Home Read Albums Of The Week: Kyp Harness | Kick The Dust

Albums Of The Week: Kyp Harness | Kick The Dust

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “If you aren’t familiar with Kyp Harness, then you have been missing out on one of the most powerful bodies of work any Canadian singer-songwriter has amassed over the past 30 years. With each new release, media outlets from coast to coast have hailed Kyp Harness as a genius, as his songs have been covered by Ron Sexsmith, Daniel Lanois and Mary Margaret O’Hara, among others. Sexsmith has called Harness, “my favourite songwriter… it’s his lyrics that set him apart. They are every bit as powerful as the best Dylan, Cohen and Lennon combined.”

That brilliance is fully displayed once again on Harness’ latest album, Kick The Dust, a collection of nine timely observations of our fraying society, rendered with all the wit, wisdom and just the right amount of folk-rocking flair that Harness’ die-hard fans have come to expect. Standouts on Kick The Dust — including Prodigal Son, Business As Usual and Jesus Wept — demonstrate Harness’s unflinching ability to illuminate the dysfunction at the heart of our society.

It’s hard to discount the weight of experience on Harness’ current work, but his worldview hasn’t changed that drastically since he released his debut album Nowhere Fast in 1991. Back then he was part a unique community of Toronto songwriters that included Sexsmith, Bob Snider and Bob Wiseman (soon to leave Blue Rodeo), whose approach foreshadowed today’s “alt-folk” scene. Harness was (and continues to be) perhaps its most prolific and versatile member, with a string of albums from 1992’s God’s Footstool, to 1998’s pop-flavoured Houdini In Reverse, to 2002’s epic collaboration with The Dinner Is Ruined, The Floating World.

“I started to play music to get the songs out of my head and into the air,” Harness says. “As I refined it, my enthusiasms led me to new disciplines, sometimes yelling out and trying to get to a new intimacy. To play music live excites me and is one of the only things that seems real, so I do it whether for a big audience or on a lonely outpost where no one hears. The essence hasn’t changed. I can’t define that essence, but I do think these songs are as close as they can be to it — right now.”

Indeed, the goal of every true artist is to boil their creativity down to its essence, so it’s hardly a surprise that at this point in his evolution Harness makes music on his own terms, and shares it whenever the need arises. And right now, we should heed the words contained on Kick The Dust as never before.”