ERIN HARPE & THE DELTA SWINGERS
“Erin Harpe is a knockout.”
–Robert Feuer, KGGV-Occidenta (CA)
“Delightful delivery and positively top-notch fretwork… about as good as it gets!”
–Blues Magazine (Netherlands)
- 2019 New England Music Award-Winning “Blues Artist Of The Year”
- International Blues Challenge Semi-finalist (2019, 2017, 2013 & 2011)
- “Blues Artist of the Year” from the Boston Music Awards (2012)
- Boston Blues Challenge Winner (2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 & 2010)
- Boston Music Award Nominee (2018, 2012, 2011, & 2010)
Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers were just named New England's best blues band, winning “Blues Artist Of The Year” at the 2019 New England Music Awards! Singer/guitarist Erin Harpe leads the roots-rocking electric band on vocals and lead guitar, playing a mix of styles they call “Boogie, Blues & Beyond”. A rising star in the roots and blues scene with a growing fan base around the world, she’s been called “one of the most dynamic, talented and exciting roots rocking blues women on the scene” by Living Blues Magazine, and has been compared to legendary blues women like Bonnie Raitt and Rory Block. The Midwest Record even called her “Bonnie Raitt on modern performance enhancing drugs!” The “modern blues mama for our times” has had an exciting year, from winning awards, to competing solo at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis (where she made it to the Semi-Finals!), to touring around the US – with stops at the Rhythm & Roots Festival (RI), Tall City Blues Fest (TX), Musikfest (PA) and Paw Paw Fest (OH), as well as in the UK! This holiday season Erin and the band celebrate with a limited-edition vinyl release of their album “The Christmas Swing” and a string of holiday parties.
“The Christmas Swing” is Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers' self-produced, critically-acclaimed (anti-) Christmas album. This season on VizzTone/Juicy Juju Records, the album will be released on limited edition vinyl! The album, which has been called “sassy” and “un-traditional”, made it to #2 last season (Eric Clapton was #5!) on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Holiday Album Charts, AND #17 on the Living Blues Charts last December! Featuring ten songs – including a couple of Erin’s originals and her own arrangements of traditionals and songs by Chuck Berry, Bessie Smith, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Leadbelly, and more – the album is a great alternative seasonal romp, chock full of hooky blues-guitar-fueled gems that you’ll want to listen to each year as the holidays approach – in fact Steve Jones of Blues Blast Magazine says, “I will be giving it many more spins this holiday season and beyond.”
In 2010 Erin and and her husband, bass player Jim Countryman, started Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers, an electric delta blues-inspired quartet. They were off to a great start right away, winning the Boston Blues Challenge that same year and being christened “Charles River Delta Blues” by the local media. They were signed to blues label VizzTone in 2014. In the past 9 years the band has gone electric and branched out to created their own sound, dubbed “boogie, blues and beyond” – an electrifying original sound that takes you from the delta to the dancefloor mixing in funk, soul and reggae swing!
Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers have released three albums, all of which have done very well on radio charts, receiving critical acclaim from media around the world. “Love Whip Blues” (2014) received 4 stars in DownBeat Magazine and was featured on SiriusXM's Bluesville, and the band’s sophomore album “Big Road” (2017) made the TOP TEN in Roots Music Report’s Contemporary Blues Albums chart, the iTop Top 100 Blues Albums AND Relix Jamband Radio Charts.
Growing up in Maryland, Erin learned finger-style blues guitar from her dad, visual artist/guitarist Neil Harpe, as well as from watching local piedmont blues luminaries such as John Cephas & Phil Wiggins, John Jackson, Eleanor Ellis, Warner Williams and others – at the famed Archie’s Barbershop. Later moving to Boston, Erin put out two acoustic blues albums, Blues Roots (2002) and Delta Blues Duets (2008) – an album of duets with her dad – in between touring and releasing five albums with her rock band Lovewhip (also with hubby/bass player Jim Countryman). After being invited to play NotSXSW (John Conquest's Americana answer to South by Southwest) as a solo artist a few times, Erin and Jim decided it was time to start a blues band, and The Delta Swingers was born! In their first year as a band, they won the Boston Blues Challenge, and were in Memphis for the first time at the International Blues Challenge. While there, the band was asked to play the prestigious VizzTone Showcase at the Rum Boogie on Beale St. In the excitement of trying to impress the crowd, in the middle of the first song, Erin accidentally kicked over her acoustic guitar, breaking it's neck. Luckily the host, Bob Margolin (Muddy Waters Band), was there, and what came next changed everything. He bestowed Erin with his Gibson Les Paul gold top electric guitar, and the band went electric. Since then, Erin has honed her sound, and her favorite electric guitars are her prized Epiphone Wilshires and her custom-made Karge Bel Aire, with a Marshall Origin tube amp.
Photo by Kevin Umlauf.
“Erin Harpe... has it all — a golden voice and the guitar chops that dazzle. As many of the great divas of the roots rocking blues are aging, the emerging new generation, like Imelda May, Grace Potter and Erin Harpe are firing up younger audiences, and Erin makes it as fun and exciting as ever, and that’s a good thing for the blues.”
–Living Blues Magazine
Read the full review
“Easily Bonnie Raitt on modern performance enhancing drugs, Harpe is blues mama for our times. Killer stuff...”
“Erin Harpe is a hunter and gatherer... collecting the sounds as her branded version of Delta Blues, reimagining and reworking the music.”
“Harpe is delightful. She creates a happy vibe reminiscent of Hot Tuna... for those looking for a really good time.”
–Richard Ludmerer, Making a Scene
“★★★★ Avoiding the perils of predictability, these four New Englanders craft a fresh, genre-crossing group sound…” -DownBeat Magazine
“Erin Harpe is a hot mama blues singer.” –Sing Out!
“Grabs the senses with a power and beauty... Harpe is a very fine guitar picker, with a great grasp of the ragtimey-blues feel and tradition in particular. Her voice is glitzy and grounded in the tradition too...” -Iain Patience, Elmore Magazine UK
“They won me over with a sound that harkens back to the time of juke joints, with some modern funk and rock woven in. Erin Harpe’s got a righteous set of pipes and plays a mean guitar and the rest of the band has a whole lot of awesome going on.” –Aimsel Ponti, MaineToday's Face the Music
“Something akin to what the blues sounded like, Muddy and his band plugged in, which sounds better than ever in these hands.” –Cheap Thrills Boston
“Erin Harpe has it all. The looks, the chops, the voice, the presence and the band all add to an aura that mesmerized the crowd...” –The Alternate Root Magazine
“This blues chanteuse breathes new, whiskey-soaked life into the likes of Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe, with a sound that's uniquely Charles River Delta.” –Boston’s Weekly Dig
“A dance band that has a unique delta blues flavor and a world music creamy filling... mixing in afrobeat, reggae, funk, and disco with delta blues finger-picking, creating an amazing new sound.” –Phil Simon, Live Music News and Reviews