(2011) White Hat

Big Harp

... read moreLos Angeles-based alt-country duo Big Harp, comprised of onetime Omaha scenesters-turned-husband and wife Christopher Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney, make the most of their partnership and their roots on White Hat, their full-length debut. Where Senseney contributes the country and folk...

38′:02″ 11 Songs

1
Big Harp
Nadine
3:48
2
Big Harp
Everybody Pays
3:16
3
Big Harp
Goodbye Crazy City
4:27
4
Big Harp
Steady Hand Behind The Wheel
3:05
5
Big Harp
All Bets Are Off
3:15
6
Big Harp
Some Old World I Used To Know
3:38
7
Big Harp
Here's Hoping
3:44
8
Big Harp
Let Me Lend My Shoulder
2:35
9
Big Harp
White Hat
2:15
10
Big Harp
Out In The Field
5:02
11
Big Harp
Oh Nadine
2:57
Released 13 September 2011, 2011 Saddle Creek

Review

Los Angeles-based alt-country duo Big Harp, comprised of onetime Omaha scenesters-turned-husband and wife Christopher Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney, make the most of their partnership and their roots on White Hat, their full-length debut. Where Senseney contributes the country and folk influences of his childhood and from his stint in Americana outfit Art in Manila, Drootin (best known for playing with brooding indie rockers the Good Life) lays down rock-solid rhythms. The result is a sound that captures their country boy-meets-city girl story, landing somewhere between a honky tonk bar and a hip lounge. As White Hat moves from rambling hard-luck tales to foot-stomping bar ballads to delicate love songs, the songwriting recalls the moodiness of Nick Cave and humor of Townes Van Zandt, never getting too heavy or silly thanks to Senseney’s warm baritone and subtle, honey-dripped drawl. Senseney’s delivery is generally laid-back and cool, but there are surprises, too -- the swaggering guitar and syncopated percussion of “Out in the Field” help to slowly propel his vocals to their most fiery. Meanwhile, storytelling shines on the saloon piano-driven opening track “Nadine,” following a woman who takes off to California to leave behind her lover, only to meet a new man who is unfaithful, and has a postscript in closer “Oh Nadine,” an appeal to come home written from the perspective of her father. Like a great pair of shoes (or in this case, maybe cowboy boots), White Hat is comfortable and un-fussy, a natural choice for a road trip or a night at the bar. It falls short in not taking enough advantage of Drootin's repertoire -- for example, only tracks like “Let Me Lend My Shoulder” hint at the angelic vocals she has to offer -- but all in all, it's a promising introduction that will leave listeners eager for more. ~ Chrysta Cherrie