The two members of Native Harrow revisit the twilight twang and vintage vibes of the 1970s Laurel Canyon folk scene with this softly strummed ballad. Don’t let the optimistic title fool you; “Happier Now” finds singer Devin Tuel standing her ground and embracing her own melancholia, while band mate Stephen Harms chimes in with major 7 chords and unhurried percussion.”
The singer-songwriter is at home in Newburgh, NY reflecting on her third album, ‘Happier Now’ (out 2 August on Loose Music), as well as the difficult sojourn the former ballerina and classically trained singer has had to traverse to become the writer and performer she was meant to be. Happier Now, released under her nom de plume, Native Harrow, is a set of nine songs recorded and mixed by Alex Hall (JD McPherson, The Cactus Blossoms, Pokey LaFarge) at Chicago’s Reliable Recorders. The album was co-produced by Hall, Tuel, and her bandmate, multi-instrumentalist Stephen Harms.
The album was recorded in just three days in March 2018 during what Tuel calls “downtime” in the middle of a gruelling 108 date tour. The trio rehearsed and documented each song live on the floor, tracking as a band. No click tracks, scratch tracks, or even headphones; just three musicians in a small room, captured with Hall’s collection of vintage mics and some subtle retro production techniques. The band cuts out clear and vibrant narratives on fear, love, the open road, ill-fated relationships, and coping with the state of the world. Each starlit image is framed within her warm, enveloping vocals and the careful, profound considerations of Harms’ musicianship. Start to finish, the new record pours forth from her very bones, and you get the overwhelming sense she has never been more daring and honest than right now.