The Real Deal Music Review: Harper Powell – Colors Of My Life

powellcd-cover_webBy Brian Rill

Harper Powell is a BMI songwriter from Salida, Colorado, who started singing not long after she began taking her first steps. This freshman solo CD, Colors Of My Life, is a respectable forty minute collection of folk-grass-inspired ditties. A strong bent of classic rock requires a second listen to appear clearly to the average listener. Like a young Alison Krauss, Harper marries the offbeat visionary style of Syd Barrett with the dark conceptualization of Grace Slick to beget a brand new but still retro-inspired musical statement.
Among highly traditional songs from the public domain like Dusty Miller and Hunting The Buffalo, Harper writes honest biographical verse on And I Want To Know, Colors Of My Life and Broken Now Flying. She sings with the softest courage of someone who laughs alone in a crowded room while reading a novel. Whether or not you understand her message, you definitely get the point. Emotionally vulnerable and a bit pensive, her persuasive voice echos in long drawn-out notes that festoon her acoustic guitar chords like floral arrangements among wicker garden gazebos.
Powerful yet humble, while remaining blissfully beautiful, Harper’s style yields to questions surrounding the innocence of flowers being born after a lightning storm. Dark and brooding held within limits of grace and strain she implores, “And I want to know, how can my heart be broken if no one ever tore it out of my chest? I’m on a steep mountain crest, lonely.” Deep introspective lyrics flow beside smooth steady guitar playing. A three-octave range delves deep into the cadence of her vocals riding the highest wave of sweet falsetto before cracking through into a repressed passionate rasp. “Maybe I’m missing something, maybe I skipped over a clue. Maybe a chunk is cut out, but by whom?”

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Pickin’ Sisters

Article and photos by Ericka Kastner

Early exposure to musical performance prompted two Salida teens, known on stage as The Powell Sisters, to enter the Colorado bluegrass music scene. Years later, they’re strumming their way into house parties and music festivals across the country.

Phoebe Powell, 16, says she was first inspired to learn the fiddle during a PBS broadcast performance of Celtic Woman. As she watched the band’s fiddler dance barefoot across the stage, then-9-year-old Phoebe told her parents she wanted to learn to play the fiddle. Six and a half years later, not only can Phoebe dance while she fiddles, she also sings harmonies beside her sister on stage and last year added plucking the banjo to her repertoire.

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