Harper and Midwest Kind

  • Composer
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Blues, World, Soul


Detroit MI United States

Sounds Like

World music meets funky blues fusion

Digital Location

http://www.harper.biz musicpage.com/harper


Member since: 04/26/2012 Year Founded: 2000


Mail alt 16x12 Bobbi Llewellyn
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Bobbi Llewellyn

Grass Lake

Manager/ Booking Agent 586.420.4728


  • Original material: 04 hrs : 00 min
  • Cover material: 00 hrs : 30 min
  • CDs sold: 50000
  • Original Songs:
  • CDs released: 10
  • Digital songs sold: 8000



An amalgamation of blues, rock, soul and world music, multi award winning Australian singer/ songwriter "Peter D. Harper" creates a heady mix of roots music through his creative use of the harmonica, and the haunting drone of the didgeridoo. By combining traditional and modern influences, borrowing from Western and World music, Harper has created a highly original take on the roots genre which many have labeled "World Blues". His innovative use of electronic enhancement and feedback, breaks the traditional boundaries of the harmonica, giving his music its distinctive harmonics and effects. The powerful guitar sounds and the unique drone of the didgeridoo create raw yet eerie sonic textures, some how sounding primal and contemporary at the same time. No Depression Magazine,'s (USA) Rod Ames, adds that Harper " has written and arranged some of the most soulful blues rock filled music I have ever heard". Harper is backed by his talented Detroit based band "Midwest Kind"

Born in the United Kingdom, Harper’s musical journey began early, performing in brass bands playing the trumpet and euphonium. At the age of ten, his family moved half way round the world to Perth, Western Australia, and his Grandfather introduced Harper to the harp. In Perth, one of the most isolated cities in the world, there was a thriving blues and folk scene. The blues had a rawness, an honesty and a passion of the soul which spoke to Harper deeply. Then, like every blues lover, Harper began his journey backwards to discover the deeper roots of the music.

"I think Muddy Waters really hit me hard. There was something incredibly special about his sound, his powerful voice and his songs. I would sing his songs constantly. I also really dug Sonny Boy Williamson II as well. I loved his rhythmic use of his harp. I was also inspired by a pretty wide range of players and styles like Little Walter, Sugar Blue and Stevie Wonder who guide me in my harmonica playing. "But Harper did not stop his search with the blues. It was a chance meeting with a Hopi "Dan Running Bear" in Silverton, Colorado, that led him down the path to rediscovering the music of his homeland. Fascinated with the spirituality and culture of the American Natives, he found the same qualities present in the Australian Aborigines of his homeland. On adding the native didgeridoo to his music, Harper says "It is a sound I grew up with, so it seemed natural to add it to my songwriting particularly when the lyrics related to the plight of the Aborigines in Australia. When I added the didgeridoo to the more traditional blues instruments, it worked. The deep woody qualities and its haunting drone seemed to enhance the emotional quality of my stories. The didgeridoo is a spiritual and healing instrument, and it seemed blues music accepted it with open arms. I also owe my life to a tribe of nomadic Aborigines who saved my father and I from starvation when we were trapped at The Fitzroy Crossing (Western Australia), in between two fast flowing river torrents. They gave us enough food and water to last us until the flood had subsided. I feel my music is my way of giving back to these wonderful people".

Prior to his introduction to American audiences, Harper released six CDs to great acclaim in his homeland of Australia. Harper received a Gold Record for "Sailing Australia" (America's Cup Theme). Harper had the honor of backing Blues Legend "Muddy Waters" on harmonica for his West Australian tour. In 1994 he moved to Melbourne, Victoria and released his first album, "Tears of Ice"(New Market). This was followed by "Yesterday Is Over" in 1996 with his band Blue Devil and "Live At The Soup Kitchen" (recorded in Detroit) in 1997 as a soloist. In 2000, he released "Glass on The Stepping Stone" and "Live At St. Andrew’s" in 2002. In 2003 he released "Way Down Deep Inside", for which he received two harmonica awards and “Album of the Year” honor from US Magazine's "Guide to the Best of the Blues Harmonicas & Beyond" USA. Over the years Harper has received multiple Australian Blues Awards for “Male Vocalist of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” and “Acoustic Artist of the Year.”(TREV). Harper was also invited to perform at a Royal Gala Performance for the Queen of England in Perth, Western Australia.

