INSTRUMENTS

  • Washboard
  • 5-string Banjo
  • Guitar

EDUCATION

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, College of Santa Fe

SKILLS AND SERVICES

  • Banjo – clawhammer, old-time traditional and melodic contemporary
  • Banjo – fingerstyle, Scruggs picking style (beginner)
  • Banjo – fingerstyle, Single String picking style (beginner & intermediate)
  • Banjo – fingerstyle, Melodic & Irish picking styles (intermediate & advanced)
  • Banjo – fingerstyle, 2- & 3-finger old time picking styles (beginner & intermediate)
  • Guitar – fingerstyle, open tuning & folk styles (beginner)
  • Washboard (all levels)
  • Deep listening
  • Folk & Roots Music history & appreciation
  • Nashville numbering system
  • Live performance
  • Recording

BIO

Despite growing up in a house full of music, Harper didn’t start playing until his early 20s, when he was visited in his dreams by long-dead blues musician Son House. Thereafter his appetite for plucking strings became insatiable, and every instrument he found became a new vessel to chase the trance and follow the feeling he got in that dream. He got himself a washboard and formed a jug band. He got a guitar and started teaching himself the esoteric music of John Fahey.

Around the same time, he started digging into the roots of the roots music, amassing a large collection of dusty old recordings, publishing a blog and compiling a 6-cd set of the Roots of John Fahey. He got a banjo the night before journeying to Ireland and a few thousand hours of solitude later he’d gathered a basketful of tunes on the banjo ranging from old-time mountain music to klezmer waltzes to 17th century Irish harp pieces to new-fangled ragtime jams. He often likes playing slow mysterious tunes even more than the fast frolicking ones.

After years of walking through antique stores with thimbles on, tapping on everything in the store, he’s outfitted his washboards with an assortment of things that clatter and ding in just the right way. Playing washboard with Hot Damn Scandal since 2012, he has learned how to make the washboard fit into a variety of styles, including americana, blues, jazz, folk, waltzes, circus freakouts, string band funk, and twisted orchestrations with strange time signatures and sudden changes.

He also performs as a storyteller with a variety of local musicians, and as a solo musician playing banjo and guitar. He is the director of Majestic Adventures and runs the Adventure Quest summer camps, birthday parties, and after-school programs, and has led thousands of kids on interactive live action roleplaying adventures. Most of his spare time is spent playing banjo in his wizard’s tower in the woods.

INFLUENCES

John Fahey, Jody Stecher, Adam Hurt, Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, Mississippi John Hurt, Elephant Revival, Jayme Stone, Lucas Hicks, Crow Quill Night Owls, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Noah Cline, Mike Seeger, Doc Watson, Dock Boggs, Tim O’Brien, Planxty, Blind Willie Johnson, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Grant Gordy, Joseph Spence, many old weird long-dead musicians

CURRENT PROJECTS

Hot Damn Scandal

The Cauldron of Plenty (storytelling and Irish music)

DISCOGRAPHY

  • The Gods are Made of Mud (with Hot Damn Scandal)
  • Strange Tongues (with Hot Damn Scandal)