Celebrated singer/songwriter Jesse Harris is set to release Sub Rosa, his eleventh solo album, on Dangerbird Records on July 31st.
Produced by Harris and drummer Bill Dobrow, the new album will feature 14 gorgeous tracks recorded and mixed between November 2011 and March 2012 during a series of extended trips down to Rio De Janeiro where Harris encamped at Monoaural, a recording space built into an old house in the city’s Baixo-Gavea section.
Sub Rosa pulls in the talents of long-time friends and cohorts, Norah Jones, Melody Gardot, Conor Oberst, and noteworthy Brazilian artists such as 27-year old keyboardist/arranger Maycon Ananias (Maria Gadu, Milton Nascimento) and Dadi, co-producer and bassist for Marisa Monte, who also plays with Jorge Ben (and who has the esteemed honor of having a Caetano Veloso song written about him). Also in the mix are singer Maria Gadu, jazz guitar legend Bill Frisell, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Vinicius Cantuaria (who let Jesse and Bill crash at his house the entire time), guitarist Guilherme Monteiro (Forro In The Dark, Bebel Gilberto) and guitarist Nick Zinner, as well as ensembles of strings and horns with players ranging from members of Bon Iver to Brooklyn Rider. The album is a masterpiece of modern record making, striking the perfect balance between the spontaneity of live sessions and high fidelity and the craft of great songs and arrangements.
Probably best known for his 2003 Song Of The Year Grammy win for Jones’ “Don’t Know Why,” Harris has been arguably one of the most prolific singer/songwriter/musicians in the country for nearly two decades now. Sub Rosa marks the eleventh in a fairly rapid succession of albums, most recently 2005’s Mineral, 2007’s Feel, 2009’s Watching The Sky, and 2010’s double-release of Through The Night and an instrumental album, Cosmo.
Prior to the lone wolf efforts, Harris released a pocketful of records with his noteworthy group, the Ferdinandos and yet another album prior to those with Once Blue, a duo with Rebecca Martin, in 1995. Nearly countless sessions later with friends and music-makers, piles of successful co-writes, covers of his songs, and shared stages with the likes of Jones, American Music Club, Bright Eyes, Joshua Radin and Ani DiFranco, Sub Rosa is clearly Harris’ brass ring.
“I Know It Won’t Be Long,” is the kick off with a foot stomp two/four and a horn section holding down the choruses with Maria Gadu’s lilting harmonies flying throughout. “Rocking Chairs,” co-written with Dadi, is a whisper of powerful words, a perfume breeze that goes right to your memory and won’t let you go, featuring Jones’ backing vocal. “I Won’t Wait” gives us an almost tarantella rendering this time with Oberst on backing vox, Zinner on tremolo guitar and an incredible string arrangement by Ananias. That’s Frisell on guitar and Cantuaria playing maracas on “It’s Been Going Around” and Gardot providing backing vocals for “Tant Pis.” The list goes on—another pocketful of perfect songs the heartbeat of which can be felt just as powerfully on Coney Island as it can on Copacabana Beach.