aaaaaand exhale.

That’s what they say at the yoga studio where I go sometimes. They have free yoga on certain days. It’s the same studio where Alec Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria Thomas, teaches. Hilaria started saying “inhale….. aaaaaaand exhale,” and all her fellow yoga instructors thought it sounded pretty good so now they say it too. Except the one teacher I like pronounces it “axhale,” Which isn’t extremely relaxing (but she’s still a great teacher). I can never do the poses. Once I thought the teacher said “awkward facing dog,” and I thought “finally, a pose I can do.” Sometimes I fall asleep and once I even started snoring, until I was awoken by the tittering of my fellow yoga students. anyway…

After about 2000 miles of careening around the country going from concert to concert in a rented minivan full of tightly packed gear, vinyl records, and an assortment of bandmates and one bandmate’s lovely wife, I’ve hit a lull, wherein I’m hanging out all by my lonesome in a lovely green leafy backyard full of little yellow birds and flowers-whose-names-I-don’t-know-the-names-of exploding in color. My only companions for the next few days will be two big slobbery dogs and whoever accepts my invitation to get together for dinner. There are no miles to drive, no tolls to scrape change together for, no starbucks runs, no gear to set up or tear down, no charts to correct, and no gigs to play, (until this Saturday). So I’m breathing a bit.

(But only a bit. I’m also tryin’ to get some publications to review the record, and trying to get folks to come see us in Boston and Carrboro. That’s the thing about this line of work. There’s *always* too much to do.)

Ok, and since I haven’t officially said it, *THANK YOU!!!!* to all the lovely people who hosted my bandmates and me over the last 2.5 weeks, for feeding us, housing us, and being so generous. Thanks to everyone who came to see us play, hung out, donated generously in the tip bucket, and bought records. Thanks to Toby, Paul, Gerko and Rachelle, for playing and traveling with me, doing sound, lugging gear, making schedules, making profit-and-loss spreadsheets, handling merch like a boss (Rachelle), and putting up with me when I misplaced the car keys. Thanks to Blake Gingerich and Tonieh Ellis for filming me a bunch (curious to see how that turns out) and making me feel like L.L. Cool J. Thanks to the Hazletts for awesome digs and hang time in Amish OH. Thanks to Joans Sr and Jr for awesome digs on Lake MI, the Yawgers for lovely digs in PA, and the Dill/Marsters for lovely digs in MA. Thanks to the fans for wanting to take pics with me and, again, making me feel like L.L. Cool J. I don’t have time or space to thank everyone who made me feel like L.L. Cool J, cause it was a lot of people. Thanks to each of the 7 people in Camp Hill who told me, throughout the morning, not to forget my guitar. I remembered it. xoxoxo Jason

(there are more tour dates to come, in NH, Boston, Carrboro, NC, DC, VA, and Atlanta. please come see us! And, if you like, preorder the new record, officially being released in August).






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I praise.

I’m raw. I went to church Sunday and bawled my eyes out. Tears of gratitude, release, relief, joy, and, probably, some fear. oh yeah that fear always creeps in, somehow. But let’s talk about the joy. I love singing. It’s my favorite thing, just to praise. Like that poem of Rilke’s where every line ends in “I praise.” (“Ich rühme,” — praise, celebrate, glory, or boast). Yes, I glory. Like a bird, who cannot contain his exuberance, praise and joy are tumbling upwards out of me. I’m doing what I was engineered to do, and getting better at it. There’s nothing better than making music with people you love and trust, and I had forgotten that. I played solo for so long (and I do love playing solo still). I lived solo too. In fact I still live, pretty much, solo. Alone. I feel my soul longing for connection, for love, for fun, for touch. I drank. I got so gone, I got so wrong. It’s fun. It’s fun to take one swallow after another of gorgeous amber bourbon and feel it flowing down and out into you, ok? and then to feel your body become a big, numb mass, through which a buzz can course. To feel and act, briefly, free and beautiful. But one day I got scared. Seriously scared, about the amount I was drinking. I looked in the mirror and looked old and worn to myself.