His prolific recording career and memorable stage performances allowed Harper to take his music beyond Australia. He’s played in the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and France. He first started performing in the United States in 1996, and has toured here regularly since. It was on one of these tours that he caught the attention of Blind Pig Records, which made him their first international signing. With a home at a U.S. label and growing appreciation for his music from American audiences, Harper made the permanent move to the U.S. His animated shows have been well received at blues festivals, world music festivals, and by fans of jam band music.Harper has become a huge favorite on the world wide festival scene with an average of 20 to 30 festivals and 200 club dates per year. . It was during one of these recent festival appearances that Chip Eagle, Publisher for Blues Revue/ Blueswax enthusiastically offered "Harper is the most exciting act on the live scene today". He was also invited to perform harmonica on stage several times with US super group- "Journey".

Harper released three successful CDs through Blind Pig Records USA- " Down To The Rhythm" (2005), "Day By Day" (2007) and "Stand Together" (2010). All three CDs appeared in the top ten on the Billboard Charts and The Roots Report. They also reached number 1 on the Sirius XM Bluesville Charts.

Harper's CD “Live at the Blues Museum” (April 16, 2012- Blu Harp Records) was recorded on a cold wintery night on Saturday December 17, 2011 at Canada’s only Blues Museum, Place Concorde, Windsor, Canada. This was a very special evening for Harper as he was inducted into the Blues Museum Hall of Fame before a packed house of rabid music fans. This was also Harper’s first live CD in 10 years and it has proven to be worth the wait. This CD features 15 original tracks, over 75 minutes of playing from his three Blind Pig Releases “Stand Together” (2010), “Day By Day” (2007), “Down To The Rhythm” (2005) and his two independent releases: “Way Down Deep Inside” (2003) and “Glass On The Stepping Stone” (2000). “Live at the Blues Museum” gives the listener a portal to the magic that happens at a Harper concert. Rambles Magazine (USA) describes Harper as “a master Chicago-style harmonica player“. His extraordinary harmonica skills demonstrate electric ferocity to gentle acoustic finesse. Harper’s powerful soulful voice rips through this 15-song set with passion and integrity. His use of the deeply spiritual didgeridoo is definitely not a gimmick, but an extension of his song writing and arrangement skills. Harper’s unique sound is reflected in his use of rhythms and a tribal spirit he experienced growing up in Perth, Western Australia. . "Live at the Blues Museum" got to number 1 on the Sirius/ XM National Radio Charts, USA/Canada. The new CD received "Best Live Recording" award by Blues411, New York, USA. 2012. Windsor, Canada's Television network- CFTV 34 aired "An Evening with Peter D. Harper" in the Spring of 2013. Harper was also nominated for two -2013 Detroit Music Awards- "Outstanding Artist" and "Outstanding Recording". Harper released a new acoustic blues CD with Motor City Josh called "Bare Bones" (Blu Harp Records) in October, 2013 and followed up with a very successful national tour. He also received a 2013 "Happy to Have the Blues Award"- Best Instrumentalist" -"Big City RnBlues Magazine. USA. Harper recently won a 2014 Detroit Music Award for "Outstanding World Music Vocalist". He was also nominated for an incredible FIVE -2014 Detroit Music Awards- "Outstanding Acoustic Vocalist", "Outstanding World Music Vocalist", "Outstanding World Music Songwriter", "Outstanding Acoustic Recording- Bare Bones CD" and "Outstanding Blues Recording- Bare Bones CD". Harper and Midwest Kind will appear nationwide on PBS TV Series :"'Backstage Pass" in early 2015.

