“Erin is a master of finger-picking blues... The ease with which she plays the blues on this recording is clear from the start... My favorite on the album is Rollin’ & Tumblin’. Erin somehow manages to infuse this much played (and loved) number with a spirit of freshness and a bit of joie de vivre, which is what we desperately need at the moment.”
This is the sixth release from Erin in the blues genre. Meet Me In The Middle is a collection of 10 finger picking old style blues songs, four of which were written by Erin and the others are either traditional or written by Blues artists from the past. Erin is a master of finger-picking blues, having been taught by her father Neil Harpe, also a blues artist. She lists John Cephas & Phil Wiggins amongst her tutors. The ease with which she plays the blues on this recording is clear from the start. The opening track, All Night Long, is a great example of her bluesy slide guitar work. There is no double entendre as Erin suggests various nocturnal activities. (The laughter at the end of the track implies that these might already have commenced.) Hard Luck Woman could well have been written in the twenties but is just another example of Erin “working the blues”. The title track Meet Me In The Middle is a collection of antonyms, representing opposite characteristics, a problem to which Erin cleverly offers the solution, in the form of the song title. This is a clever, yet simple tune. The track Women Be Wise is credited to Sippie Wallace, who was born Nov 1st, 1898 and was active on the blues scene until her death in 1986. (A staggering 68 years as a performer!) Erin does a great version of the song and includes that marmite of an instrument, the kazoo, which adds a touch of authenticity to the proceedings. The whole album has a feel of authentic blues, which is further enhanced by the inclusion of a cheeky Memphis Minnie song. My favorite on the album is Rollin’ & Tumblin’. Erin somehow manages to infuse this much played (and loved) number with a spirit of freshness and a bit of joie de vivre, which is what we desperately need at the moment. I really enjoyed all 10 tracks. Thank you, Erin, and partner, on bass, Jim Countryman.
Also in the same issue, Erin was pictured in the article “The Virtual Blues”, featuring photos taken by UK photographer Adam Kennedy, who took all the pics remotely using the subjects’ phones with a special app that allowed him to compose and snap the photos! Here's the picture that was included, on page 12 of Blues Matters – Issue 118, along with a blurb Adam wrote about the photo shoot:
“Hot off the back of the release of her exceptional new VizzTone Label album I caught up with Erin Harpe at home in Boston. The powerhouse artist had performed a holiday live stream the night before our virtual photo shoot. Subsequently, it certainly felt festive in Massachusetts, as Harpe turned the camera to her windows to show me the heavy snowfall, with icicles dangling from the nearby lampposts. A white Christmas was certainly on the cards in Boston. But, if you are looking for some real-deal country/blues take a listen to Harpe’s latest offering featuring Jim Countryman – ‘Meet Me In The Middle’. You won’t be able to stop yourself from listening to it “All Night Long”, which also happens to be the opening track of the album.”