The Super Casuals
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The Super Casuals

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"Jeff Harris"

New York singer Jeff Harris recalls Counting Crows in his best moments, with a straightforward brand of confessional, narrative driven acoustic rock that rarely pulls punches.
- Columbus Dispatch, September 2005


"Jeff Harris show preview"

Brooklyn songwriter Jeff Harris got his start with the band 84 West before moving to New York. He now leads Jeff Harris & The Super Casuals, (a band) inspired by Wilco and Neil Young...
- Boston Globe - September 2005


"Casual Harris Hits The Studio"

This month, singer/songwriter Jeff Harris and his band, The Super Casuals, will head into Coyote Recording Studios with Grammy-Winning Engineer Bo Boddie (Sam Bisbee, Amy Miles) to begin work on their sophomore release. According to Harris, the next album, which is so new that it has no tentative release date yet, is going to be less pop and a lot more folk oriented. “Although, I don’t even know if I can define the sound in one way. I’m all over the map with my music,” he said, stressing the importance of finding your own path in the music world. “You can’t let people’s assumptions about music get to you; you really have to play by your own rules as a musician.”

A Boston native, Harris released his debut album, Lemon Yellow, two years ago. Currently residing and soon to be recording in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (“Hipster Central”), Harris said Boston will always be the place he calls home, but New York City has a great singer-songwriter scene. “There is no other place in the world that is better to be a singer-songwriter than here in New York City. You can play every single night here if you wanted, there are so many great venues,” he said.

No matter the location, when it comes to performing live, Harris loves getting out on the road to play his music. “There’s nothing better than touring,” he said. “To be a musician you really have to want to get out there and play for people. It doesn’t matter if there are two or 200 people in the audience, you still have to get on stage and make it happen.”

And though Harris firmly believes that musicians create their own magic, he has taken inspiration from many artists. “REM has always been my favorite,” he said. “Artists like Ryan Adams, Beck, and Patty Griffin continue to amaze me, as well.” Harris also had high praise for Bright Eyes’ singer Conor Oberst. “Conor has the potential to be this generation’s Bob Dylan,” he said. “It makes me so proud that my generation has someone like this.”

Not unlike Oberst, Harris takes great pride in his songwriting and the power that music can have on people. “The potential of writing a great song that can connect to people is what keeps me going,” he said.

“If you write a song that touches someone, you won’t be able to find that feeling anywhere else.”


- FeelingAnxious.com


"Jeff Harris Band - Lemon Yellow Album Review"

Lemon Yellow, the new album from the Jeff Harris Band, is a pleasure for the unsuspecting listener. With some tunes sounding like the poppier side of alt-country (see Wilco and latter-day Jayhawks) and throwing in some rocking pop songs (dynamics a little like early Big Star), Harris and Co. have a good head start on their competition.

The recording begins with “Perfect,” which would be ideal for a single. Starting with a quiet verse, the song explodes with layers of electric guitar. The dynamics continue for the rest of the track, creating a pop rock song with oomph – one that is both fun to listen to and to sing along with (I was before the end of the first time I heard it). The songs that follow improve on the opener.

Easily one of the better songs on Lemon Yellow, “AM in LA” uses the same dynamics as “Perfect” but has a little something extra. Relaying the story of traveling to Los Angeles and leaving a lover behind in Boston, Harris’s song is full of the lies you tell yourself and the person staying. “You’ll feel much better when I’m gone” is exactly the what you’d say to someone knowing it wasn’t the truth, all the while hoping that you could convince them. The music improves on “Perfect” with syncopated drumming like on Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and also includes one of rock music’s surefire winners: a false stop followed by crazy rocking. The song segues into “Everybody Smiles When They Think of You,” which almost serves as the LA memory of the girl in Boston....


The talent of independent songwriters and musicians never fails to amaze me. Jeff Harris Band is one of the more impressive groups I’ve heard recently. Harris has found a great band to perform his compositions....

Jeff Harris Band has a good vibe, and Lemon Yellow is a solid effort.
- www.indie-music.com


"Jeff Harris Band - Lemon Yellow Album Review"

Jeff Harris has that tight, polished, sweet, no-nonsense rock sound. His songs seem to drift out of the stereo without effort, easing on down the middle of the road. While this might seem as if it would be ho-hum, you can't help but find yourself tapping your feet and singing along.

The songs presented here are right on the money---whether it's the cheeky, modern acoustic pop of Perfect or the prime time rock steady Pop Star, Harris knows how to write a strong song which takes on a life of its own....

