Mic Harrison and the High Score – ‘Vanishing South’

In Case You Missed It…

Musician Mic Harrison has been a staple in the local Americana music scene for quite some time now, known previously for his work in the well-known Knoxville quartet the V-Roys. Currently, Harrison focuses his efforts on his solo project with backing band the High Score. The group released its newest album, “Vanishing South,” in March of this year. The 11 tracks are available on 180-gram record, on compact disc and via digital download.

While his previous releases have carried a distinct honky-tonk twang to them, this one falls between genres. There’s still the gritty Americana feel with which Harrison and the High Score have become synonymous, but now it’s crossed with heavier ‘90s and ‘00s pop-rock inclinations.

There isn’t a single subpar song on the album. “Woman” comes complete with soft saxophone accompaniment throughout and a wailing guitar solo at the track’s conclusion. It’s those subtle embellishments added into each track that make this album so much more poignant and that will encourage you to revisit it time and again.

An instant favorite is the groovy, instrumental jam “Murder Surf,” which kicks off Side B of the album if you’re listening to the vinyl.

Harrison paints a vivid picture of the South and the surrounding area with songs about travel like “Salt Stained Road” and “Indiana Drag Race,” while “Make Your Peace” is a track about making the most of each moment and cherishing loved ones while they’re around.

Contemplative songwriting paired with attention-grabbing melodies are what set this album apart. This is a release that feels very deliberate and pored over, but not to the point that it becomes lifeless or uninteresting. Set aside 30 minutes of your day and give “Vanishing South” a focused listen. After all, you owe it to yourself as a fellow Knoxvillian to tap into the rich history of the local music scene.

All recorded locally at Wild Chorus, a vintage recording studio in downtown Knoxville, the album’s production quality is crisp from start to finish. Instrumentation is a driving force as well. Harrison and the High Score share an undeniable chemistry, creating a seamless album of melodic tunes, memorable hooks and detailed intricacies.

Finally, “If You Happen to See Me” closes out the album. At two-and-a-half minutes, it’s a relatively short tune, but it’s one that resonates strongly. As an ode to a departed loved one, Harrison sings, “If there’s a chance at least, to keep her close to me, I’d do anything it takes,” at which point the saxophone chimes in, intermingling with soulful guitar picking and vocal harmonies – closing out the fine record and leaving a lasting impression.

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