Updated: May 27
W. Ed Harris Multi-Instrumentalist
Ed Harris is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, performer, songwriter, composer, educator who specializes in Traditional, Folk, Irish and Celtic music.
From his website – https://wedharris.com/home
which commenced in May 2013 and has received over twelve and a half thousand visitors, you can read some background information about this truly exceptional yet humble musician.
Ed is classically trained in traditional music and has experience in orchestral, jazz, bluegrass music genres. Then he turned to Celtic music where his passion really grew, and he has not let up for over thirty years. Ed was only five years old when he first played on a guitar...and the music never left him.
Ed Harris has received several awards, not that he likes to boast! These include Akademia Music Award for Best album in World Music – ‘The Well Below the Valley’ ; finalist in 2018 Best Artist where Ed was invited to the 2019 Music Gala, finalist 2016 Celtic Album of the Year for The New Bern Seisiums from the Ireland National Event Center (INEC).
Eds’ most recent award was for the 18th Independent Music Awards, category -World Traditional ( Vox Pop Winner) for his song ‘Morrisons’.
Ed has always maintained his support for music in education. This includes music for educational documentaries, relaxation therapies (Veterans). He is also a member of the Celtic Heritage Society, Tradconnect, Fiddle and Bow Music Society, Irish Music Society and Four Peaks Arts Council.
Ed has been a member of Folk band ‘Timber Creek’- Irish / Celtic, St. Steven’s Green and ‘Homestead’ a Bluegrass band. Now a solo musician who creates some amazing recordings and some enjoyable collaboration projects. Find them on Eds’ You Tube channel.
Ed has made many recordings and most are on albums available for sale; however, being the generous soul he is, you may find some that you can download for free.
Most notable albums are: -
Two Rivers 2014
The New Bern Seisiúns 2015
The Well Below the Valley 2018
Ye Banks and Braes 2019
Turas Ceilteach 2020
Ed has also been involved in film and theater, including audio and sound fx projects. He is no stouch when it comes to making the most of Social Media platforms for his self-marketing. Twitter, Face Book, You Tube, Instagram – which has some delightful short videos and some photos.
You may not be aware but Celtic music stars in many of todays’ movies and streaming services programs. Next time you watch a fantasy or historical program look out for the end credits that list the music and follow up with a GOOGLE search!
I took time to listen to every sampler on Eds’ website... here is the list including the one track from each album that I love!
Turas Ceilteach - “The Star of the County Down”
Ye Banks and Braes - “Sailing”
I-Rish You a Merry Christmas - “Voice of Peace” (This one truly touched my heart)
The Well Below the Valley - “Two Rivers”
Celticophilia - “The Waterfall”
The NewBern Seisiúns - “Fye to the Hills in the Morning”
Reflections of the Heart - “Contemplation”
Two Rivers Album - “Out on the Ocean / Rolling Waves”
Where to find W. Ed Harris online: -
You Tube:- https://www.youtube.com/user/MrCeltic4me
Website: - https://wedharris.com/home
Twitter: - @EdHarrisMusic
Instagram: - https://www.instagram.com/edharrismusic/
Questions for Ed:-
1.NAP: Ed – Congratulations for your recent achievement for Morrisons! You have a long music career in Grass Roots platform. How do you view the music genres that you are so passionate about?
Ed: I feel it is important to keep traditional music alive. It connects us all with our past and it provides us with a musical snapshot of how life was in the past, as well as an enhanced appreciation of those influences we hear in the music of today.
NAP: What is it about them that attracts you?
Ed: I have discovered there are two main focuses in Traditional Celtic music. The first focus is “dance”. The traditional instrumental “Jigs’, “Double Jigs”, “Reels”, etc. were played to accompany dance and performance or “seisiúns” (group of local musicians get together casually to play in a pub). The second focus was for story-telling in the form of Ballads which includes Maritime, Lost Love, Lost at Sea, Life’s Challenges, etc. themes. I am attracted to the old language in which these stories are told and I’ve always been fascinated by the syncopation or rhythm inherent to this particular music genre.
