Jacob S Harris
Gig Seeker Pro

Jacob S Harris


Band Alternative Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




You know this isn't going to be just another predictable singer-songwriter record when Jacob S. Harris whispers over an old-world waltz rhythm: "I see the timid beauty in your languorous face/ Twirling your parasol as we walk along."
The song, Deadly Nightshade, is a plea for just a few more minutes of twilight to enjoy the company although " if inky darkness descends upon us we'll not see the coaches light."
No room for modern accoutrements such as mobile phones in the world revealed in Lady Juliana, the debut album by the self confessed "anachronist". The closest you get to the modern world you get is the meter on the light in Mama's Liquors – which brings things into the 20th century, possibly, but that is balanced elsewhere by songs like the ominous ballad called Abacus and a slow interpretation of the traditional Tom Dooley.
Harris's live shows with his band The Morning Belles have shown his taste for historical settings, murder ballads and other so-grim-you-have-to-grin tales, but Lady Juliana (independent) takes a step forward, although not in time. At least some of the characters in these songs are having a slightly less unhappy time of it.
"Nobody dies on the whole record," he points out. "No one even gets shot."
There is even romance in the air on songs like the marvelous Deadly Nightshade and the aching longing of Silver Bell, tunes that might come from the pen of Leonard Cohen, the songwriter whom Harris most resembles.
The settings are sparse, acoustic, hovering like a morning fog on the creek, focusing the attention on the timeless imagery and haunting melodies, some of which might have just as easily been written in 1906 as 2006.
Lady Juliana, it turns out, is named for the ship which delivered the first all-female group of convicts to these shores, and two songs, Lady Juliana part1and part 2, are the centerpiece here.
The first, with a rising choir of voices, tells the misery of the journey out, the second, with guitar, cello and plaintive harmony from Morning Belle Helen Franzmann, takes comfort in the natural world found on landfall.
Where there is life, Harris is saying in this beautifully executed collection, there is hope. - Noel Mengal, Courier-Mail.

"'Shackles and Chains' EP REVIEW"

Your appreciation of this decidedly dark folk release hinges entirely on whether you consider drinking songs for miserable bastards a good concept. I think it's genius personally. On Shackles and Chains part time Gin Clubber, Jacob S. Harris croons and strums his way through six tales of fathers storming into churches with shotguns, hangings and suicide- amongst other squalid things. The mostly sparse arrangements and low-key production compliment Harris' nimble lyricism and vocal range exquisitely and the result is as compelling as it is bleak. Grab a cheap bottle of scotch and savour this on your lowest Friday evening imaginable. - Scene Magazine

"'Shackles and Chains' EP REVIEW"

Brisbane based singer, songwriter and storyteller Jacob S Harris' debut E.P. is breath taking to say the least. It mixes country styled story telling with the darker side of folk. Imagine Nick Cave and Mr Waits going head to head in a smoke filled bar and you should start to get the picture. Shackles and Chains is a limited edition CD that features a combination of studio recorded material and live songs. It also features a tonne of super special guests that include Jane Elliot (The Gin Club, The Jennys, Ed Kuepper)on the cello, Helen Franzmann (Redbreast) on the piano and harmonies, and fellow Brissie singer songwriter, Chris Pickering. Jacob is also a member of Brisbane's renowned folk cooperative The Gin Club. If you're a fan of the darker,slower Nick Cave and Tom Waits you'll definitely have a new love to check out. - Bizoo Magazine

"'Shackles and Chains' EP REVIEW"

Dark, dim and classy debut by a Gin Clubber... Self described as "Drinking songs for miserable bastards", Jacob S Harris's debut is definitely that, and much more... Kicking off the sadness with the quaint title track, Harris sings like an English Johnny Cash, or a shade-lighter Nick Cave (but not too much lighter). From the eerie, twisted tale of The Abacus, to the bittersweet, folky and catchy Caroline May, producer Wesley Davidson (ex-Weave) brings out Harris's glorious range of voices and shades of black. In-between, our hero sings of lost love, accompanied by only a piano and strings, on the miserably beautiful Black Ribbon, before hopelessness kills him in Cowboy's Lament, buried in the heat of a swiftly plugged classical guitar. Featuring muso friends like Chris Pickering, Jane Elliott (Ed Kuepper), and Jamie Trevaskis (A Fleeting Glimpse), the EP closes with the disturbing and spiritual Many More Things, whose chorus will have you singing, or crying, along. - Rave Magazine