But wait this is becoming about fear again. Let’s go back to joy. God let me remember that I love making music with people I love (in this case, Toby Hazlett, Gerko Tempelman, and Paul Phillips). And in response, I praise. Last night I emailed a woman and told her I had a crush on her. I’ve hung out with her maybe 4 or 5 times, never had a real conversation. I saw her praying Sunday, in stillness and devotion, with her whole being. It was a beautiful thing and it moved me and I emailed her and told her so, spilling my heart like I used to when I was 16. Today I woke up and felt a wave of regret. Oh man what have I done. Did I go too far? It’s the same feeling I used to have after a night (or day) of drinking. But I wasn’t drunk when I wrote her. Only tired, happy, and raw. It was just the praise, tumbling out.

“Praise, my dear one.
Let us disappear into praising.
Nothing belongs to us.”

–Ranier Maria Rilke,
(From Elegy to Marina Tsvetayeva-Efron)

Backyard Concert Geneva, IL – guestblog

We are continuing the series of guestblogs with this one by Brian Porick, who came out to see us in Geneva, IL. Thanks Brian!


‘I had the privilege of catching Jason Harrod play a backyard concert in Geneva, IL thanks to our gracious hosts, David Jennings and his family.  This was a rare opportunity to see Jason play with a rhythm section, something that I’ve never seen in over fifteen years of attending his live performances.  Drummer Gerko Tempelman and bassist Toby Hazlet adequately supported Jason, although it seemed as if both guys were still in the process of learning Jason’s tunes since they tended to lean on simpler patterns (which is understandable this early in the tour.  I’m hoping for the sake of the hard core fans that Toby can make it a goal to pull off the amazing bass riff from the second verse of the recorded version of “Siren Song.”)

Fans were treated to just shy of twenty tunes over two hours, a nice mix of classics (“Waiting on My Day”, “Siobhan”, and “Carolina”) and songs off Jason’s new record, “Highliner.”

Speaking of the record, it is more of a musical descendant of Jason’s Americana-heavy “Living in Skin” than the most recent “Bright As You” album, with its Nashville polish.  Here you find eleven tracks that are largely up-tempo yet lean harder on folk forms and arrangements.  However, instead of being strictly two-step rhythm section treatments, the album blooms (especially in its back half) with tasteful strings and woodwind support, adding a lushness that no previous Jason Harrod release has achieved.  Even long-time tour novelty song “Nemo Incognito” gets its appropriate treatment with its grooving tempo against a fantastic 60’s TV theme song string arrangement, managing to sit nicely alongside folkier fare such as “When I Came Down Off the Mountain” and “One of These Days.”  This album is full of top-drawer Jason Harrod songwriting while also moving his recorded sound forward, and will be an enjoyable listen for newcomers as well as old-timers.’

Brian Porick.
Photos by Brian Porick
Click here to preorder Highliner,and to download a free track.


Shows in Millersburg OH, Madison, WI – guestblog

Here’s a post by Gerko Tempelman, guestblogger and drummer in the Jason Harrod Highliner Pre-Release Tour band:

It’s hard to imagine a bigger contrast than the two latest shows on this Highliner Pre-Release Tour. We went from an intimate house concert, generously hosted by the Hazlett family in beautiful rural Millersburg Ohio, to a backyard concert in a pretty neighborhood in the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin.

The unifying factor was Jason’s music that took us, (that is: Toby, the bassist, my wife and me, the drummer) on this musical journey through the country. On that journey, we met up with a wide variety of people, that traveled up to 2,5 hours to come and listen to Jason’s performance and to buy his new record.

As Kaitlin Vosswinkel described the concert in Madison: ‘It really felt like summer at Jason’s backyard performance. Between a cold beer and amazing live music, it was the nicest night out.’

For me personally, it’s a great experience to hear the life stories of people being linked to Jason’s musical travelog and as a band, to connect that blend of stories in the performance of Jason’s journeying songs.

As Zedrich Clark, our first Vinyl buyer(!) in Millersburg reported: ‘My wife and I loved seeing Jason live and hearing the stories of his inspiration for certain songs. (…) his simple, yet universal words resonate on many different levels of the spirit’.

Also, here’s a great description of Jason’s music by Neal Brian Patel who came to Madison: ‘I keep coming back for more because Jason’s music always follows the same winning recipe:  3 parts brutally honest grappling with the struggles of human experience, 2 parts undimmed hope of redemption, and a generous pinch of humor to taste.  Then mix it all up with Jason’s unique brooding vocal qualities and his diverse guitar skills and you have a great combination.

Click here for photos

Click here for a free download of the new album Highliner

Irwin, PA – guestblog

My friend Rachelle came upon the idea of having some guest bloggers share their impressions of our shows out on the road.  Bryan Perry was nice enough to share this write-up of our first show on the tour, at the lovely Morris Organic Farm in Irwin, PA:

My friends and family loved hearing Jason and his band at the Morris Farm outside Pittsburgh. Sitting among fireflies at the edge of rolling hills, you’d have though we were in Jason’s native North Carolina once he started his set.

He played extensively from his wonderful new album, Highliner, a collection of wistful originals that shape his current geography of longing, love, and journeying. Jason’s musicianship is excellent as ever – sometimes delicate, sometimes driving, always effortless – and seeing him in the flesh is a treat.

I especially liked the kinetic “Train,” which nicely highlighted Jason’s distinctive upper vocal range, and made me want to hop on a boxcar to follow him to his next tour stop. “When I Came Down Off the Mountain” was a bluegrassy, down-home track (even better on vinyl, with backup fiddles – buy it!) that I think will get playtime on independent radio.

My wife loved “Outposts,” a narrative ballad marked less by youthful yearning and more by wisdom and contentedness – maybe this is what you appreciate more around age 40?

Jason has a fondness for lost souls, what-ifs, and quirky turns of history; “Moon Mission” touches on the loneliness that can come with courage and transformation, and “Snowstorm” is sort of a love song that references George Washington’s plight in icy New Jersey – and teaches some valuable vocabulary lessons.

Late in the set, he played some old crowd favorites from previous collaboration with Brian Funck, including “Hand Drawn Flowers,” “Lionsong,” “Your Voice at Tidewater,” and a joyful, upbeat rendition of “Carolina,” which is a beautiful love letter to his home state. With top-notch support from drummer Gerko Tempelman and bassist Toby Hazlett, this was a great evening for a new listen to an old friend – catch Jason and Highliner this summer!

Bryan Perry

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Highliner Pre-Release Tour – with video!

From July 12th through August 15th, this blog reports about the new album Highliner Pre-Release Tour!
Check this short promotional video out on the tour and the album: Jason Harrod – Highliner.


For a list of all the gigs in PA, OH, WI, IL, IN, KY, VA, NC, TN, NY, and MA click here.
For a pre-order the album, click here.

Hope to see you out on the road!


It’s Stooge Darn Hot

Here’s a little gem, unearthed last year. The three Stooges in a 1938 home movie.

This footage was filmed 75 years ago today (July 1, 1938), on Atlantic City, NJ’s steel pier, by George Mann, an avid photographer who was better known as half of the acrobatic comedy dance duo Barto and Mann.  Barto and Mann were huge stars in vaudeville (where they first encountered the Stooges) and later on Broadway. George was always pulling out his camera, taking pictures of his showbiz pals and his wife, Barbara Bradford Mann, who appears in the video above as the beautiful blonde giving the Stooges a run for their money. George plays the tall interloper who calls security over just as Curly is about to get lucky. Brad Smith, the Manns’ son, who edited and uploaded the video, posted this about his mother:

“Barbara Bradford, married to George Mann, was a John Robert Powers model, appearing in ads for Coca-Cola, Chesterfield, Buick, Railway Express, Kodak, Ivory, and many other businesses. She was the model for a painting done by Bradshaw Crandal that appeared on the February 1937 cover of Cosmopolitan. In 1937, she was voted the most beautiful woman in New York.”

here are some of George’s photos from that day.

The Three Stooges and Barbara Bradford Mann -- 1938

Moe and Curly Howard of the Three Stooges -- 1938

Moe Howard of the Three Stooges and George Mann of Barto and Mann -- 1938

(Here’s Moe anticipating his role in You Nazty Spy, in which he becomes the first Hollywood actor to lampoon Hitler. George doesn’t look happy about it.)

You can find more of George Mann’s photos here, here, and here.

Here’s a set of old theater marquees, documenting some of the many appearances of Barto and Mann.

These stunning photos offer a glimpse into a lost time — a time when it wasn’t strange to have an elephant backstage, when theater marquees were spilling over with the names of live singers, dancers, comedians, and jugglers, when a guy could not only make a living but become world-famous as an acrobat-comedian, rolling across a wide-open country with his gorgeous wife and a camera, ready to lovingly capture the youth, passion, cameraderie, optimism, and joy of his fellow troupers and friends.

Many thanks to Brad Smith for giving me permission to link to his photos.