Harper is at the top of his game with "Stand Together" (2010) and his exceptional live CD "Live at The Blues Museum" (2012) and his acoustic "Harper and Motor City Josh" "Bare Bones" CD (2013) . These CDs showcase his trademark powerful soulful voice, virtuoso harp playing, haunting didgeridoo, deeply, soulful grooves and unparalleled songwriting and compelling lyrics. With his chops at their best and his band "Midwest Kind" sharing his vision, Harper will continue to turn heads of audiences who are looking for originality, honesty, passion and skill in modern roots music.


Detroit Music Award "Outstanding Vocalist" (2014)

Best Instrumentalist "Big City Blues Magazine" USA (2013)

Best Live CD "Blues 411", New York. USA (2012)

Inducted into the Blues Museum Hall of Fame, Canada South Blues Society, Windsor Canada. (2011)

The Bronte Blues Awards, United Kingdom "Best Instrumentalist" (2009)

Acoustic Artist of the Year TREV, Australia (2005)

Male Vocalist of the Year - "Australian Blues Awards" (2004)

Song of the Year "Australian Blues Awards", (2004)

Album of the Year, Nasty Harp, Sweet Harp Awards- "Guide to Best of the Blues Harmonicas and Beyond" USA . "Way Down Deep Inside" CD. (2003)

Raw Talent Awards Number 1 Song "Never Change the Way She Feels", Australia (2001)

Duke Award Yamaha Rock, Australia

Gold Record "Sailing Australia" America's Cup Theme

Detroit Live Magazine

April 02, 2012
Eric Harabadian

"Live at the Blues Museum"- This disc is a prime example when sublime inspiration and diverse cultures collide; beautiful things blossom!. You've got Australian singer/songwriter Peter Harper paired with mid Michigan musicians Matt Besey (Guitar/vocals), Chris Wiley Smith (Bass/ djembe/vocals) and Scott Key (Drums) for a performance that is riveting and truly one of a kind! This is from a recent show recorded December 17, 2011 in Windsor, Canada and features Harper and company at the peak of their powers. All of the tunes are Harper originals and although he is considered a "blues" musician of sorts, none of the songs follow any 12 bar cycles or patterns. He infuses much of the material with hefty dollops of funk, soul and even world beat elements. And many of the themes deal with issues of spirituality, love, connectivity and enlightenment. In addition to his spell binding acumen on harmonica, Harper also integrates the Australian...didgeridoo into the mix for a captivating and haunting effect. Eric Harabadian, Detroit Live Magazine, April, 2012.

Modern Rock Review

April 02, 2012
Karyn Albano

Harper is an original, playing the harmonica like an authentic Chicago bluesman, singing about unity and love like a member of peacenik jam band, belting crisp vocals like a straight-up classic rock performer, and then pioneering the didgeridoo into these popular forms of modern music, to make it all timeless. He intricately weaves these sounds together and makes it all very entertaining and fun in the process. Unique and quality music of this kind is truly a rare treat.

Karyn Albano, Modern Rock Review, April 2012.

