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Now we know: Robert Harrison talks new album
By John Hubner
Fort Wayne Reader
It wasn't long ago we talked to our good friend and singer/songwriter extraordinaire Robert Harrison. At the time he'd been working on songs for a new album. Well that new album is here, and it's called Now I Know.
Like the man, the album is sincere, earnest, and full of heart. Harrison mixes things up between acoustic strummers and more rocking fare(like the excellent "Blind".) A mix of influences bubble to the surface on the album, but all are put through Robert Harrison's filter giving them a very unique vibe.
I recently caught up with Robert and we talked about Now I Know and how the album came together.
J. Hubner: So what have you been up to since we last spoke Robert?
Robert Harrison: Last time we spoke I had just finished up a five day tour. I started out in Indiana at Fort Wayne's premiere house venue Bob Vila's This Old House and ventured over into parts of Ohio to promote my newest album Now I Know. This was my first time going on tour without a traveling companion so it was a little out of my comfort zone, but I had a great time meeting new people and exploring new places. I took a short break over the winter months but now that itís starting to warm up again I have been playing out more.
J. Hubner: How long have you been working on Now I Know?
Robert Harrison: Now I Know had been in the works since the release of Limits in 2014. I had been playing two of the songs off the album at shows regularly for a while but had not yet gotten around to recording them. I knew that my next release had to top my previous one so I wanted to go big. Thatís when I realized Iíd need to record it as a full band.
J. Hubner: So what are some of the recording details? Where did you record at?
Robert Harrison: Well, I dabbled with introducing more instruments into my music on the split I released with Forget The Tiger, but that was just the start. I wanted drums on each song, multiple guitar melodies and of course rockiní guitar solos! (shreds air guitar). However, seeing as I only owned one guitar at the time I decided to reach out to my dear friend Ian Skeans, the guitarist and vocalist of the bands Pink Balloon Band and Shade. Over the course of the next few months Ian and I would meet in his attic in Warsaw, cook delicious meals, drink Hammís Special Light and work on the tracks you hear on the album today. I think we both learned a lot about recording during this entire process. The saying ďWhy do I DIY DI?Ē was thrown around numerous times because of the difficulties we had initially with recording the electric guitars when using a direct input box. There were even moments where we started picking up local radio broadcasts when connected to certain channels! After getting through those hiccups I laid down the guitar parts for the album and Ian guest starred on a few of the tracks with his bass guitar. The drums were produced by Robert Lugo at DBB Records where the album was also mixed and mastered.
J. Hubner: Songwriting-wise, are you approaching writing the same way you did on 2014s Limits?
Robert Harrison: I believe so. A lot of my song writing inspiration comes from personal experiences and this entire album is nothing but that.
J. Hubner: Let's talk a little bit about the songs. Where are you pulling inspiration from?
Robert Harrison: The inspiration for this album was definitely heartbreak. Heartbreak with a dash of feeling lost in the world. I was at a point in my life where I just felt that everything was out of control and writing these songs was the only thing that kept me grounded. I think almost everyone has been through some sort of loss in their life at least once and thatís what this album takes you through. Look up the five stages of grief and as you listen to the album I bet youíll be able to follow along.
J. Hubner: You recently took part in the RSD activities and played at Wooden Nickel on Record Store Day. How was that experience?
Robert Harrison: I have been playing RSD at Wooden Nickel for the past 4 years now and I always have a great time! Bob Roets is a great guy and has a wonderful staff on hand there. Itís always a little strange playing music at 8am but thereís plenty of people shopping to get the nerves going. And you canít beat those homemade cookies and fresh coffee! Morrison over at Neat Neat Neat Records also has live music playing throughout the day. Itís great to see the community come together to support local record stores and I am always proud to be a part of it.
J. Hubner: Where else have you played out recently? Are there any upcoming shows we need to know about?
Robert Harrison: I have mostly been sticking to the Fort Wayne area, but I did play a show a few months ago at The Well in South Bend. I donít have any shows currently booked but information about shows can always be found on my website.
J. Hubner: Do you have songs in the can that you didn't release on 'Now I Know'? Are you always writing?
Robert Harrison: I think every writer always has a few songs on standby. There are countless notebooks in my room filled with a few lines here and there or even entire songs that just wont be released. Me personally, Iíll sometimes hold on to finished songs for months before I play them live for anyone else. I have countless recordings on my phone of demos that will probably never be heard, but sometimes a song isnít meant to be shared.
J. Hubner: What's the rest of 2016 look like for Robert Harrison?
Robert Harrison: 2016 is going to be big so be vigilant. Robert Harrison full band has started to grow legs and will be stomping around the Fort very soon!
Is that a threat or a promise? Follow Robert at facebook.com/robertharrisonmusic and at acousticrob.wordpress.com and find out.