Will Payne Harrison’s Tioga Titan

By Brian Rock

Louisiana Country crooner, Will Payne Harrison adds a New Orleans flair to classic Nashville sounds on his third album, Tioga Titan. Lilting Cajun fiddle adds a subtle spice to these ten traditional country ballads and honky-tonk tear jerkers.

The title song, “Tioga Titan,” explores life as a big fish in a small pond. Classic honky-tonk guitar riffs introduce the song as Harrison boasts, “I’m the toughest guy in this town. Just ask the jailer or anyone else.” Surprising 1950’s saxophone pulses punctuate the song and give it a classic midcentury feel as Harrison begins to reassess his rowdy reputation. By song’s end, he urges, “Mamas don’t let your sons end up like me – trapped in some toxic masculinity.” Like Bobby Bare’s classic, “The Winner,” the song points out that there’s a price to pay for being the toughest guy in town.

“Goodbye Sweetheart,” combines classic, weepy, pedal steel with modern circumstances as Harrison laments, “You threw away ten years with a text on my phone.” “Despite My Sin,” adds subtle Cajun fiddle to the pedal steel as he sings a song of praise to his newborn daughter. “Don’t Drink Well Whiskey in the Lone Star State,” is a comic commentary on the state of Texas distilling. “Pretty Little Dancer,” finds Harrison paying homage to his Louisiana roots with a lively Cajun/honky-tonk fusion that’s guaranteed to get you on the dance floor.

Slowing the pace a bit, Harrison croons several tender ballads, backed by pedal steel and haunting fiddle strains. “Broadway Lights,” contemplates the give and take of relationships and holding on too tight as he asks, “If I let you go, will you come back at all.” “Lover’s Arms,” is a yearning moan of separation from a loved one. “Uncle Bordeaux Went to Texas,” is a story narrative about family and music and what “home” really means. “Simple Truths” encourages us to remember life’s little blessings even when we feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges. “The Way,” is a poignant expression of the golden rule. With sparse acoustic guitar and his ubiquitous fiddle, Harrison sings, “I can see the kindness in a stranger holding the door or helping change your tire when you blow out on 24…That’s the way I hope to be. Sharing love with everyone I meet.” A timeless message well told, Harrison reminds us there are more important things in life than money or power.

Coming 180 degrees from his character in the beginning of “Tioga Titan,” Will Payne Harrison shows range and depth in his story telling, and a deep respect for the country music that inspired him.  |  fb  |  buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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