festival in Columbia, Missouri was beyond huge- there had to be over 100 000 people attending. Incredible weather and a multi stage, multi artist festival- it was very cool to be apart of. We saw Bettye Lavette, Buddy Guy, Tab Benoit and many many more. Columbia is a very unique college town full of art and music, I really hope I get to visit it again soon.

The Pleasure Island Seafood Jazz & Blues Fest in North Carolina was one WET festival. We were really surprised that we got to play. The festival director had told us that we probably wouldnt perform but we went to the festival grounds anyway. Low & behold, the music was jammin, a fairly decent crowd in wet weather gear & umbrellas fronted the stage and all was a go. Johnny & Edgar Winter were the head liners that night & I guess people really wanted to see this legendary act. The wind was howling and the rain was pelting down, but the folks of North Carolina hang in there and they got to see the Winter brothers perform.

The following week the band & I took part in the outreach program of the LEAF festival. We did a didgeridoo workshop / presentation to the Black Mountain Elementary School, North Carolina. We followed up the next day with Aboriginal art, dance and the making of didgeridoos. It was a lot of fun. We also performed at the LEAF festival that weekend. And what a beautiful location, surrounded by mountains and a good sized lake. The weather was warm but absolutely freezing at night and when youre on an out door stage, you really feel it. This was a really cool festival with amazing diversity of music. Then we headed to PA, NY , MA & Maine for shows at Tully's, The Dinosaur BBQs, Harry's, Inn on the Blues and our favorite Halloween party- The Time Out Pub in Rockland. We also did a Halloween party on the Oct 31 at Rubes in Michigan & got to see some amazing costumes. We also visited our favorite home gig at The Fire Fly in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In November we headed south to Florida, Alabama and Mississippi for the incredible River Hawk Music Festival. River Hawk was alot of fun. Some really great music was heard and the vibe was friendly and relaxed. We hung out after our show by a warm fire and listened to some acoustic bluegrass jammers.

In December we have our first tour of Belgium coming up with an addtional tour to England and Wales. The session we recorded at the BBC Radio 2, London - "The Paul Jones Show" in May will be aired on Monday December 8

We hope to see you out on the road this Winter

Harper & Midwest Kind (Official Harper Website) (for CD down loads) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads)