Living for today
Aug 17, 2012 / 7:00 am
Some weeks ago I wrote about the lead vocalist of one of Canada’s most prolific Melodic Rock Bands: “Harem Scarem”, whom left us with “Hope”, their last album, in 2009… a musical statement that was full of promise and potential.
Harry Hess, the group’s lead vocalist, also became their main Producer and set about expanding his production skills with Canadian and European Talent. A mighty melodic rock project set up by the President of Frontiers’ Records in 2010 was just what Harry needed. That project was ‘First Signal’, and since then Harry has produced several AOR Artists Recorded Works and has found time to write and record another solo album. Last month I caught up with Mr. Hess to talk about his latest release: “Living In Yesterday”:
Question: First, I understand that you are pursuing more production in your efforts, as well as songwriting. Is “Living In Yesterday” a direct result of your Producer aspirations?
Answer: I actually released a solo record about ten years ago called “Just Another Day“ that was much lighter sounding but I would say this record came out of me signing a publishing deal with Universal as a writer and co-writing many songs over the last few years. Then I picked the songs that I thought I could record as a “Rock” record.
Q: I also understand that you have been working on this record for quite awhile…any reason or reasons that it has taken as long as it has?
A: I really did it in between other production and mixing work. It’s very difficult to get motivated to work after a day of working on another record so I would steal a day here and there…
Q: It must have been a thrill working with all of the musicians that you have as guests on the record...
A: Yes, I really wanted to get a few guest players on the record and I thought it would make sense to get a few guitar solos for some players that I liked.
Q: Let’s talk about some of your guests… Tommy Denander and Magnus Karlsson in particular…
A: I met Tommy in Sweden on a writing trip a few years ago and I wrote a song on the record with him called “I Don’t Wanna Want You” so he was an obvious choice… I just called Magnus out of the blue and asked him to do a solo and he agreed. Same with Chris Green and Howie Simon, I just sent them the song and they did some great stuff…
Q: You have also enlisted the creative skills of former Harem Scarem bandmates… Which is wonderful. Do you feel that you have actually ventured further out than the Harem Scarem albums?
A: Yes, I think they are world class players and people I work with all the time on various recordings, business as usual in that regard. I don’t think I’ve done anything different on this record that I haven’t done in the past, I’m just trying to write songs that I think are good and hopefully other people like as well.
Q: The songwriting can leave goose bumps on the listener. Did you write all the material, is some of the work a collaboration, and if so, with whom?
A: Yes, all the songs on this record except the title track “ Living In Yesterday “ are co-writes. Some of my co-writers were: Tommy Denander, Danny Orton, Brian Melo, Daniel Flores, Fredrik Berg, Tony Cornelissen, Gavin Brown.
Q: Being released by Frontiers, and the last group album being released by the same label, you must be very happy with your relationship with Frontiers.
A: It’s been great, I think there is a mutual respect between us and I have been very impressed with their efforts on all of our past releases…
About to be released in Canada, Harry’s next solo effort, “Living In Yesterday” is a forceful statement, from a Canadian Singer/Songwriter that can’t be written off just yet!
Harry Hess “Living In Yesterday”
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson
One should know that a musician of this calibre would not stay silent for long! This is Harry Hess’s first solo outing, yes I know that he was the main vocalist on ‘First Signal’, however that was a group project.
‘Living In Yesterday’ is Mr. Hess’s first full stab at going about this without a group setting. Harry has enlisted a multitude of musical friends, including former ‘Harem Scarem’ band mates, and has maintained control over the whole project. This record represents the direction in which this Canadian vocalist is moving.
Harry is singing volumes: ten absolutely stunning musical creations that rock powerfully and display a real growth in the song-writing department. Harry has also produced this expedition. His production skills just seem to get better with every project he undertakes. “Living In Yesterday” is: Beauty in Song, Muscular in Music, and Gigantic in Production!
There is quite a European feel to this record…something that is a direct reflection of Harry’s involvement with more and more European Artists. A vehicle of ever growing maturity and vocal talent from this Canadian son. An effort that pushes Mr. Hess in to new ground, exploring musical plateaus that he hasn’t ever visited before, and giving us a Work that is simply colossal! A rich collection of songs that simply rocket out of the speakers.
“Living In Yesterday” is a loud statement of the future, Harry Hess’s musical future…strapping, emotive, melodic and forceful! Thank-you Mr. Hess…Thank-you!!
Under The Lights
Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:
The Blue Gator: Jimmy Leguilloux: August 17th & 18th Sherman Doucette: August 24th & 25th
Minstrel Café: Woody Daniels: August 17th The Calum Hughes Collective: August 18th Luke & Tess Pretty: August 24th
The Pheasant & Quail Pub: Hot Tomales: August 17th & 18th Steve Todd: August 24th & 25th
Sapphire: Adventure Club: August 25th
Level: ’Carnival Of Death Tour’ Featuring: Obituary Broken Hope Decrepit Birth Jungle Rot and Encrust September 22nd
‘Notes & News’: Last weekend’s debut of the “Rann Berry and the One Hit Wonders” show was a resounding success!! The group earned standing ovations not once but twice! Kelowna Community Theatre’s Manager was heard: “ It’s a Smash Hit, beyond anyone’s expectations. A magical night.”
A magical night indeed, and one that can be experienced once again in September! “Rann Berry and The One Hit Wonders” are set to encore on September 21st, and again at the Kelowna Community Theatre! Tickets are available at all usual outlets.
Do you remember “Angel”? That Progressive-Melodic Rock extravaganza from the mid-seventies? All the group’s albums are being re-mastered and re-issued by Rock Candy Records and should appear in your favourite record store very soon!
Can’t wait for this one: Ian Hunter, lead vocalist from ‘Mott The Hoople’ will be releasing his twentieth solo effort in September! “When I’m President” is set for worldwide release in early September.
A while back I reviewed the latest from JORN, here is his latest video from his last album, “Bring Heavy Rock To The Land”! - enjoy:
……if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....
Read more Under the Lights articles
- Black Star Rising (Part Deux) May 10
- Black Star Rising (pt.1) May 3
- One Hit Wonders A Go! Apr 26
- Spring Flu Apr 19
- The Wonderful World Of Music Apr 13
- Spring Renewal Apr 8
- A New S.U.N. Is Rising Mar 29
- A Swedish Invasion? Mar 22
(Click for RSS instructions.)