2. NAP: Why choose music as a career for you Can you single out one song or experience that has
kept you true to the music, and in particular, kept you enthusiastic all this time?
Ed: Well, first I must state that music is NOT my career and I admire those who have made the commitment in making a career of music. I was introduced to music at an early age and as a result, it had become ingrained in my life much like taking a shower or brushing my teeth every day. It then evolved into an appreciation and passion of mine. However, I never aspired into making a “go” at it professionally. I guess my fear was that in doing so, it would become too much like “work” . I enjoy the complete creative freedom I have without worrying about the next gig or if my next song is going to be a “hit” or not, or if I am keeping my fans happy, etc. I am truly in a happy place with my music.
NAP: Have you had any formal training?
Ed: I have not studied music on a formal educational level (college, university, etc.). However, I had studied classical guitar privately under Jose Serrano’s tutterage for 3 years. I played trumpet all during my public school years and into college and did a short gig participating in orchestra.
3.NAP: Do you record and produce your own music or hire outside services?
Ed: Yes, I record and produce my own music. Nothing is outsourced musically or visually.
NAP: How did you learn to mix and master?
Ed: Years ago, I became a member of the Fiddle and Bow Music Society and eventually found my way into running the sound system for all the live performances we hosted. It evolved from there, pretty much through trial and error, reading and sharing with other audiophiles.
4.NAP: You are very prolific in your online media posts! From You Tube, Twitter, Instagram! Do you self-promote or does anyone else help you?
Ed: Yes, everything you see and hear out there is a solo act in the truest sense. Nothing is outsourced. My oldest son (computer science professional) was instrumental in getting me up and running in the digital age not realizing he had created a monster! Lol I maintain all the social platforms.
NAP: What about the videos and photos? So much work!
Ed: Yes, again, everything you see and hear was created from my home studio completely solo. One of the advantages in having this as a vocation instead of a career is that I am able to do what I want, whenever I want.
5.NAP: How do you go about writing a music composition or song?
Ed: I know it may sound crazy, but I can hear melodies in my head constantly. The song, “A Brother’s Lament” I heard one morning just as I was waking. It’s hard to really pinpoint how it happens. It just does. The song, “Otzi Man” was a contest challenge to write a song about the 5,300 year old “Iceman”. While researching the backstory, I was intrigued and the melody just came to me followed by the words. For me, the melody always comes first, which then evokes the emotion which in turn produces the images, feelings, words, etc.
NAP: Which part comes first?
Ed: Inspiration, Melody, then Lyrics. However, I have never considered myself to be a vocalist and only recently have I ventured into producing more vocal material. My primary vehicle for musical expression has always been via instrumentation and arrangement.
6.NAP: With traditional songs that you record, do you make any re arrangements in the music for
Ed: In traditional music, particularly within this genre, there is very little if any improvisation. The melodies have remained the same for many generations and this adherence to tradition helps to ensure that a musician can “sit in” at any traditional seisiún and take part. Back before technology, this was the only source of entertainment and sense of community. However, I have “pushed” the limits somewhat in that I have been known to introduce counter-melodies and even instrumental harmonies within some of the traditional instrumental tunes. There is an infinite amount of ways a tune can be interpreted and expressed and that is the wonderful thing about music. You can stay true to tradition, push the envelope somewhat and give it a completely different voice. Of course, you can do whatever you want creatively and go completely outside the box! There are no rules in art.
7.NAP: I watched the video of you and your son together -that was amazing and so heartfelt! Does the family all have a singalong at Christmas?
Ed: Yes, that was a very special time with my son and I have recorded with my daughter as well. They really do enjoy spending time with Dad in the studio whenever they come for a visit!
Ed has very kindly allowed New Acid Planet to upload to our SoundCloud account a 2-track set of his beautiful music! An Exclusive set!
Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/newacidplanet/w-ed-harris-soundcloud-exclusive-set
Thank you so much for your time!
All the Best! I look forward to more music from you!