Chicago Concert Goers

December 10, 2011
Dave Miller

I first saw Harper when he opened for Anne McCue in 2004 at FitzGeralds and made a note to see him again. While top-notch bluesmen are common around these parts, it's not every day that you see someone play a didgeridoo. Well, it was a long time coming, but I finally saw Harper again Friday at the Berwyn roadhouse. I wasn't the only one marking time, either. "Welcome to FitzGerald's, everybody" Harper said after his first two numbers. "It's been too long".By then, the Australian musician had already reminded me why he so impressed me on the same stage seven years ago. "Harper may hail from Down Under, but everything about him is a cut above- from his songwriting to his harp playing to his singing to his vibe to his rapport with the crowd. And then there's the didgeridoo, a wind instrument developed by the Aboriginal people of Australia's Northern Territory some 1,500 years ago. Harper played three different didgeridoos, each measuring between four to five feet long. The longer the length, the lower the key. The didgeridoo is so unique that it could come across as a gimmick in lesser hands, but what's remarkable about Harper is how he seamlessly blends the wood instrument into his soulful blues. He incorporates the didgeridoo's droning sound naturally. Looking like he just returned from a journey into The Outback, Harper opened with "Love = Peace = Freedom, a song from his 2010 album "Stand Together". "Love, love, love, love," he sang, "equals peace equals freedom". The song was a melting of equal parts Australia, 60s San Francisco and Chicago blues. The idealism continued in "Not My Brother" which featured a big harp closing. "I was born in Chicago", Harper joked after the song. "I have that accent". While the didgeridoos visual presence can overshadow Harper's mastery of the harmonica, there's no doubt that Harper can stand tall with the town's standout blues harp players, and even teach some of them about the value of restraint. His playing is never showy, but comes from deep in his soul to serve the song. "Chill Out" and "Last Cup of Coffee" featured his flowing harmonica. Then it was time to break out one of his unique instruments on "Ill Go Home" "I feel like some didgeridoo", Harper said. "I just can't get enough of it". Who can, especially on the weekend when you have time on your side. He switched between the didgeridoo and the harp during the song, and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. The fun "Gimme The Money" saw Harper toss in a couple lines from Barrett Strong"s "Money (That's What I Want). A three-piece band from the Detroit area backed Harper. He used them much like Hendrix used his bands, as percolating and kicking frames to his exploratory playing. Harper said he, too, is living in Detroit these days, but that shouldn't come as a big surprise. The guy is unique. I've made a note not to wait seven years to see him again. Dave Miller, Chicago Concert Goers. Listed in the Top Shows of 2011, Chicago!!!!!

Rambles Magazine

August 28, 2010
Michael Scott Cain

Harper is an Australian blues-rock musician who, in an effort to bring his own culture to the blues, has added the didgeridoo to his music. A master Chicago-style harmonica player, with elements of Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson in his playing, he also possesses a strong voice and a deep, almost mystical approach to music. The didgeridoo, hovering below the more traditional blues instruments, along with the frequent use of Native-American rhythms, adds to the mystery. This man is doing something new. Harper is an original, singing about unity and love like a 1960s hippie, playing the harmonica like a '50s rhythm 'n' bluesman, and singing like a '70s soul man, but using the didgeridoo to make all of this timeless. At this point, he has pretty much left the blues behind and is working at creating his own genre. His is exciting, deep and mysterious music that deserves the widest possible audience. Rambles Magazine, August, 2010.

No Depression

May 01, 2010
Rebel Rod Ames

Peter D. Harper, with his latest record, "Stand Together", has written and arranged some of the most soulful, blues-rock filled music I’ve heard in quite some time. The man can blow a harp like no body’s business; and did I mention he has created some of the most soulful, most blues-rock filled music I have heard in quite some time? However, this is just skimming the surface of what this phenomenal artist emits from this 12 song CD consisting of his Michigan-based touring band, Midwest Kind. Harper enlists the sounds of blues, rock, R & B, and adds a strong element of world music, as evidenced by the use of the aboriginal musical instrument didgeridoo. In fact, Mr. Harper himself plays this incredibly recognizable musical instrument commonly played by the native peoples of the “Outback”.

He intricately weaves its mysterious sound into several of these very uniquely original tunes. His use of the didgeridoo in combination with the more traditional musical instruments (i.e.; electric guitar, drums, Hammond and Wurlitzer, etc.) adds an eerie, wild sound from down under that lures the listener in, and almost savagely places its hooks into the listener’s sense of hearing. He or she is seemingly left dangling there, metaphorically speaking, totally taken into custody by this incredible combination of sounds. As the listener progresses through the album, it’s as if he or she is trekking through a jungle of musical notes in conjunction with other strange sounds, creating an extremely textured wall of musical vegetation and undergrowth. You can feel and hear the richness growing all around, eventually smothering the listener in a symbolic quicksand of wonderfully strange sounds. It’s a musical jungle one will never want to leave. Rebel Rod Ames, "No Depression Ezine", USA May, 2010

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