On more than one occasion I have listened to music that leaves me scratching my head wondering how said music can be so popular. On the other end of the scale I have also been left pondering as to why a musician that writes and sings incredible songs does not receive more attention. David Ryan Harris is one of those singer/songwriters that should be on the tip of everybody’s tongue. His career is filled with beautifully written loves songs, bad ass rockers and deep soul tunes that would have classic crooners applauding. Wednesday night he was back in Atlanta treating all of us who were smart enough to be there to a night of incredible music at Smith’s Olde Bar.
There was no fanfare and no big introduction as David Ryan Harris (DRH) just casually walked out on stage said hello and started playing music. His set list was full of new material from his upcoming album which sounded incredible. Covering subjects that are familiar to him the new material was received as if they were old classics, and when he sang the song he wrote for his mom, I am pretty sure every female in the audience was crying. Perfectly dispersed throughout the new material were the tunes everyone there knew and loved. As he played “Good Thing” and “Turn Around” folks were singing along and in some instances providing the chorus and backing vocals. He broke out the extended jam on “Pretty Girl” veering from the song into a medley full of teases from songs by the likes of Sam Cook, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Marvin Gaye, Prince and even the Divinyls. I am pretty sure I missed some. When the night came to a close the people in attendance had been treated to one damn fine night of music.
What makes DRH’s shows a must see entity is the intimacy. He talks frankly with the audience explaining his mind set when writing songs or telling stories about the songs in general. In addition to that, when he sings he is inviting the listener into his head as he expresses his emotions and feelings about people, places and events that are close to him. There were no special effects, no backing band or any special guests, just DRH and his guitar. Speaking of his guitar, his songwriting sometimes over shadows how good of a player he is and last night DRH made his acoustic guitar do things that most men could only imagine.
The night began with Shawn Spencer of local favorites Seven Handle Circus (7HC). Helming the mic with his guitar he delivered a set of original Americana/folk infused tunes that stepped away from the bluegrass rock of 7HC. He won over the people that got there early as he belted out his tunes. Included in the mix was a sweet cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Only Living Boy In New York”. Spencer’s performance was a departure from the high energy live shows 7HC are known for but it was every bit as powerful.
While normally a night to chill at home, catch up on the DVR or get plans ironed out for the upcoming weekend, this past Wednesday night was anything but. With David Ryan Harris at Smith’s Olde Bar it was the perfect night to get out of the house and enjoy some damn good music.