February 18, 2010

elephant journal music reviews: Harper Phillips, “Cartography.” (Ukulele) Music for the Folkster Soul!

Harper Phillips‘ Ukulele Music? F-uke-ing amazing.

The first time I heard Harper’s music was at elephantjournal.com’s BMoCA Open Wall event.

Not only was her music wonderful, fun, cheerful, but her image so perfectly fit with her tunes. She sweetly, serenely played her ukulele in the spotlight on the first floor of the modern art museum, perched atop a stool with a vintage suitcase propped open displaying her CDs…giving life and depth to the whole huge party.

As if this image doesn’t spell it out for you, she’s the quintessential cute, hipster, folky, artsy gal. And if I wasn’t sold on her music after she played a few songs (which I was), she came up to me after her set and asked if I would review her cd for elephantjournal.com.

Well, there went her $10 I was about to give her, but hopefully this review is oh so much more valuable (support her work play!).

From the moment I first played Harper Philipps’ Cartography, I knew this would be on repeat for a long time. And it has been, getting better with every listen.  With so much truth and sweetness in her voice, this album is a perfect listen pretty much anytime of the day and goes well with every emotion. Probably because there’s so much love behind her music, you just can’t help but get wrapped up in it.

After a lifetime of musical training on various instruments, Harper Phillips started playing the ukulele in the fall of 2008, and having finally found her musical soulmate, began writing songs. After receiving a BA in Theatre from the University of Colorado, she has continued to share her music with audiences in her home of Boulder, Colorado.

My fave song has to be “Balance.” This song directly shows off Harper’s great voice and her other talents (one is French!).

“Balance” is a strongly metered waltz that functions ideally with the song’s subject matter, oscillation between faith and fear and love and dispassion. This skilled songwriting shows musical maturity and a knowledge of her instrument, but beyond that, it breaks up the pace of the album.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I didn’t.

Some of my other favorite tracks include “Wading,” a darn beautiful song, and “Sugar Sand,” which I dig for its poetical and somewhat raw lyrical aspects.

Mixing life experiences with detail, sincerity and passion, Harper brings sweetness, creativity, love and truth to every song. Her sweet music so easily takes you to a somewhat whimsical world. Harper Phillips Cartography is too-cute-to-dislike.


Harper’s cover of Bon Iver: Skinny Love. Enjoy!

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