J.P. Harris and The Tough Choices play Country Music. Period. No “pop-,” “alt-,” “rock-,” “folk-,” etc. prefixes. Sick and tired of the modern Pop-Country filth broadcast shamelessly and persistently across our beautiful countrysides, The Tough Choices set out to right the wrongs done to a music so classically and quintessentially American. As we speak, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Carl Smith, and countless other champions of Honky Tonk are rolling in their graves, groaning with disgust over the watered-down contemporary excuse that the “Country” music industry presents us for music. Save a few Randy Travis gems and Alan Jackson hits, this flim-flam is pathetic, at best.
When The Tough Choices began, there were only two rules: keep it country, and keep it simple. They have done both, yet still weave burning pedal steel leads and painfully genuine guitar solos with the cool calm of a Spaghetti-Western Clint Eastwood. The Tough Choices have been described as such: “…imagine that somehow, defying the laws of nature, Hank Williams and Lemmy Kilmister hatched an egg…this egg was incubated under a neon light for twelve years (which is approximately the time Wild Turkey ages in the bottle), and were hatched in a juke joint…” These ruffians draw on influences ranging from early Western Swing to rough-edged Truck Driving ballads; Bob Wills all the way to Merle Haggard 15 or so years after that funny album cover with the Chihuahua in his arms. Think of them as the perfect gentlemen to bring home for Christmas, if only you could get the stains off their Wranglers and the cheap whiskey off their breath.
Having hit the road at the young age of 14, J.P. Harris has been living the songs he writes for well over a decade. With a guitar always in his hands, he began playing and singing early country standards around sheep-herding camps in the southwest, and later in hobo jungles and on freight trains across the country. Living and working the past ten years as carpenter, logger, apple-picker, banjo-builder, busker, and a slew of other low-paid, dirty-handed trades in rural Vermont, J.P. decided to take to the road once again as the neon and stage lights beckoned relentlessly. Relocating closer to his home-city of Montgomery, AL in September of 2011, J.P. now calls Music City (Nashville, TN) home.
With no more than a few months at age twelve of music instruction, J.P. Harris is truly a self-taught player and songwriter…his songs are simple recollections of the many paths he’s trod; heartbroken & heart-breaker, gentleman & lowlife, home-bound working man & listless wanderer. With a rare ear for authenticity, J.P. pens Honky Tonk ballads ranging from destitute pleas of the drunkard to upbeat barroom anthems, always maintaining a simplicity and sharp wit only found in a road-worn author.