Mickey Harris – Dog House Blues

Mickey Harris - Dog House BluesMickey Harris has released his fourth solo project, Dog House Blues, a fitting title for a bass player’s CD don’t you think?

Mickey has spent the past 7 years on bass with Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, also singing harmony and occasional lead vocals on her show. He had also worked with Larry Stephenson and Sally Jones after spending much of his youth as a member of The Tipton Family, which included his grandmother.

Dog House Blues was recorded with a core group of musicians – Wayne Benson on mandolin, Jim Van Cleve on fiddle, Josh Williams and Darrell Webb on guitar, Aaron McDaris and Kenny Ingram on banjo, and Mickey holding down the bass and lead vocal spots. Rhonda contributes harmony vocals on three tracks, and Tom T. Hall adds a recitation on one of his songs.

Mickey tells us that he recorded the album throughout this past year, as he could find time, which he suggests was rare.

“I had all the tour dates with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, plus my wife and I had our second child in July. I also stayed quite busy with my 2 year old daughter too.”

In choosing material, Mickey wanted to include both songs that he performs with Rhonda, and ones that he has been singing for years. One that really caught my ear was his rendition of Gene Watson’s huge country hit, Farewell Party.

“I just started to do it by chance with Rhonda. In the middle of one of our shows, she was talking about singing recently with Gene Watson and asked if anyone of us knew one of his songs. Being a huge Gene Watson fan, I told her that I did and stepped up to sing Farewell Party. Since then, it has become my most requested song, so I figured that I should definitely record it on my next project.”

The Nine Pound Hammer and Why Did You Wander are likewise numbers which Mickey performs with The Rage, and he even included a banjo/bass duet, originally recorded by Earl Scruggs.

You Can’t Stop Me From Dreaming is a tune that Kenny Ingram and I would play backstage for fun.  I have always loved tunes that were just bass and banjo.  Plus, I think that it showcases Kenny’s fine banjo playing, and also being a bass player, I wanted to have a song that features the bass.”

We asked Mickey to share a few thoughts about the other songs on the CD…

Copper Creek and Don’t Wait Too Late are two songs that my great Aunt Sophie Tipton (Martha Tipton Haislip) wrote. I have been singing those with my family for years. There are also two Tom T. and Dixie Hall songs on this project. I’ve Got a Home and Take Just A Minute To Thank Him, which features Tom T. on a recitation. It was an absolute honor to have him on the song.

I wrote Coming Home To Stay.  It is sort of true to life for me. I always like to include at least one original tune. Move On In And Stay is an old Ray Price song that just caught my ear, and I thought I would record it someday. I have been saving it for about 10 years waiting for the right project to include it on.

The Blues Are Still The Blues is a song that came from Traditional Grass. I have had the pleasure on singing it on stage with Joe Mullins playing banjo with us a few times.  It is a fun song to do, and the audience seems to like it.

The title cut, Dog House Blues is an old Bill Monroe tune. It was written by the same man (Pee Wee King) who wrote The Tennessee Waltz. I changed it around a little and kind of made it my own version. I thought it was neat since I was a doghouse bass player. Plus, I can’t make any major vehicle purchases without thinking about what instrument I play. It sometimes causes me to have the ‘dog house blues.’

Man… banjo players are lucky.  Ha! Ha!”

All of the music on this project is terrific – good, traditional bluegrass with a country edge from time to time.

The title track will be included on the January edition of Prime Cuts Of Bluegrass, so you can expect to be hearing it on bluegrass radio in the near future.

There are no audio samples online, but you can order a copy of Dog House Blues from Mickey’s web site, or from Rhonda Vincent’s.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.