A few more songs like this, and Jeff Harris will be a force to be reckoned with.

MISH MASH Mandate: Lemon Polish
- mashmusic.tripod.com - MISH MASH MUSIC REVIEW


"Jeff Harris Band - Lemon Yellow Album Review"

Harris is introspective, poetic, creative, and genuine. - The Noise - Boston


"Jeff Harris Brings Rhythm and Rock to Nines"

"After performing at locations across New England, The Jeff Harris Band will end its June tour with a show at The Nines in Ithaca. Offering a sound of acoustic melody matched with a mix of pop-rock and soothing rhythms, Jeff Harris is hopeful for the undertaking of a Summer tour and the recording of a second album.


In late 2003, The Jeff Harris Band released their debut album, "Lemon Yellow," a project that Jeff Harris, the band's namesake, began writing back in 2002. After a series of events, including the loss of his job and the dissolution of his band at the time, Harris began an evaluation of himself that eventually concluded into what would be the content for his debut album.

"It often makes sense that people's first albums are about themselves," Harris said in an interview. "It was a pretty rough time, all things considered."

But in the transition Harris has undergone since those fledgling days in Boston, he has regained his outer perspective, learning to draw from subjects and conflicts beyond those of a personal nature. When asked how he felt these changes would affect the upcoming album, Harris answered, "I find myself writing about the world rather than myself."

Harris, who received his Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from Trinity College in Connecticut, now studies at New York University in Manhattan as a graduate student in music business.

With his upcoming show in Ithaca, Jeff Harris reflects on the experience of performing before an audience. "People expect a certain thing," Harris said, when asked about the aura surrounding jam bands of late.

Harris went on about the balance between the studio and stage, saying how hard it is to stray from what is known to work. "Live experience is meant to take the sound somewhere different every night," Harris said. "I have this deep desire to change things around every show."

And while Harris does not consider his band a "jam band," he does believe that the band's sound does allow for some alteration and experimentation during a live show. "I'm a very song-based musician," Harris said, explaining his foundations in songwriting. "I've always been very song, vocal, and harmony driven. I've always needed some creative outlet and songwriting always came to me."

When asked about influences through his childhood, Harris replied, "Certainly my dad making me listen to The Beatles was a big influence." Harris commented on a "...Certain amount of romanticism with the guitar" that began the discovery of a neighbor's guitar. What began with those first fledgling notes has transformed into a man whose sole purpose resides in the desire to have his music heard. Harris's response to these ambitions was, simply, "I'm a songwriter. I've always been a songwriter."

On Friday, get out of the house and check out The Jeff Harris Band at The Nines in Collegetown. With a sound that has been compared to those of James Taylor and Paul Simon, The Jeff Harris Band is a sure way to relax and enjoy the summer season." - Ithaca Journal


"Monday Morning Magazine: Jeff Harris Interview"

Transcript from “Anything Goes” at Brooklyn College Radio: 10/2004
Shira Melenson interviews Jeff Harris

Shira Melenson (introduction): Jeff Harris band is an acoustic rock group that has been gathering a strong following over the past year with performances throughout NYC. They have toured 11 cities in the northeast in support of their debut album Lemon Yellow.

("Lighthouse" performed live in studio)

SM: That was a song called "Lighthouse" and…. how did you come up with that song?

Jeff Harris: Well, I was literally just sitting around in my room one afternoon this summer, and was looking at a nightlight on the other side of the wall and thinking about how there are people that just kind of stick with you through your whole life, you wish you could just not think about them anymore, but there's always that little light in the darkness no matter what happens to you, and so you do kind of want to leave it plugged in…as much as you kind of wish….

SM: Is it because its painful these people aren't with you anymore?

JH: Yeah, its pretty much comes from that I guess….unrequited love and such….I'd say that's a pretty common theme for me.

SM: Well, I'm interested to know…this is a completely different topic, but I noticed that you have a bachelor's in Mathematics. …and its not the first major I would think of for a musician, do you see any kind of connection between being a math major and being in music?

JH: Well, I'm told that there is a connection and people always point that out…and I'd kind of like to think there is although I don't really know what it is. People that are into numbers are often into patterns and melodies are very much finding new patterns within chords and pointing them out through the way you sing. I mean that’s really what a melody is….its a new connection among chords that people say, 'oh that’s really nice…I hear that, I hear where that fits in', and math is all about finding patterns.

SM: And so that carries through to how you structure a piece?

