Kyp Harness – The Wrong Way & Can a Poor Man Get a Fair Trial?
In an age of MP3s and iPods, Kyp Harness has decided to make his stand with the release not of a double album, but of two simultaneously released albums. They are called The Wrong Way and Can a Poor Man Get a Fair Trial?
“I was reading a piece written by ex-Wall Street guy, commenting on what’s going on these days,” Harness relates. “He predicted there would eventually be blood in the streets, and said we were on our way either to neo-feudalism or a renaissance. Here’s my little nudge in favour of the renaissance, hopefully.”
The Wrong Way is electric pop ballads. Can a Poor Man Get a Fair Trial? is dark acoustic story ballads.
“They all came out of me in the last year or so,” Harness says. “I don’t understand it, but I didn’t see any reason to hide it.”
Both albums are produced, musically arranged and played on by multi-instrumentalist wunderkind Paul Linklater (Bidiniband, The Pinecones).
“Paul’s brilliant,” Harness says. “I just turned the tunes over to him and my faith was rewarded a thousandfold.”
“The dark acoustic story ballads on Poor Man came when I was studying a lot of parables and they seemed to be a way you could comment on the world without mentioning the world. The fact that most of them end in death, sometimes really violently, as in “The Assassin,” “The Old Man of the Mountain” and “The Snake” is just a coincidence. I think there is also lot of humour in the tunes. We recorded them live with Brent Randall on bass.” That album ends with the piano-driven “Every Day Has Troubles Of Its Own.”
“I thought I was done with writing for awhile after that, but then the tunes of The Wrong Way came up, more poppy and rockin’. A lot of them are more piano-based – a new addition to my sound – and personal, with love songs like “Baby Gets the Blues” and “Right Where You Are,” and my own personal anthems “Prophet” and “Start Anew,” which a lot of people have been digging live. I guess there’s a more hopeful vibe overall of looking into the future, renaissance or no – and of course there’s a Christmas song.” These tunes were recorded live with Paul on drums, and he filled the rest in later.
“I put The Wrong Way first in the packaging, thinking people might get into it more, but it could have easily gone the other way around.”
The albums follow on the heels of 2011’s Resurrection Gold of which CBC’s Bob Mesereau said “He’s a stone genius – a Toronto version of a Lucinda Williams or a Nick Cave” and The Globe and Mail said “He packs more fine lines into five minutes than Shakespeare and Ron Sexsmith combined.”
Between the two of them the albums contain 25 songs and leave little emotional territory uncovered – as noted, one even has a Christmas song.
Released together The Wrong Way/Can a Poor Man Get a Fair Trial? is Kyp Harness’s tenth – no, make that tenth and eleventh – independent album(s).