Show Review – Harlan Pepper: New Age Old School

Harlan Pepper at Cameron-House, Toronto, Ontario APRIL 2014Review and Photo By Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder

Like so many young people these days the four members of the Hamilton based band ‘Harlan Pepper’ were simply born in the wrong generation. These guys were clearly raised on the great music of the 60’s and 70’s and thanks are owed to their parents for that. I could easily believe a blurry 35mm of them playing a 60’s folk festival, confirming that the members of ‘Harlan Pepper’ are indeed musical time travelers. I could effortlessly picture them opening for The Allman Brothers or Bob Dylan in his electric phase. These days, and more realistically, they would be well suited to open for a group like The Sheepdogs or even Old Crow Medicine Show.

Currently signed to Six Shooter Records ‘Harlan Pepper’ has an amazing compositional aptitude. In fact HP’s song writing is some of the best in the business and what really makes them shine. Their first album ‘Young and Old’ was very much a blend of roots rock, folk and country. While their latest album, ‘Take out a $20 and live life to the fullest’ is laden with psychedelic and classic rock influences while still very much involving elements of roots and folk. When listening to their music one cannot help but picture an aged rocker incorporating their style built up over a lifetime of intuition, so it is all the more impressive that the members of ‘Harlan Pepper’ are all just 21 years old. In fact they have been playing packed shows at bars long before they could actually drink there.

‘Take out a $20 and live life to the fullest’ was produced by Colin Linden and recorded at RCA studio B in Nashville, Tennessee. The same place where Dylan’s record Nashville Skyline was recorded. Lead singer Dan Edmonds, who actually looks like a young Dylan, played guitar, banjo and keys throughout the set. Rock solid bassist Thompson Wilson also occasionally takes the reigns on lead vocals, Jimmy Hayes plays a bright, plunky 60’s style lead guitar and Marlon Nicolle is simply a whirlwind on the drums.

The Cameron house was sparsely populated up to 15 minutes before the show was to start, but suddenly a massive influx of friends, fans and family bombarded this little queen street gem. HP played ‘Take out a $20 and live life to the fullest’ cover to cover, and that was just their first set of the night. Oh did I mention that this was their 8th show that day to celebrate the release of their sophomore album. It is clear that Harlan Pepper is gearing up for a musical nostalgia revolution.  Check them out online at

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