Best of What's Next: Brett Harris

Music Features Brett Harris
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Hometown: Durham, N.C.
Album: Man of Few Words
For Fans Of: The Beatles, Ben Folds, Josh Ritter

Brett Harris’ early musical education was a basic one: He grew up in a small town in Virginia in a house with bunch of Beatles records and a piano that his mother played on Sundays.

And after listening to his debut LP, Man of Few Words (out now), his background is hardly surprising.

The songs are classic pop revival—simple, clean, accessible and bright. Opening track “I Found Out” bops along to the steady strum of an acoustic guitar, and just begs you to drive with your windows down; meanwhile, “Mansfield” is a doo-wop party tune complete with tambourine and handclaps, and the album’s title bouncy title track calls to mind four mop-tops in a London studio, oooing and aahing, heads bobbing side to side.

Harris, now based in Durham, N.C., says this poppy goodness is exactly what he and producer/collaborator Jeff Crawford were going for when they recorded Words at Crawford’s Arbor Ridge Studios. “I wanted the record to have that summertime feel, where you would be able to drive around and enjoy sunny music,” Harris says. “There’s a huge movement of low-fi bands out there, but we wanted something that had more of a classic, timeless feel to it.”

And while he realizes it can be “dangerous,” in his own words, to classify yourself as a pop musician these days, Harris believes in the genre enough to do it anyway. “Pop music has a lot of brilliant minds,” he says, rattling off names like Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and his obvious hero Paul McCartney. “Creative minds with a superb sense of melody. You just hope to learn from the ones that have done it before and done it so masterfully.”