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Nick Harper - Harperspace


Miracles For Beginners

Nick Harper - Miracles For Beginners
Released: 2007 (Sangraal Records)


  1. Miracles For Beginners
  2. Blue Sky Thinking
  3. The Field of the Cloth of Gold
  4. Magic Feather
  5. Evo
  6. 2 Secs
  7. Always
  8. Your Love Has Saved Me From Myself
  9. Communication
  10. Simple


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 fashion.
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 battle.
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 subject matter.
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 society
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.


Nick Harper - Harperspace