Anyone who thinks a musician’s life is nothing but free rides and cashed checks should press play on the title track of Will Payne Harrison’s East Nashville Blues.
The Louisiana native and current Nashville dweller sings about being broke and not being able to afford the rent in Music City. His lack of funds takes him all over the Nashville area to places like Hendersonville and Antioch, but he is still broke. Even after he scores a hit song, he still has three roommates. It is a wakeup call a lot of folks need to hear—not only to value those who give so much to our culture and economy but also those who think a decent grasp of three chords and voice that doesn’t scare cats can make them set for life. It is the kind of honesty he lives and breathes in his music. Harrison fills the rest of East Nashville Blues with this honesty, a good grasp on string-filled Americana and a voice that—while not pop-star immaculate or rock-star strong—won’t scare cats.
Harrison frames his honest but fabricated singer/songwriter style with an early-morning Americana alt-country sound—sleepy fiddles, dobro, nonchalant percussion. Easy, clean and humble, this, his follow-up to Louisiana Summer, is well-written but simple. Very sparse melancholy string songs like “Shame” and others, like “Poor Man Blues,” reflect an easygoing spirit you can hear throughout in Harrison’s voice.
As he sings on East Nashville Blues, Harrison hopes that he will make it someday. This record won’t blow up his bank account but it does showcase the hard work and talent that make his high-rent lifestyle in Nashville worth it.