Record Review: Big Harp

Big Harp
White Hat
Los Angeles, CA

“A laid-back, compelling piece of Americana”

It’s not always true that haste makes waste. For proof, look no further than White Hat, the debut output from Los Angeles by-way-of Valentine, Nebraska trio Big Harp. Recorded in just three days, the final product is a little like its frenzied process: never rushed, but rather an intricate, laid-back and compelling piece of Americana storytelling.

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Big Harp – “Everybody Pays” by performermag

Husband and wife duo Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney are the perfect pair for this project. Chris dutifully plods through gritty narratives akin to Justin Townes Earle, Nick Cave and Lyle Lovett, while Stefanie puts forth her veteran instrumental skills from work with The Good Life, She & Him and Bright Eyes (all bands equally versed in the “less is more” mantra on which this music thrives).

The backbone of Big Harp is in the story – and the story is something they handle quite well, particularly on standout tracks “Everybody Pays” and “Goodbye Crazy City.” The arrangements are solid, always the perfect complement to their narrative without ever becoming overly intrusive. Yet, White Hat finds its strongest stride when stripped even further (essentially becoming a Chris Senseney solo record). “Some Old World I Used To Know” and “Oh Nadine” are arguably the most powerful tracks, despite showcasing the least instrumentation.

Big Harp has flexed their storytelling muscles on this stellar debut – and their story is one of which you should take notice. (Saddle Creek)

Recorded by Pierre de Reader at Nightingale Studios, Los Angeles

Drums recorded by Chris Phillips

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