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)
“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
- International Blues Challenge Semi-finalist (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 has been called “one of the most dynamic, talented and exciting roots rocking blues women on the scene” by Living Blues Magazine. Winner of the 2018 Boston Blues Challenge, and nominated for 2018 “Blues Artist of the Year” by the Boston Music Awards, Erin is having an exciting year. Brought up on delta and piedmont blues, which she learned from her dad, Erin recently entered and won the Boston Blues Challenge playing solo. She’ll be headed off to Memphis in January to represent Boston at the 2019 International Blues Challenge! On top of that, Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers were nominated for Blues Artist of the Year this year alongside local greats and friends James Montgomery, Peter Parcek and Danielle Miraglia among others!
Growing up in Maryland, Erin learned finger-style blues guitar from her dad, visual artist/guitarist/Stella guitar expert 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 in Washington, DC. 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 (with hubby/bass player Jim Countryman). Erin’s soulful vocal style and accomplished finger-picking guitar playing has earned her many fans, including guitar greats Ronnie Earl and Billy Gibbons, and she is quickly becoming recognized on the international blues scene.
In 2010 Erin and Jim started their new band, Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers, and 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. Their debut album, Love Whip Blues (2014, produced by Dave Gross), received 4 stars in DownBeat Magazine and airplay around the world, including SiriusXM’s Bluesville! Erin also released an instructional guitar DVD in 2016, Women of the Country Blues Guitar (through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop). The band’s sophomore album Big Road was released in late 2017 to rave reviews, making the TOP TEN in Roots Music Report's “Contemporary Blues Albums” chart, the iTop “Top 100 Blues Albums” AND Relix Jamband Radio Charts!
The new album The Christmas Swing features 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 title track is a re-working of Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers’ 2014 hit The Delta Swing, co-penned with special guest Richard Rosenblatt (who also lends harmonica). Building on her last album, Erin’s guitar playing shines as she plays a number of different styles, ranging from acoustic fingerstyle on Bessie Smith’s “At the Christmas Ball” (a duet with pianist John Juxo), to raw electric guitar on Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Merry Christmas”, to slide-guitar (with perfectly matched harp) on Jingle Bell Blues, to the early rock n’ roll licks of Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph.” Her well-known kazoo also makes an appearance on the Smith tune and the (not really holiday-themed, but festive) Bo Carter number “Drink and Get Drunk”, as well as on closer Auld Lang Syne. The record features Erin Harpe on vocals and guitar (electric, slide and acoustic), as well kazoo; Jim Countryman on bass; Matt “Charles” Prozialeck on harmonicas; and Chris Anzalone (of Roomful of Blues) on drums.
After the holidays, Erin has a big year planned in 2019, beginning with representing Boston at the 2019 International Blues Challenge this January in Memphis. She also has several new recordings in the pipeline (including Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers’ third studio album!), a second UK tour coming up in March, and some big summer blues festivals already being booked!
“Erin Harpe is one of the most dynamic, talented and exciting roots rocking blues women on the scene and it’s time she gets noticed, as she 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 Harpe makes it as fun and exciting as ever, and that’s a good thing for the blues.”
–Living Blues Magazine
Read the full review
“★★★★ 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 that simply improves listen-on-listen... 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... An excellent bit of work.” -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
“Love Whip Blues is a good time album, full of retro touches, fine musicianship, and a lively vocal performance from Erin Harpe... If you like blues music, which is well played and sung, with an eye on keeping the feet tapping, then this album should be on your list.” –Blues Matters (UK)
“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