JH: Yeah, I don't know if its that direct a correlation, I tend to think its more abstract, but….you know certainly there's something to be said because it just seems that people make that connection a lot, and people who are good at numbers are good at music, and that’s fine with me (laughs)

SM: You've been playing music a long time, right? You started playing guitar when you were how old?

JH: Probably 12 or 13…my friend had an electric guitar, actually his dad had a 1956 fender stratocaster which probably was worth about $5,000 under his bed that he didn't know we were hanging out with and we would pull it out at night and strum it and just kind of sit there really quietly at night looking at this thing and thinking about how cool it was and thinking that we were rock stars. And my dad played when I was growing up, so I remember Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, were my really early influences. My dad actually used to literally sing me to sleep…and I'll never forget that of course, probably my main influence was my dad.

SM: So, besides the influence of your father, you were saying the Beatles were an important.

JH: Certainly the Beatles. You can't get around the Beatles…I mean, if you're a musician and you don't listen to the Beatles, Paul Simon….you know, of course like Led Zeppelin if you're into rock music.

SM: Did you start out playing independently and then when did you take on a band?

JH: That’s right, I had had my own band for a long time. We were called 84 West because some of us went to Trinity College in Hartford and we were from Boston, so that was the road that took us back and forth, but when that disbanded…I spent a lot of time at the Burren playing open mics and in the Middle East and different clubs around Boston; and the stuff that came out of that with my friend Alyssa Roeder comprised Lemon Yellow, and I started that probably in October of 2002 and finished it in October 2003, and I moved to New York directly after releasing that album and I started the band that I'm in now.

SM: …and it’s you with how many other people?

JH: It's me with (pauses) my friends. (laughs) It changes a lot. Right now my friend Matt Greiner is the bass player and we have a different singer now, this girl named Lindsey Cloud plays piano and sings, and the same drummer from Boston, a guy named Matt Bogdanow.

SM: …and you shuffle according to….

JH: …according to who can play and how big the show is and whether we want an acoustic sound or a rock sound, I tend to write in lots of different genres, so we're good for any kind of situation.

SM: Do they all come with you any place you go or do you plan ahead of time?

JH: No, we have to plan it out.

SM: …Jeff with this huge entourage of 20 people….

JH: Yeah, it’s me and a gigantic entourage…I'm like Clinton, what’s his name…Funkadelic guy…George Clinton.

SM: I was also noticing that you played with a band that we've had in here previously, Gladshot, at a political event…it was a fundraiser…and so I guess you're fairly political, and you actually have a song that you're going to play for us…which I can't say the actual title on the air, but its Battle of…..we'll just say Bull.

JH: Yeah, we played Concerts for Change a few months ago, actually about a month ago at the Living Room downtown on Ludlow Street, and I had sort of gotten together some rather political songs for that.

SM: And this one is in reaction to current politics?

JH: (pauses) Well, you'll hear it.

SM: Okay, well let's hear it.

(performs Battle of Bullshit)

SM: So is this one of many political songs? Are they all in a theme?

JH: They're not really on a theme, I have another one called Independence Day, and it’s a little more vaguely politically minded about this guy going off to war, but yeah, you have to write about what you've been thinking about, and I've certainly been thinking a lot about politics, or not necessarily about politics but just sort of the state of things these days and the culture that I live in and how hard it is to know what’s right and what’s wrong and how strange it is when people think they know what s right and what’s wrong.

SM: …about appreciating the subtleties of the world.

JH: Yeah, and how sometimes people don't.

SM: So, that’s (Battle of Bullshit), and where can that be found? Where would one look for that?

JH: Well, that song right there we just posted on Myspace on the Jeff Harris Band MySpace site.

SM: Do you see yourself continuing in the same kind of style or have you been seeing new influences that you want to involve in your work? What direction do you think you'll be going in?

JH: Well, I hope not any one direction for too long, but I spent a lot of time this summer listening to the new Steve Earle record just because I happened to be in very close proximity to him and it was sort of very about the state of things, and so that song was in my mind as a reflection of that. I've recently in the last year become much folkier; and, that’s just fine with me, but I had come from a place where I had been playing in a rock band, and the album Lemon Yellow is really very rock-y, and…

SM: …so you think it's getting quieter and quieter with every album?

JH: I hope not, I hope that I can do kind of like what all the best songwriters do, which is to do…you know…if you look at Neil Young, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, people like that, they do something, and then they do something else, and that’s really what I'd like to do is to look at all different kinds of genres and put my own stamp on them.

SM: If you could play with anyone who would it be?

