JP Harris and The Tough Choices. 13th Note, Glasgow. Sunday 24th May

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Alabama born Nashville raised JP Harris brought his road tested honky tonk sound to Glasgow last night for what was an exhilarating set in the hot and sweaty confines of the 13th Note basement. Holed up on the tiny stage inches from the eager crowd Harris, acclaimed by Rolling Stone and Saving Country Music for his latest album Home Is Where The Hurt Is, stormed through a set that was stone cold classic country, hard as steel and crunchingly loud.

With roaring yet sweet pedal steel and some clamorous guitar work from Adam L Meisterhans the band zipped through a selection of songs from their two albums along with a few choice covers. Give a Little Lovin’, Two For The Road and the truckin’ Gear Jamming Daddy (with a sizzling pedal steel solo) were countrier than country while South Oklahoma added an exotic touch of the Mexican border on a tale of a girl longing to leave the titular State. They covered Red Simpson’s Happy Go Lucky Truck Driver and transformed Jimmy Martin’s Freeborn Man from a bluegrass number into a magnificent maelstrom of clashing guitars and frantic pedal steel which broke through the dance barrier as some crowd members elbowed their way to the front to frolic joined thereafter by most of the audience. Beer was spilled and collisions ensued in the crammed space but the overall feel was one of joy with Harris obviously enjoying the atmosphere. Adding another feather to their bow the band went into Western Swing mode for an unrecorded Harris song written about a “high impact tractor crash” he was involved in. This was a highlight of the night with Harris and Meisterhans playing twin guitar lines towards the end after yet another zinging pedal steel showcase.

A rigid curfew curtailed the encore with only one song played however their version of Dave Dudley’s Six Days On The Road was as tight as the proverbial duck and a fine summary of their tightly honed country roots. A great night with the audience warmed up nicely by the incredibly hirsute Harry and the Hendersons who provided a fine rootsy Americana with harmonies to the fore and Have Mercy Las Vegas with their Celtic tinged foot stomping romps.

The tour continues in ireland, dates here

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