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David Ryan Harris
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David Ryan Harris is on a quest that has an almost mythological dimension to it. Armed with a voice that falls somewhere between Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, songwriting that combines beautiful haunting melodies with sharp storytelling and guitar playing that is blues influenced and rock sharpened, David has been searching for the truth in music. And it is that combination of tremendous talent and devotion to the truth that immediately connects him to an audience. He invites us to join in and become part of the journey and as we accept the invitation we realize his songs are our songs too. His quest is ours also. It is a shared life and he chronicles it through song.
Born in Evanston, Illinois and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, David heard music, melodies and stories in his head as a child. Like most kids he played the usual childhood games and got into the usual childhood trouble, but the music in his mind always called him. As an adolescent he began teaching himself various instruments. After experimenting with drums, piano and other instruments and demonstrating an ability to learn them in a short period of time, David became focused on the guitar which continues to be his primary instrument although he often plays other instruments on his recordings.
Drawn to the blues after hearing songs by Son House, Robert Johnson and others and growing up at a time when Parliament/Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder, Prince and other musicians were stretching the boundaries of popular music David understood that music could not and should not be limited by our often narrow views of what it should be. He started researching other musical innovators and seriously studied Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and others. He also began reading philosophy, sacred texts and art and music theory. Through his teen years he shaped himself into the artist as intellectual, the musician as muse for society. As he transitioned into a young man, another innovation was taking place, the emergence of Hip Hop.
Like many young people of his generation, David was drawn to Hip Hop music, but in an unusual way. He immediately wanted to combine elements of Hip Hop with Soul, Jazz, Blues and Rock. The result was Follow for Now the ground-breaking band he founded with a group of friends in Atlanta. The sound combined all the influences that had been shaping David’s musical vision. As the main songwriter, lead guitarist and lead vocalist the band gave David a vehicle to showcase his talent and unique perspective. While the band had a short life, it didn’t take long for others to notice his talent and he has been tapped to write, play or produce for numerous artists from Dave Matthews to jazz singer Cassandra Wilson, from Widespread Panic to Santana, from Dionne Farris to John Mayer.
But now it is quiet. After traveling the world for several years and performing as a member of several bands, David retreated to his hometown Atlanta to write the songs that will become classics. They are love songs in the purest way because they are songs about love between two people and between all people. They are songs about life and death and most of all truth. They are songs that David has written for himself and for others and they are played and performed as a man on a quest would present them.
While David Ryan Harris is widely known amongst musicians and others in the music industry and he has a devoted and growing fan base amongst those who have heard him, this is just the beginning. Like a secret that can no longer be contained, the voice, the songs, the truth that David Ryan Harris presents is pushing its way into the lives of more and more people. Word is passing from mouth to mouth. His shows are becoming conversations for weeks after a performance. The proof of his quest is his music and it is here now for us to experience.
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