Remember Jason Mraz? The early 2000’s Jack Johnson perhaps? Take those vibes, mix them in a refurbished James Buffet blender, add the sting of cooler than being cool ice, and voila… you have captured the sound of Judd Harris.
I don’t like that mellow yellow, weeded fellow music. DMB sure is tolerable, and where Dave’s music continues to succeed due to its honest mix of deranged monkey-strung jamming, Harris brings sincerity into his easy-going sunshine beached sand slide. His stuff makes me think of songs featured on Dawson’s Creek…and that is no wonder considering he was part of a group that accomplished that very feat. I should note that as a younger man, a boy in fact, he won the approval of legend Billy Joel. Who needs American Idol anyway?
The clip has since gone viral on Tik Tok. Take a listen below.
So with all these hyped dream past accomplishments, one might wonder where exactly Judd’s head is at on The Beach EP. His answer?
“After a friend died suddenly in his 30s, my wife and I decided to change our life. We had always talked about living in the Caribbean and within a year, we landed in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. When lockdown arrived in the D.R., I stopped playing live music and started writing new songs.“
The Beach EP came out of that time. And much like our friend’s passing jolted us into action, I think the pandemic caused a lot of people to reevaluate their lives in different ways, and especially to question the traditional notions of achievement in America, what’s worth the sacrifice, and what isn’t. It’s like we’d all been sleepwalking and the pandemic shook us awake, wondering how and why we ended up here. The theme of wanting something more runs through The Beach EP, whether that’s a big life change, a childhood dream, a special someone, or just a beach vacation.”
And that sentient sentiment is dialed into every vocal arrangement on this EP, the opener “Take Me Down” wowing me right from the get go. He makes fun music that has heart, purpose, and enough likability to make a newlywed couple’s baby shake their feet and smile along in the car, regardless of the fact they can’t comprehend the english language yet. The pain of that friendship, the one that utterly changed both he and his wife, is not at the forefront, but contextually, the platitudes of tormented grief we older folks tend to share… that is what makes this Judd’s greatest project yet.
Even if he still shrugs like the incessantly awkward goofball Billy Joel describes above, Harris’ mannerisms match his musical sensibility. The second track is one where Judd keeps it emotionally cooler than Dawson Leery’s sixth season arc, singing about the “Simple Life” like Jack Johnson might his beloved banana pancakes.
While the four tracks are yet to be available to the public (Take Me Down drops on May 15th) each one is terrific sonically, lyrically, and with an jovial atmosphere. The third song, “Let You Know” has the most dynamic change of sounds on the project, taking modern country and adding a heavy dash of Jackson Browne for good measure. It is also my favorite song here.
These are some of the best summer jams you’ll listen to this year and possibly this decade. Family friendly too.