Saturday, October 13, 2012

Erin Harpe's Blues Roots

The following review appeared in the June 2003 DC Blues Calendar, although I have made some stylistic changes. I have know Erin Harpe's father, Neil Harpe for about twenty-five years through his association with the DC Blues Society and his performances with Rick Franklin and Rick Usilton among others. His daughter Erin recorded the marvelous album discussed below and continues to perform, fronting Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers as well as continuing to perform with Lovewhip. Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers won the Boston Blues Society's challenge in 2010 and were semi-finalists at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge. This CD is still available as a CD or as a download. Erin's website,, states they are working on an album which I will be among many eagarly awaiting.

Maybe its in the genes, but Erin Harpe, daughter of longtime Washington DC area bluesman, Neil Harpe, has produced a wonderful album of acoustic blues, Blues Roots. The disc is on Juicy Juju Records, the label that Lovewhip, the Boston-based world pop band she also fronts, records for. 

Erin displays considerable command of a wide range of blues including songs associated with MemphisMinnie (Chauffeur Blues and In My Girlish Days), Tommy Johnson (Bye and Bye Blues and Big Road Blues), Bessie Smith (Alligator Blues), Willie Brown (Future Blues) and others. She plays a strong, percussive-tinged guitar that suits these songs perfectly but also able to nimbly fingerpick on a Blind Blake number, You Gonna Quit Me. She delivers her vocals with a strong, straightforward and natural delivery that is quite appealing that is reminiscent of longtime D.C. area blueswoman, Eleanor Ellis, who is credited with the closing Stop and Listen Blues

This is a fine debut album of traditional country blues that is available through cdbaby and can also be accessed through Lovewhip’s website,

Here is Erin performing Big Road Blues.

No comments: