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Corey Harris

Corey Harris has earned substantial critical acclaim as one of the few contemporary bluesmen able to channel the raw, direct emotion of acoustic Delta blues without coming off as an authenticity-obsessed historian. Although he is well versed in the early history of blues guitar, he's no well-mannered preservationist, mixing a considerable variety of influences -- from New Orleans to the Caribbean to Africa -- into his richly expressive music. In doing so, he's managed to appeal to a wide spectrum of blues fans, from staunch traditionalists to more contemporary sensibilities.

Harris was born in Denver, CO, on February 21, 1969, and began playing guitar at age 12, when he fell in love with his mother's Lightnin' Hopkins records. He played in a rock & roll band in high school, as well as the marching band, and developed his singing abilities in church. Through Bates College in Maine (where he majored in anthropology), Harris traveled to Cameroon to study African linguistics and returned there on a post-graduate fellowship; during his time there, he soaked up as much African music as possible, entranced by its complex polyrhythms. After returning to the U.S., Harris taught English and French in Napoleonville, LA, and during his spare time he played the clubs, coffeehouses, and street corners of nearby New Orleans. His local reputation eventually earned him a deal with Alligator. In 1995, Alligator released Harris' debut album, Between Midnight and Day, a one-man, one-guitar affair that illustrated his mastery of numerous variations on the Delta blues style. The record won rave reviews and even some mainstream media attention, marking Harris as an exciting new presence on the blues scene; it also earned him an opening slot on tour with ex-10,000 Maniacs singer Natalie Merchant.

Harris followed it up with Fish Ain't Bitin' in 1997, a record that began to expand his style by adding a New Orleans-style brass section on several tracks, while emphasizing his own original compositions to a much greater degree. The next year, Harris was invited to participate in the Billy Bragg/Wilco collaboration Mermaid Avenue, which set a selection of unfinished Woody Guthrie songs to music; Harris played guitar and contributed bluesy backup vocals to several tunes. In 1999, Harris released what most critics called his strongest work to date, Greens from the Garden; hailed as a landmark in some quarters, the record delved deeper into New Orleans funk and R&B, while recasting its covers in surprising but effective new contexts (even reggae and hip-hop). The result was a kaleidoscope of black musical styles that earned Harris even more widespread attention than his debut. Veteran pianist Henry Butler appeared on the record, and for the follow-up, Harris recorded an entire album in tandem with Butler; issued in 2000, Vu-Du Menz updated several different strains of early jazz and blues.

Harris subsequently left Alligator for Rounder, and debuted for his new label in 2002 with Downhome Sophisticate, a typically eclectic outing that explored his African influences and added Latin music to his seemingly endless sonic palette. Two more albums followed on Rounder, the marvelous Mississippi to Mali in 2003 and Daily Bread in 2005. Ever the musical explorer, Harris turned to Jamaica and roots reggae for the template on his next album, Zion Crossroads, which was released in 2007 on Telarc Records. A second Telarc album, Blu. Black, appeared in 2009 and found Harris continuing to be fascinated by Jamaican music. ~ Steve Huey & Steve Leggett, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

good stuff
Grits 'n fry-bread blues. Tasty.
A truly enriched expression, of one's god given talent, finding it's way to inspire us to be more, and yes even the poor...
On It Hurts Me Too, nobody bends a note like Corey Harris. This is what the blues is all about. (Cee Rex)
sweet
gator dammmm thats good
jeanjacque2
fantastic!
I like the vesatility of this artist. he can play ANYTHING!!
jonesartist
WOW!What a cool path he's travled in becoming whoe he is and what he has to share- tune-a-lishi o u s !
higher heights rasta vibes
wow
MMMmmmm-mmmm m m - m m m m m m m m m m m m m !
skmac6
I LIke a LOt!
brandonaldin h o
Denver in the house...
rabysanfo
I love it, love it, love, itlove it
bill5257
He Is a Truly "A Channel" Music as Medicine... Mississippi to Mali is a masterpiece
Beautiful, wide-ranging , unique, personal, skillful musicianship (i.e. "art") that is not trying to repeat the past. Check out his other albums with their other African-root e d styles...oka y , Mike Howell?
Just saw him less than twenty minutes ago. Masterful!
Great person/music i a n
this guy is absoultly incredible. i m buying it now.
I like him.
I don't want to ever hear another song by this artist,,, I hate his style,, thank you.... Mike Howell
godd chill music. keep om jammin man!!
bigomaha87
this guy mixes a lot of different sounds and its great
this guy deserves more reviews than this! i love his music and what he mixes to make it the unique Corey Harris sound. Awesome music.
flexjam
Like this CD... good music

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