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Harper Simon: Like St. Judy’s Comet, A Successful Scion Is Sighted by Alyson Camus

How many children of rock stars have tried to follow the career of their parents? And how many have succeeded? Not many to answer the second question.

I saw Harper Simon at the Bootleg theater a few months ago, and despite the fact he is 37 he looks like a kid. He also sometimes looks like his father and sounds like his father. It’s obvious when you listen to the lovely ballad ‘Berkeley girl,’ but who would blame him? Many bands have tried to sound like Paul Simon, the last Vampire Weekend. For Harper, it’s different because it’s in his genes so it’s legitimate and he seems cool with that. Hey, he even let his father co-write some of the songs on his album.

But there’s obviously something else going on in his music, other influences, obviously country for some of the songs like the happy autobiographic ‘Tennessee.’ He is also not faking being a famous musician’s son, he is an accomplished guitarist, picking style, at ease on stage, solo or with musicians.

Listen to ‘Wishes and stars,’ it’s fresh, upbeat, full of harmonies, just the kind of music you want to listen on a happy sunny day while running in an open field, you simply want to kiss everyone after listening to it. The other tunes are often less upbeat but always memorable.

I said he was cool being the son of his father, but you would not tell listening to some of the lyrics:

‘I’m not too certain about many things
I’m not too sure who I am
I ain’t got no mother and I ain’t got no father
I ain’t got no girlfriend to hold my hand’

But it may just be an amused and ironical comment about his life. Don’t be fooled by the happy tunes, the lyrics are bitter and mournful at times

The night I saw him, Farmer Dave Scher with his pedal steel, Neil Youngish at times, and the Chapin sisters were opening for him, but they also played and sang with him and it was really, really enjoyable with a long jamming of one of their songs.

PS: I read a NPR review and they totally compared him to Elliott Smith!! And they were not the only ones. I know I would not go there without being accused to draw the attention again back to the same story. So I will refrain myself even tough I was utterly tempted when I discovered that Harper had a song called ‘Shooting star’ just like Elliott.

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