"OKKERVIL RIVER support show"

"...Harris evokes the elegant and restrained vibe of artists such as Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits throughout songs like ‘Silver Wire’ and ‘Forsaken (Mark 15:34)’, building up the intensity as he finishes with the brooding and up-tempo ‘Abacus’." - Time Off Magazine

"‘Lady Juliana’ ALBUM REVIEW"

“Local folk, beautifully jaded, expertly done”… Brisbane folk-artist Jacob S. Harris and the gorgeous Morning Belles are trying to break your heart. The singer’s deep, smoky voice is arresting, augmented as it is by ethereal female backing vocals. Folky guitar, piano and cello move the music to dark, desperate, world-weary places. One can imagine the band playing solemnly at the end of the existence. The lyrics are quietly poetic: full of images, without being overbearing. On the track ‘Mamma’s Liquors’, Harris sings “and there’s a devil in the stairwell/ a nymph is pining in the sink/ the toilet’s full of alcohol/the cleaner, she’s a minx”. It is a lament of excesses, of pleasures, evils and the human condition. It’s nicely minimalistic, with only an acoustic guitar and vocals set against the album’s warm, lo-fi hiss. The record is a consummate effort: well written, performed and produced. And, all the while, independent. - Rave Magazine

"‘Lady Juliana’ ALBUM REVIEW"

This debut album from local singer-songwriter Jacob S. Harris undeservedly slipped through the reviewing net on release last year. Shame on us, because it’s worth writing a whole issue about. ‘Lady Juliana’ is named after the first vessel to transport exclusively female convicts to our shores, making it an apt title for an album exuding such a beautiful ‘olde-world’ charm and feel as this one. The dark folk tunes mine the seamy side of the human condition in a manner reminiscent of artists like Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Tom Waits, while also summoning an Antipodean colonial vibe akin to that recently mastered by The Drones (particularly on the striking pair of songs ‘Lady Juliana Pt1’ and ‘Lady Juliana Pt2’).
Harris musters great passion as he emits his deft lyrics in a distinctive and earnest tone, while his band fleshes things out perfectly with some lush strings, subtle percussion and skilfully understated harmonies.
Standout tracks include the aching ‘Silver Bell’, the pleading, mournful and thought-provoking ‘Forsaken (Mark 15:34)’ and the gently menacing ‘Abacus’. The recording has a sparse, lo-fi vibe that complements the songs perfectly, but as with all great records it’s the songs themselves that are the real strength. On this evidence Harris is a real emergent talent, one whose affinity with the past bodes very well for his future.
- Time Off Magazine


Shackles and Chains (EP), released December 2005
Lady Juliana (LP), released August 2006



"Harris is a real emergent talent, one whose affinity with the past bodes very well for his future." Time Off.

“ I think it’s genius personally… the arrangements and low-key production complement Harris’ nimble lyricism and vocal range exquisitely and the result is as compelling as it is bleak.” Scene Magazine

“The settings are sparse, acoustic, hovering like a morning fog on the creek, focusing the attention on the timeless imagery and haunting melodies.” Noel Mengal, Courier Mail

Harris has received critical acclaim for his debut EP ‘Shackles & Chains’, (released in December 2005), and also for long player “Lady Juliana” (released in August 2006).
He has received International airplay for his song I’ve been waiting (the opener on the Gin Club album Fear of the sea), and more recently for Silver Wire, Forsaken (Mark 15:34) and Sunset Smile.
He has toured around the world and has played festivals including N.M.W. in Vancouver and the Montreal Jazz Festival. His music appears in Australian Surfing Life's " Lost & Running" documentary released in December of 2008. He has supported Stardust 5 (Paul Kelly & Dan Kelly), Okkervil River, Nick Barker, Mick Thomas, Tony Joe White, Hawksley Workman, Sodastream, C.W. Stoneking and The Kill Devil Hills, among others.