Not all bands start out the traditional way. For Don Harrison, it was his experience making documentaries for his daughter’s travel Lacrosse team that unearthed a latent interest in songwriting, which led to a full blown CD recording several years later.
Don’s friend, Steve Willett, runs Crosse Over Lacrosse, a lacrosse exchange program for 13-15 year old girls with the lacrosse community in the Manchester area of England. “One year we send a team over there to play and stay with English families,” Don explains, “and the next year they do the same.” In 2005 Don traveled with the girls as a coach. “After our trip that year, I decided to make a video of the girls’ adventures,” he said.
Any parent might create such a memento. But what Don had originally intended to be a simple slideshow evolved into a full-length motion picture. “When I went to do a second video after our 2007 trip, I had some pictures of the girls in goofy crowns at Warwick Castle, trying on clothes in boutiques, etc. and I thought: ‘why don’t I get a karaoke version of “Sharp Dressed Man,” rewrite the lyrics and make it “Sharp Dressed Girls,” and get my daughters, Amy and Jennie, to sing it?”
You see where this is going? “Over the next few years, I rewrote lyrics to a number of other songs for subsequent videos. Gradually, the whole family – Amy, Jennie, wife Karen and myself – got into the singing act.”
Don taught himself how to read and play music, and started writing songs. He eventually wrangled up a few musician friends, hired a vocal coach, and penned enough original music for a full length CD, Climate Change. They call their music 21st Century American Folk Music. “The original folks artists didn’t call their music folk – they were just telling stories – we’re doing the same thing.”
Harrison Country, as they call themselves, are having so much fun, they’re already working on another recording project.
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