Anna Mae Mitchell and Pat Harris make pretty (and sometimes eerie) music together as Mitchell & Harris, but as a solo artist, Harris carves out a vastly different niche. His new release, "Hour Before the Mourning" (Wiggle Stump Records), features a host of delicate ballads, most of which would make ideal wedding music - not something you would expect from a title with "mourning" in it. Here, Harris strays far from the folk home he has established as one half of Mitchell and Harris and dives into the shallow end of easy listening territory.
On "Can't Give Much", Harris croons, "I can't afford a ring with a big heavy stone/we'll never have a life that's worry-free. Oh baby, I can't give you much/but you've got me." Who can't relate (and swoon) to that? Even such instrumental piano pieces as "Wake You" and "Ausable Lullaby" are ostensibly emotional. If these songs were put to film, "Wake You" would play as the couple fell in love, while "Lullaby" would draw tears at their break-up.
"I'll Wait for You" has a Colin Devlin-esque style, though it is closer lyrically to Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You into the Dark". (Sample lyric: "I'll wait for you/if I'm the first one gone.") The guitar on "River Song" flaunts a country twang, while "First Color of Fall" mirrors that which is typically found on one of those Time-Life "Best Of" compilations.
Harris uses interludes liberally here, and, as a result, some tracks drag on longer than necessary ("World Left Behind"). Else, "Hour Before the Mourning" is a strong debut with a mature flair that harkens back to the soft rock, love songs of the '70s. You can order a copy of "Hour Before the Mourning" or preview the tracks here on Amazon.com.