Straight out of the golden gates of San Francisco, Bob Harp is reviving the spirit of alt-country/Americana with his second full-length album, Collecting Dust. Independently releasing on July 21, 2009, Collecting Dust is a heartbreakingly melodic journey through the heart and soul of American folk music.

 

A regular on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene for the past six years, Harp plays acoustic, electric, and 12-string guitar, as well as harmonica. He cites artists like Roy Buchanan, Allman Brothers Band, Bobby Womack, Van Morrison and Donny Hathaway among his influences; the real rootsy rock ‘n roll and soul of the late 60s and early 70s are ever-present in Harp’s own music. “The most important thing is that the history of each old record is something you can feel, and that soulful music’s effect on me is ultimately the same kind of timeless feeling that I want to rub off on people,” says Harp.

 

After working at an independent record store for three years, Harp not only picked up an addiction to vinyl, but his music knowledge expanded and provided an accessible outlet to quick answers about where he was going with his career. He found a channel to his creativity and in 2005 independently released his first full-length, Good Misery. Tom Chandler of KUSF 90.3FM San Francisco said of Harp: “A talented songwriter steeped in the work of early Dylan, Guthrie and the whole California country rock tradition.”

 

On Collecting Dust there is no shortage of feelings that Harp indulges his audience in. Writing many of his songs over the past few years and during a lonesome road trip through the southwest where he experienced the brunt and beauty of America’s warm desert plains, Harp’s songs have a certain subtlety of emotion that is almost bittersweet or painstakingly beautiful. You can detect a slightly hidden copy of On The Road within the album art, paying homage to another weary traveler, Jack Kerouac. “Through the Door,” one of Harp’s favorite and first written songs for the album, depicts a cynical scenario but put to an upbeat tempo, giving the storyline a humorous edge.

 

One Thousand Ways” was the first song Harp recorded for Collecting Dust and is a bittersweet ballad that features Jordan Feinstein on piano and bass. Although his writing style is known for its moody, twisted approach to love and relationships, Bob Harp plays with a passion and raw talent that revives all the integral ideas of folk and Americana. Collecting Dust projects a simple yet absorbing feeling of warmth from beginning to end.

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