NICK HARPER - MIRACLES FOR BEGINNERS:
Nick Harper - Miracles For Beginners
Released: 2007 (Sangraal Records)
- Miracles For Beginners
- Blue Sky Thinking
- The Field of the Cloth of Gold
- Magic Feather
- 2 Secs
- Your Love Has Saved Me From Myself
I'd like to thank Crispin at Crookwood, Foxy Fowler, Mercedes Murray and
Zand for the loan of precious equipment without which this recording would
not have been half as good; Ian at SE Electronics; Malcolm and Neil at
Newtone Strings and George Lowden for making a guitar that makes writing
and playing even more enjoyable.
Also Lily for being a bright presence in the studio and recording Margaret; Justin
for much valued advice and friendship and Jackie for accidentally-on-purpose
humming the songs she inspired and making dinner whilst I was 'working'.
I am, currently, Nick Harper
Hey, thanks folks!
MOJO Magazine August 2007:
Nick Harper ****
Miracles For Beginners Sangraal
Seventh time lucky for the Bard of Wiltshire
At home covering Public Enemy's Black Steel one minute
and Frank Zappa's Titties And Beer the next, Nick Harper has often
allowed his hugely entertaining live act to overshadow his talent.
One of the finest guitarists of his generation, his soaring vocal
range and propensity for epic song place him somewhere between Rufus
Wainright and Jeff Buckley. Thus far, however, putting his musical
freedom before the demands of career, his talents have gone largely
unrewarded. Miracles For Beginners, his most focused, warm and triumphant
album to date, could right that wrong, indeed, the largely acoustic
material situates him loosely in the same ballpark as his father,
Roy, while plentiful highlights, such as Evo (a beautiful meditation
on Bolivia's president Morales), the Zepp-esque guitar slide of
2 Secs and the pastoral grace of Magic Feather suggest that at long
last Nick Harper has discovered where he belongs.
NICK HARPER - Miracles For Beginners
I believe in Miracles...ahem
This album is simply superb. There really isn't any better way to
put it. Nick Harper has the enviable combination of skills that
enables him not just to write a killer tune, but also, to be able
to get it down on record in a way that most artists simply cannot
match, and on Miracles for Beginners it all comes together in spectacular
Opening strongly with the title track, Harper immediately allays
any fears that he has finally made a bad album. With a definite
Spanish feel to the guitar work, this is a fantastically written
allegory to the everyday miracle that is falling in love. With beautiful
subtlety, and with his trademark humour, Harper draws the listener
in, and by the end of this first track, he has pretty much won the
Blue Sky Thinking is not dissimilar to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were
Here in many ways, with Harper's lilting voice and flawless finger-picked
guitar making short work of a beautifully crafted song of desire
and unrequited love. One of the most accessible tracks on the album,
and one of the best.
Proving that he can turn his songwriting hand to just about anything,
Harper's narrative of the 1520 meeting between the English and French
monarchs in The Field of the Cloth of Gold is simply exemplary.
Well written, modern folk songs are few and far between, but in
Nick Harper it is a skill which is alive and well. It is a breathtaking
departure from the norm, and if there is as ambitious an idea executed
so well this year by anyone working in popular music, I can't wait
to hear it.
Few allegories to racism will reference both an albino rook and
an animated film featuring a young elephant, but it is a challenge
which Nick Harper seems to relish. The song in question is Magic
Feather, and its whimsical approach is in stark contrast to its
Harper's soulful vocal talents really come to the fore in the emotionally
charged 2 Secs. It is a thought-provoking, despair-charged song
which is not so much depressing, as resigned to the fact that this
is about as good as life gets. This is both the musical highlight,
and emotional low, of this album.
The power of the music can easily mask the sharpness of Harper's
wit, but this should not be overlooked, as it adds a depth and an
edge to the overall experience which elevates him above other similar
artists. Simple is a superb paean to mediocrity, ironically celebrating
the pre-packaged, easy cook, disposable attitudes prevalent in modern
To sum up, this is an album which, for fans of great songwriters
and great guitarists, is an essential acquisition. New listeners
will be hooked, and old fans will be satisfied with Harper's latest
output. Simply outstanding.