Local Music Review: Mic Harrison and the High Score, ‘Vanishing South’

In Music Reviews, Music Stories by Mike Gibsonleave a COMMENT

Knoxville’s Mic Harrison and the High Score are best known for plying a muscular brand of Americana—its primary roots in honky-tonk and trad county, crossbred in later generations with Alex Chilton-style power pop—that’s better suited to nights on the town than to moments of back-porch rumination. But the band’s latest record, Vanishing South, is as contemplative as it is shit-kicking, as if Harrison and the boys have taken the time to stop, assess their considerable group and personal histories, and author a thoughtful, album-length thank-you note to everyone who’s been part of the trip.

There’s still plenty of fun-time Americana on Vanishing South. The opening track, “Salt Stained Road,” is tightly coiled country rock in the vein of Steve Earle. “Never Be This Way Again” is a sly rethinking of the La’s “There She Goes,” and “Indiana Drag Race” is a classic Harrison rockin’ country rave-up.

But those rowdier moments are balanced by a series of sweet homages, to supportive spouses (“Woman,” “Make Time Bend”) and to roots and family (“Home,” “Make Your Peace.”) And then there’s the title track. A dusky lament for a departed lover, the song hints at a sense of loss that goes much deeper than the “she’s gone now” tropes would seem to admit. It’s a subtlety, but an accessible one, still very much in keeping with the plainspoken ethos of Harrison’s puissant blue-collar rock ’n’ roll.

Mic Harrison and the High Score will play a release show for Vanishing South on Friday, March 10, at 10 p.m. at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria. Admission is $5. 18 and up. Read Mike Gibson’s 2016 profile of the band. 

Share this Post