Jason Harrington: In Terms of Major Roots (2014)

  • Title: In Terms of Major Roots
  • Artist: Jason Harrington
  • Release Date: 2014
  • Genre: Folk/Americana
  • Record Label: Folkster
  • Track List:
    1. Don’t it make you Feel
    2. One Demon at a Time
    3. Happy People
    4. Sarita

Jason Harrington’s “In Terms of Major Roots” serves as a follow-up to his debut album, “Storm on the River.” This second offering marks his first self-produced album, showcasing his multifaceted musical talent as he plays nearly all the instruments himself. The only exceptions are the tuba and background vocals on “Happy People,” contributed by Chuck Guardia, Ashley Champagne, and Theresa Mayeux, respectively. Drawing inspiration from South Louisiana roots music, this album embodies a rich blend of folk and Americana traditions.

Harrington’s music in “In Terms of Major Roots” is characterized by its melodically focused structures and rich lyrical content. The album’s folk-styled song structures are both engaging and thought-provoking.

The melodies are simple yet captivating, often complemented by harmonies that add depth and warmth to the tracks.The rhythms are steady and supportive, driving the narrative without overpowering the lyrics.

Harrington’s instrumentation is diverse and showcases his versatility. He plays the guitar, harmonica, saxophone, washboard, and fiddle, creating a layered and textured sound.

The production is organic and natural, with a focus on acoustic instruments and authentic tones. This approach aligns perfectly with the album’s folk roots and the raw, heartfelt nature of Harrington’s songwriting.

The lyrical themes in “In Terms of Major Roots” delve into significant social and personal issues.

  • “One Demon at a Time” serves as a critique of consumerism, warning against the dangers of material excess and its impact on society.
  • “Happy People” tackles the themes of depression and anxiety, contrasting its upbeat instrumentation with heavy, introspective lyrics.

Standout Tracks:

  • “Happy People” stands out for its compelling lyrics and unique instrumentation. The addition of Chuck Guardia’s tuba and the harmonious background vocals by Ashley Champagne and Theresa Mayeux create a rich, dynamic sound that distinguishes this track from the rest of the album.

The album is tied together by Harrington’s distinctive songwriting and direct production approach. The thematic consistency and organic production style create a seamless listening experience that reflects Harrington’s artistic vision and musical roots.

Harrington’s vocal performances are direct and engaging, effectively conveying the emotional weight of his lyrics. His instrumental prowess is evident across the album, with each instrument adding a unique layer to the overall sound. Notably, his saxophone solo on “One Demon at a Time” marks his return to the instrument after years, adding a personal touch to the track.

The recording and mixing quality of “In Terms of Major Roots” is commendable. The organic production style enhances the album’s natural feel, making the acoustic instruments and vocal performances stand out. This approach complements the album’s themes and adds to its authenticity.

“In Terms of Major Roots” feels like a personal and experimental project for Harrington. It provides an opportunity for him to explore styles and themes that diverge from his previous work with Specklers. The saxophone solo in “One Demon at a Time” and his debut fiddle performance mark significant moments that add to the album’s charm.

Harrington’s songwriting has been favorably compared to legends like Tom Waits and John Prine. His ability to weave compelling narratives with a folk/Americana backdrop places him in good company among these influential artists.

This album is aimed at fans of folk and Americana who appreciate thoughtful, cerebral lyrics and organic instrumentation. Its raw, honest approach will resonate with listeners who seek authenticity in music.

Overall, “In Terms of Major Roots” is a noteworthy addition to Jason Harrington’s discography. It reflects his evolution as an artist and marks a significant shift towards more culturally influenced styles. The album’s heartfelt songwriting and organic production make it a standout project that underscores Harrington’s talent and versatility. This EP not only enhances his body of work but also sets the stage for future explorations in his musical journey.