Kemp Harris

Sometimes in Bad Weather

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Though Kemp Harris' name may lack wide recognition, he has contributed to the work of a number of artists ranging from Koko Taylor to Taj Mahal. While these influences might suggest a proclivity to blues, Harris works on a larger canvas on Sometimes in Bad Weather, embracing jazz, soul, and folk. Whereas "Waterbaby" gives the impression of a smooth crooner, the next track -- "Something You Heard Before" -- relies on worldbeat rhythms and a chorus of background singers. A saxophone opens the sexy, jazzy "It's Just Us," a song highlighted by Lydia Harrell's harmony. Harris reveals his social consciousness on "Ruthie's," a song noting the hypocrisy of those who profess belief in God and family values but reject those different from them, and "If Loneliness Was Black," a piece he wrote for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. All of these songs are wrapped in attractive, full arrangements, featuring guitar, piano, bass, and percussion, offering just the right touch to underline Harris' vocals. Sometimes in Bad Weather also succeeds by altering the mood and tone from track to track, keeping the listener's ears perked for the next selection. All of the songs have been written or co-written by Harris, and the material is consistent for the length of the album. Sometimes in Bad Weather finds an artist stepping out front to create a warm, soulful sound.

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