Mic Harrison Talks Songwriting, Power Pop, and His Upcoming New Album With the High Score

In Music Stories by Mike Gibsonleave a COMMENT

Singer/songwriter Mic Harrison’s upcoming acoustic performance at the Royal Oaks Concert Series in Maryville will afford longtime fans an opportunity to preview some of the songs from his forthcoming record, Vanishing South, the follow-up to his 2012 album Still Wanna Fight. Don’t be fooled by the Royal Oaks series’ acoustic format, however; his trad-country roots notwithstanding, Harrison says his latest batch of tunes is situated squarely on the rock ’n’ roll side of the musical spectrum.

“It’s Trosper’s fault,” Harrison says with a chuckle. Trosper is Robbie Trosper, the lead guitar player in Harrison’s backing band, the High Score. Trosper will take the stage along with Harrison at the Royal Oaks performance.

“The new stuff rocks a little harder because Robbie had a whole lot to do with the writing,” Harrison says. “With some of the earlier records, I came in with songs and said to the band, ‘Here you go, guys.’ This time, Robbie and I hammered things out together more, then brought them to the rest of the band.

“I came in with some melodies, and then he twisted them up, which then changed the melodies even more. We changed some of these tunes five and six times before we had them finished.”

For those who don’t know, Harrison is the beer-swilling, big-hearted blue-collar guitarist, singer, and songwriter who moved to Knoxville from a West Tennessee sawmill back in the early 1990s, taking a spot beside songwriter extraordinaire Scott Miller as co-frontman of local Americana standouts the V-roys.

When the V-roys broke up in 2000, Harrison joined with local rockers the High Score, with whom he has released a string of sterling releases, making a dent or two in the Americana charts and garnering a measure of college radio airplay along the way.

More recently, Harrison has picked up another Knoxville ’90s rock stalwart, in the person of former Superdrag drummer Don Coffey. (Harrison played guitar in Superdrag for a couple of years in the early ’00s.) Coffey started with the High Score in February when the band’s previous drummer, Brad Henderson, decided he wasn’t ready to commit to recording another album.

“Don hadn’t played drums in seven years, so he was a little worried about picking it up again,” Harrison says. “But it was just like falling off a bicycle—he had it from the word go. And these new songs we were writing were right up his alley—power pop and rock. I knew he’d have it down the first time, and he did.”

Harrison says all of the songs for the next record are sitting in the can, recorded and mixed and awaiting the mastering process. Still, Harrison says not to expect Vanishing South to be released before spring of next year.

“We’ve been doing things a little different this time,” he says. “Usually, we set a date and then rush everything to get the recording done. This time, we’re taking our time. And when one thing gets done, then we can move on to the next.”

Mic Harrison and the High Score play as part of the Royal Oaks Concert Series at Royal Oaks Event Center (4411 Legends Way) in Maryville on Friday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. Josh Smith of Handsome and the Humbles opens. Admission is $15. 

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