Everything changed for singer-songwriter Tony Harrah about year ago when his wife, and mother of his three children, suddenly passed away. The result of that is a new record, titled Unicorns – the name of the eulogy he gave at her funeral, and we’re delighted to premiere it here on Backseat Mafia. Although written partly before her passing, her shadow looms over it. He told us exclusively:
“When I wrote Unicorns, it was intended to sound out the misfortunes and shortcomings of the everyday Appalachian. I was writing about things I knew, but also trying to find hope in the things I didn’t. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that a great loss was about to occur in my own life, two months before we were set to record the album.
With my family shattered, and my songwriting career now uncertain, I looked at the songs in a different light. They were eerily foreboding, and so the songs took another meaning to me all together. I had written an album about my own life to come. It became therapy before I knew I needed it.”
Unicorns is a showcase for Harrah’s storytelling, and songwriting, as he presents his country/americana with heart firmly on his sleeve – his slightly gruff but immediately likable vocal sweeps over (much like the sweeping imagery he portrays) these heart-stopping, smokey accompaniments. Although he says himself “I kind of thrive on tears,” there’s much more than tear-jerkers, as he wraps his stories up in a kind of Springsteen-centred sentiment, that can be happy, or at least wistful, but is always sincere.
It’s beautiful, affecting and life affirming. Listen to it, here“>
Unicorns is out tomorrow, July 19th.