Peter Harper (musician)

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Peter D Harper
Peter D Harper Harmonica.jpg
Peter D. Harper playing chromatic harp
Background information
Birth namePeter D. Harper
Also known asHarper
Born (1970-11-10) 10 November 1970 (age 48)
Guildford, Surrey, England
OriginPerth, Western Australia
GenresBlues rock[1]
Occupation(s)Harmonicist, singer, songwriter, record producer
InstrumentsHarmonica, didgeridoo, djembe, keyboards, vocals
Years active1990s–present
LabelsFull Moon Records, Nibelung Records, Blind Pig Records, Bluharp Records
Peter D. Harper with his didgeridoo in D from Day by Day

Peter D. Harper (born 10 November 1970) is an Australian-American[2] blues rock harmonica player, singer and songwriter.[1] His unusual slant on the blues and roots music genre includes the use of the Australian indigenous instrument - the didgeridoo.[3] Billed with his backing band as Harper and Midwest Kind, his most recent release the 2016 album, Show Your Love debuted at No. 9,[3] and peaked at No. 3 in the US Billboard Blues Albums chart plus an incredible 25 week run in the Top Ten.[4] Harper is a multiple award wining artist who tours the Globe up to 200 shows per year. He has had three top ten Billboard releases to date.

His interest in the blues was inspired by his grandfather's record collection which included work by Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Muddy Waters, and Little Walter.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Harper was born in Guildford, Surrey, England, but relocated with his parents to Perth, Western Australia at the age of 10.[1] In the late 1970s he played in a brass band learning to play the euphonium and trumpet. Further inspired by Stevie Wonder's harmonica playing, Harper was self-taught on the instrument and played in clubs before securing his first recording contract. It was a chance meeting with a Hopi "Dan Running Bear" in Silverton, Colorado, that led him down the path to rediscovering the music of his homeland. Fascinated with the spirituality and culture of the American Natives, he found the same qualities present in the Australian natives of his homeland. On adding the native didgeridoo to his music, Harper says "It is a sound I grew up with, so it seemed natural to add it to my songwriting particularly when the lyrics related to the plight of the Aborigines in Australia. When I added the didgeridoo to the more traditional blues instruments, it worked. The deep woody qualities and its haunting drone seemed to enhance the emotional quality of my stories. The didgeridoo is a spiritual and healing instrument, and it seemed blues music accepted it with open arms. I also owe my life to a clan of nomadic Australian Natives who saved my father and I from starvation when we were trapped at The Fitzroy Crossing (Western Australia), in between two fast flowing river torrents. They gave us enough food and water to last us until the flood had subsided. I feel my music is my way of giving back to these wonderful people". Prior to his introduction to American audiences, Harper released six CDs to great acclaim in his homeland of Australia. Harper received a Gold Record for "Sailing Australia" (America's Cup Theme). Harper had the honor of backing Blues Legend "Muddy Waters" on harmonica for his Western Australian tour.

Peter D. Harper also performed with bands including the King Pins, the Magnificent Seven, West of the Wall, the Flirts, the Mods, and Good Horse before, in the early 1990s, forming Blue Devil. They performed for several years prior to recording their debut album, Tears of Ice, which was released by Newmarket Records. Yesterday Is Over (Shock Records, 1996) followed before Harper parted company with Blue Devil.[1]

His debut solo album was self-released in 1997, a live affair called Live at the Soup Kitchen. Glass on the Stepping Stone (Full Moon Records, 2000) was his next release, which allowed Harper full control over the songwriting, arrangement and production. He toured in the United States from 1997 onward promoting both albums, and supported acts including John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Koko Taylor, Little Feat, Buddy Guy, and Robert Cray. Harper signed another deal with the German record label Nibelung Records in 2000, and planned further European based releases in his own name.[1] By now often simply known as Harper,[3] he teamed up with the Detroit, Michigan-based band, Midwest Kind, before permanently relocating to the United States in 2005.[3] They toured together appearing at various music festivals, including the Common Ground Music Festival in 2013.[5] Their debut recording, Stand Together (2010), was issued by Blind Pig Records.[3] His earlier release, Down to the Rhythm (2005) and Day By Day (2007) had appeared under his own name.[6]

Live at the Blues Museum (2012), was released through Blu Harp Records. The next studio recording with Midwest Kind was Show Your Love, which debuted at No 9, peaking at No 3 on the US Billboard Blues Albums Chart.[3] It has had a chart run of over six months.[4]



Year Title Record label Billed as
1997 Live at the Soup Kitchen Self-released Harper
2000 Glass on the Stepping Stone Full Moon Records Harper
2002 Live at St. Andrews Full Moon Records Harper
2003 Way Down Deep Inside Full Moon Records Harper
2005 Down to the Rhythm Blind Pig Records Harper
2007 Day by Day Blind Pig Records Harper
2010 Stand Together Blind Pig Records Harper and Midwest Kind
2012 Live at the Blues Museum Bluharp Records Harper and Midwest Kind
2013 Bare Bones Bluharp Records Harper and Motor City Josh
2016 Show Your Love Bluharp Records Harper and Midwest Kind


Music awards[edit]

  • Detroit Music Awards – "Outstanding Vocalist" (2014)
  • Best Instrumentalist – "Big City Blues Magazine" USA (2013)
  • Best Live CD "Blues 411", New York. USA (2012)
  • Inducted into the Blues Museum Hall of Fame, Canada South Blues Society, Windsor Canada. (2011)
  • The Bronte Blues Awards, United Kingdom – "Best Instrumentalist" (2009)
  • Acoustic Artist of the Year TREV, Australia (2005)
  • Male Vocalist of the Year – "Australian Blues Awards" (2004)
  • Song of the Year – "Australian Blues Awards", (2004)
  • Album of the Year, Nasty Harp, Sweet Harp Awards- "Guide to Best of the Blues Harmonicas and Beyond" USA – Way Down Deep Inside CD. (2003)
  • Raw Talent Awards Number 1 Song "Never Change the Way She Feels", Australia (2001)
  • Duke Award Yamaha Rock, Australia
  • Gold Record – "Sailing Australia" America's Cup Theme


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Stephen Howell. "Peter Harper | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  2. ^ "Autumn Music". 2005-09-01. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Timothy Monger. "Harper and Midwest Kind | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  4. ^ a b "Blues Music: Top Blues Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  5. ^ "2013 Lineup - Common Ground Music Festival". Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  6. ^ "Harper returns to The Livery - The Herald Palladium : Features". The Herald Palladium. 2009-11-19. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  7. ^ "Show Your Love - Harper and Midwest Kind | Releases". AllMusic. 2016-03-16. Retrieved 2016-09-28.

External links[edit]