JH: If I could play with anyone…probably Emmylou Harris singing. We were going to do a Harris & Harris tour, me and her. No, that’s not true. I had grown up listening to Gram Parsons and that’s sort of been my model for why I love, and I've always had a female singer along with me in everything I've done, except for this radio show, of course.

SM: Oh so you usually are accompanied by a…..

JH: Yeah, by a female singer in almost everything I've recorded, because that's just the way I hear it for some reason. So, of course Emmylou Harris being the greatest of all time in that capacity.

SM: Well, if someone wants to check you out they can go to your website which is….do you want to go ahead and give the URL out?

JH: Sure, it’s JeffHarrisBand.com, and then we have a CD Baby Site where you can actually buy the CD, and we're on iTunes and all of the digital music services, if you want to download a specific song, you can do that…and that’s our entire Web presence.

SM: Okay, all right, and now you're going to hear a song called You'll Never Know. Thanks so much for coming in Jeff.

JH: Thanks for having me.

(performs You'll Never Know)
- Brooklyn College Radio, Oct. 2004


Discography

Lemon Yellow - LP, 2003 (as "Jeff Harris Band")

All songs from Lemon Yellow are available as soundclips on www.jeffharrisband.com/look.php

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Jeff Harris & The Super Casuals

The crowd has settled and Jeff Harris & The Super Casuals begin their set in the intimate glow of New York City's landmark music club The Living Room. Seamlessly combining the elements of country, folk and rock, the songs float easily in the space, even while the stories told within those songs sit heavy. Built upon a foundation of American-born roots music the likes of Neil Young and Paul Simon, the band’s sound is modernized by the influence of Ryan Adams, Wilco, the Jayhawks and
others. To first-time listeners the sound is fresh and energetic, but those in the audience familiar with Jeff Harris’ 2004 debut, Lemon Yellow, will know they are witnessing the product of few years'
journey.

Jeff Harris wrote, recorded and released Lemon Yellow during a time of great transition in his life. The stories are all told in the lyrics of the album's ten tracks. The songs tell tales of love and loss, of big dreams and broken hearts, and of leaving and being left behind. Alternately sparse and anthemic, the mood of the record reflects the scattered and contradictory emotions that are associated with the ending of one chapter of life, and the beginning of a new one. By the time that Lemon Yellow was released, Jeff had left his family, his friends, his job, and his beloved city of Boston behind to start over
in New York City.

While Jeff was settling into his new life in New York, Lemon Yellow was making its way into the hands of music critics, and even to the top 20 on several college radio playlists. One reviewer hailed it as "a
pleasure for the unsuspecting listener", calling the Jeff Harris Band "one of the more impressive groups I've heard recently". Another applauded the album saying, "The songs presented here are right on the money. Harris knows how to write a strong song which takes on a life of its own." Even Boston's local indie-rock weekly, The Noise, recognized the sincerity of Jeff's music, writing, "Harris is introspective, poetic, creative, and genuine."

With his old band, and the city of Boston behind him, Jeff's early NYC performances were accompanied by an ever-changing constellation of
local luminaries. Continually experimenting with his live sound, Harris held a residency at the popular Lower East Side club Pianos in March of 2005, where each week he would perform with a different arrangement of backing musicians. Eventually, Jeff found the sound he had been
searching for with his current band, the Super Casuals. The Super Casuals are comprised of singer/pianist Lindsey Cloud, whose bluesy,
southern-fried harmonies found a home in Jeff's sparse folk songs, and two road-tested veterans of the New England rock scene: Matt Greiner
and Matt Bogdanow on bass and drums.

In the last two years, Jeff Harris & The Super Casuals has performed over 75 shows across 17 major US cities. These performances have
included two extended tours across the East Coast, a showcase during the 2005 CMJ Music Festival in New York City, two appearances at the
Heart of Texas Music Festival in Austin, TX, and a performance at the John Kerry Presidential fundraiser known as Concerts for Change.

Jeff has also found increased notoriety as a songwriter and a solo performer. In April of 2005, he was invited to perform at the WXRV New
York City Songwriters Series held in Boston, alongside fellow NYC-based songwriters Richard Julian, Amy Correia, Kevin Devine and Rebecca
Martin. He has also shared bills with nationally recognized artists including Charlotte Martin and Reid Genauer (Assembly of Dust, Strangefolk) on select stops of their respective tours.

In the Fall of 2005, after wrapping up their most recent tour, Jeff Harris & The Super Casuals began recording what will become their first album together. The record is slated for a Spring 2006 release.