The melodic, rousing country songs of JP Harris and The Tough Choices will be heard at the Dolores River Brewery on Dec. 6. There is a $5 cover.
Harris’ lyrics weave interesting stories that blend nicely with his jamming guitar playing and pleasant singing voice. A full band kicks in additional energy.
The back story of the energetic, honky-tonk showman with a long beard even sounds like a country song: Born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1983 and left on a Greyhound bus at age 14 to live the rambling life, paycheck to paycheck.
In between he’s written 32 original songs. And for the past decade, he has been performing country music and making albums with the band, who are in the middle of a Western U.S. tavern tour.
“What you will notice is we crank it up and really play full tilt,” said Harris in an interview with The Journal. “We don’t sit quietly in the corner. We’re a country band with a rock-n-roll attitude.”
He still sees himself “as a carpenter who writes country songs.” For inspiration and work, “he traveled the country hitchhiking and hopping freight trains while making a living as a farm laborer, shepherd and carpenter.”
And he’s not about to quit his day jobs, because it’s who he is, and inspires the songwriting.
“Something about the trades that are a part of me. I’ve been a logger, I build instruments, and fix up historic houses properly. It keeps me grounded, keeps me honest. That I’m a regular working dude is why I got into country music in the first place.”
Harris’ third full-length album, “Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing” was selected at Country Album of The Year by the Independent Music Awards in 2018. It also made Past Magazine’s Top 100 albums of the year.
Harris is proud of the album because he stayed firm within his country roots, but in a creative way that mixes in a dash of rock and some soul.
“The trend with a lot of country bands is to drift off into the Americana sound, but I wanted to avoid that. The songs stretch the boundaries of classic country, but stay true to the category.”
Harris loves to banter between songs to give the audience the stories behind them.
“We have fun joke around, tell stores try to engage the crowd. We’ll play hard to get folks on the dance floor, but you don’t have to know how to two-step, just join in and the energy goes up.”
This is a return trip for the band.
“After five years since appearing in Dolores, JP is back and swinging like the staggering genuine article he is,” says brewery music producer Aaron Lemay. “Come love some Honky Tonk.”
If you wanna dance, cry in your drink, or if you like scruffy fellas in tight jeans, this band fits the bill.