Son of the legendary singer-songwriter Roy, Nick Harper was born in London and raised in Wiltshire. Having played the guitar from the age of 10 and, surrounded by the likes of Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and Dave Gilmour as he grew up, it was no surprise when Nick made his recording debut on his father’s Whatever Happened to Jugula? in 1985.
Nick’s talent and energy entranced Roy’s fans and it was inevitable that he would begin touring and recording in his own right. The 1994 EP Light at the End of the Kennel was swiftly followed by his powerful 1995 debut long player Seed, prompting The Independent to describe him as ‘hugely talented’.
In 1996 Nick met Squeeze frontman and songwriter Glenn Tilbrook. Tilbrook was so impressed that he offered Nick a job playing with and supporting Squeeze and promptly signed Nick to his own label, Quixotic Records. Following tours in the UK, USA and Japan, Nick recorded the 1998 album Smithereens with Tilbrook as producer. This album and subsequent 40-date solo tour, including dates in New York and Glastonbury, confirmed Nick as a formidable talent in his own right. He teamed up with Tilbrook again on 2000?s highly acclaimed album Harperspace. This is the album that confirmed his position at the forefront of a new generation of British acoustic performers.
To call Nick a superlative singer/songwriter could put his highly lauded guitar talent in the shade, and to call him a guitarist’s guitarist might slight his distinctive, soulful voice and passionate songs. Not forgetting the wild ride that is one of his live shows – from personal introspection to biting political satire via a charmingly caustic wit that would make Groucho Marx proud. He often segues from his own compositions to well-loved covers he makes his own – he takes on Presley, Zappa, Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin, Monty Python and Public Enemy (yes, on an acoustic guitar). He also has the alarming ability to break guitar strings almost by sheer force of will… and then change them without dropping a beat. For over a decade, he has been dazzling audiences and reviewers alike with this heady mix of virtuosity, boyish charm, showmanship and sheer bravado.
After the success of seventh studio album The Last Guitar, Nick has again teamed up with Tchad Blake to produce a classic recording, Riven. Nick also calls on old friends Jeremy Stacey (‘Blood Songs’), Ben Jones (‘Harperspace’) Jon leveller (‘Blood Songs’) Jakko Jakksyk and his daughter Lily to add to his own performances. Nick has also found time to play on new recordings with Lana Del Rey, Newton Faulkner and Steven Wilson this year, via his sixth appearance at Glastonbury.
‘One of the finest guitarists of his generation, his soaring vocal range and propensity for epic song place him somewhere between Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley’ – Mojo
‘With this amount of melodic and sonic ingenuity, Nick Harper could be dubbed “the new Beck” – but that would be a bigger compliment to Mr Hansen than it would be to Harper’ – Guitar
This show takes place at The Kings Arms, one of our favourite small venues in town. It’s a great independent theatre and arts hub, which also happens to be one of the best real ale pubs around, and is just a five-minute walk from Deansgate, just down Bridge Street.