Paul Henry Harris Jr, more commonly known as Hank Harris, is a South Dakota legend. He has played with The Red Willow Band, DD and the Fayrohs, and many more bands over a career that has spanned decades. His work with the Deadwood Adams Museum included two CDs entitled Deadwood Songbook and an SDPB video nominated for a Midwest Emmy. He has also written soundtracks for two documentaries aired on Public Broadcasting. As a solo artist, his gifted singing and songwriting have gained him many fans, both in the Black Hills and abroad.
But there is another aspect of Hank unbeknownst to all but his closest friends. Hank is also a gifted photographer. His interest in photography started as a youngster and continued throughout his many fine arts courses during his college career and into adulthood. Today, Hank’s work with photography is as much a meditative practice as it is a pastime. His quirky eye and unique perspective make each photo a unique work of art, produced in very limited quantities.
Hank accepts the challenge and overcomes the obstacles, sidestepping the stereotypes that prevail in his chosen endeavor to construct a musical landscape of his very own. Many artists are content to sound like someone else instead of who they are, not Harris. You can hear who Hank is in his music.
Hank plays in three different musical configurations about 150 nights a year. Anything from weddings and bars to opening up for Merle Haggard, Alice Cooper or The Temptations. Along with Bay Area producer Jimmy Goings and a small army of musicians, Hank has recorded three solo CDs and produced another (Christy Lee Anderson’s “Awakening”), scored and recorded two documentaries for South Dakota Public Television, all while continuing to write music at an dizzying pace. He delves into all these disciplines with the attitude of a wide-eyed explorer in a different land. The Black Hills of South Dakota is home and this beautiful area is a constant source of inspiration on a musical and corporeal level. He makes a concerted effort to stay away from television, cell phones and other artificial gadgetry that would upset that connection he has with nature and the all-important musical process that it initiates.
- Keith Hanaleck, www.muzikman.com