From Sundumb to Slow Commotion

Jay Harris is back in action with a second album that furthers his signature Americana sound

Jay Harris says he met his wife while they were both at Queen’s. She’s now his his music manager.
Jay Harris says he met his wife while they were both at Queen’s. She’s now his his music manager.

You know you’ve made it when you’ve got fans acting as audience recruiters for your show.

For folk country musician Jay Harris, that became a reality when he had an encounter with one particularly star-struck fan.

“We had a woman out last time on our final night in the bar and she came to me after the show and said she had been stopping people on the street and directing them inside to hear us play, so that was really cool and very funny.”

It’s that same kind of passion that drove this university psychology major to pursue playing music after graduating university.

Harris, who graduated from Queen’s in 2001, said he purposely didn’t study music while he was here.

“I’m more interested in roots music rather than classical or jazz,” Harris said. “Queen’s School of Music is fantastic, but not where I would look to pursue a degree,” he said.

Harris met his wife Tanya while at Queen’s and now the duo work together on his music with Tanya as his manager.

Three years after his first album Sundumb came out Harris is back with his sophomore album Slow Commotion.

“The new record is more stripped down,” he said.

The Kingston local’s newest work is reminiscent of Blue Rodeo’s early days, with echoed vocals on tracks such as “Scar” and “Poor Broken Love.”

His latest release proves true to his Americana style of folk music, which stretches from blue-eyed soul to country.

The new album includes the CBC radio-played song “1955,” a slow-paced

tune which is the lead single off Slow Commotion.

“Be Your Lover” is a standout in the album, not only for its sweet soulful lyrics, but its background harmony vocals provided by Sarah Harmer.

“I met Sarah while we were both at Queen’s and we’ve been friends for many, many years. We played together a lot in the mid-90s,” Harris said.

The collaboration for the timing was right, he added.

“I just heard her voice on that song and she happened to be in town and we had her in to do the vocals.”

Jay Harris will be playing the Mansion on Sept. 28.

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