Deak Harp: Living and Loving the Blues
What: one-man blues-band showcase
“I’m not a phony,” Deak Harp told Nightlife. “I have seen the blues.”
Harp brings it, and he brings it hard, but there is something therapeutic about recalling about the days of down-and-out luck.
“Well, you wind up not going in the direction that your parents want you to go, and you never know what is going to happen to a fellow who doesn’t have a job or anything,” Harp said. “That is where the blues come in.”
Harp headlines a spectacular blues showcase Saturday, March 16 at Tres Hombres. Along for the ride are local blues legend Richard “Rip Lee” Pryor and frequently employed local blues musician Billy Dan Langley. All three will perform their one-man-band acts. If the audience is lucky, the three will jam together.
Harp was a just a kid when he was first turned on to the blues. He picked up the harmonica at age twelve, inspired to play after watching a classmate. In the 1980s he became a roadie for harmonica master James Cotton, who played with Muddy Waters and had become a legend in his own right. Whenever he wasn’t on the road with Cotton, Harp booked his own shows.
Not everything came so easily, and Harp soon learned that playing professionally would be a hard road to travel.
“I speak about all the time these things happened to me,” he said. “Most of the shows are all originals, maybe just one cover. I sing about how my life was. Drinking and living out of my truck. I followed my dream. I moved to Chicago and took everything I owned and put it in my truck, just to be near Chicago, where all the stuff happens.”
The opportunity to play the blues acts as a chance for him to reflect on everything that he has lived through and how he ended up on that very stage.
“It’s a great release,” he said. “You remember everything that has happened to you, everything that you have gone through.”
At the Tres Hombres show, Harp said prereleased copies of his latest CD will be available. He said his new album features a north Mississippi-hills style of blues.
Harp said he is particularly looking forward to the Carbondale show for the chance to play with Rip Lee, the son of blues harmonica legend Snooky Pryor.
“I’ve heard his dad play in the 1990s, and he was amazing,” Harp said. “And Rip is just as good as his dad was. It is going to be a great show.”
A lifetime of living and loving the blues has made Harp the man and the musician that he is today. He will soon embark on a new journey, this time picking up and moving south to Clarksdale, Mississippi, to be geographically closer to the new blues sound he is attempting to hone. He also has plans to set up a custom harmonica business.
Looking back, Harp has no regrets and admits he would likely live the same way if he had the chance to do it all over again.
“Maybe a few things I’d change,” he said. “But I’d still be playing the blues.”
For more information about Harp, log on to <http://www.DeakHarpBlues.com>.
who: Deak Harp / Rip Lee Pryor / Billy Dan Langley (blues showcase)
what: one-man blues-band showcase
where: Tres Hombres
when: Saturday, March 16