Longtime local favorite singer-songwriter Hank Harris and Nashville guitarist Matt Berry team up for a night of musical storytelling at Matthews Opera House Friday.
Original tunes, cover songs and a preview of Harris’ upcoming album will be part of the mix, Harris said. The concert opens the 2017-18 season of the Matthews Opera House Subscription Series.
Harris, a two-time inductee in South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, incorporates elements of folk, blues, country, reggae, jazz, gospel and world music into his original songs.
Berry, a native of Spearfish, now works as a professional guitarist in Nashville. Harris calls him “one of my favorite musicians.”
“He learned to play guitar and got better and better and better,” Harris said. “Matt is a jazz fan. We’ll do some things (at the Matthews Opera House concert) that reflect that and give him a showcase to show his prowess.”
Harris and Berry have performed together before and are excited to collaborate again. Their upcoming concert will blend their musical tastes and influences. Harris’ fans will recognize some of his original songs, he said, and he’ll also treat the audience to a preview of his upcoming album.
Harris will head to California in November to record some original music. He’s also working on a project of cover songs.
“We’ll promote some of those songs. We will have drop cards (at Matthews Opera House) for people to download songs,” Harris said.
Expect some “odd Latin things” and a bit of improvisation as well, Harris said. Above all, it’s a night to celebrate two talented musicians.
“When you’re doing a duo, it’s not just about showing off two soloists. It’s about integrating and serving the song,” Harris said. “You want the point of the song to get across. You want to tell the story.”
Harris also is excited to be back at Matthews Opera House. “It’s one of the best rooms in the Hills,” Harris said. “Acoustically, it’s a great room. I just love playing there.”
Harris and Berry have worked with many talented musical groups and performers, which have served as influences throughout their musical careers. Harris recorded “The Deadwood Songbook CD’s Volumes I and II” for The Adams Museum in Deadwood and the South Dakota Public Broadcasting documentary/concert film of the same name. Berry has been traveling with “We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered,” and also toured with John Michael Montgomery, Collin Raye, T. Graham Brown, and Mandy Barnett.
“This concert, featuring two talented musicians with their roots in Spearfish and South Dakota, is a great way to kick-off our 2017-18 music season. Hank and Matt are musicians of the highest calibre. We are honored to present them on our stage,” said Sian Young, executive director of The Matthews Opera House. “Their broad repertoire is sure to delight everyone who attends this performance.”
Hank Harris and Matt Berry’s concert is the first of six live concerts and theater events in the 2017-2018 Subscription Series:
• “Angel Street” -- Community Theater, Nov. 2 through 5
“Angel Street” (aka “Gaslight,” the classic movie starring Ingrid Bergman) tells the story of a suavely handsome man who is slowly driving his wife to the brink of insanity by sowing seeds of doubt, memory loss, and misperceptions.
• Nano Stern in concert -- Nov. 14
Singer/songwriter Nano Stern is a Chilean artist riding the crest of the new wave of Chilean Song. His indie‐folk‐rock‐jazz is deeply rooted in traditional Chilean music, yet combined with a host of influences from his world travels and his classical training.
• The Portland Cello Project in concert -- Jan. 19, 2018
The Portland Cello Project has wowed audiences all over the country with extravagant performances, everywhere from Prairie Home Companion, to that punk rock club in the part of town your grandma warns you not to go to after dark. The group has built a reputation mixing genres and blurring musical lines and perceptions wherever they go.
• Socks in the Frying Pan in concert -- March 27, 2018
This Irish band from County Clare consists of two brothers, Shane and Fiachra Hayes, on accordion and fiddle/banjo and accompanied by Aodán Coyne on guitar and vocals. They blend Irish traditional melodies with innovative rhythmic and melodic flair.
• “Othello” by National Players -- April 10, 2018
Now touring for its 69th consecutive year, National Players is a unique theater ensemble that brings innovative productions to communities across the United States. This classic tale of identity, bigotry, and deceit is examined with contemporary clarity, combining Shakespeare’s language with modern clothing to transform the drama into a powerful story for America today.