Are you Happier Now? Devin Tuel – that’s Native Harrow to you music types – is. But it’s taken a while to get Happier Now. And every inch is a pleasure – for us (maybe not her).
Before you start thumbing your musical A-Z, Devin isn’t actually a native of Harrow – home to such musical luminaries as Peter Andre, Michelle Gayle, Simon Le Bon, Kate Nash or – with a little sojourn into Pinner (still in the borough of Harrow, mind), Elton John.
To pin down Devin’s geography, she’s from Newburgh, in up-state New York – Orange County to be exact.
“Why the geography lesson – we just want to know where Native Harrow is touring!” We hear you cry. All in good time, Padawan…
Physical and personal geography
It seems a little bit of physical and personal geography was crucial in the Devin Tuel / Native Harrow journey.
“I spent my early 20s playing every venue in Greenwich Village, recording demos in my friend’s kitchen, and making lattes,” says Devin.
“I felt very alive then. I was on my own living in my own little studio, staying up all night writing; the dream I had of being a bohemian New York City artist was unfolding. I wanted to be Patti Smith. I was also heartbroken, poor, and had no idea what I was getting myself into.
“My 20s, as I think it goes for most, were all about getting up, getting knocked down, and learning to keep going. I never gave up and I think if I told 20-year-old me how things looked 9 years later she’d be so excited.”
Exciting UK tour!
And if 20-year-old Devin would be excited, then you should be too! Native Harrow has a multi-date, multi-gig, multi-layered tour throughout the UK.
Starting at the end of August, Native Harrow is calling into Exeter (Cavern Club); Bristol (twice); Nottingham (twice); Birmingham and Glasgow (just a few of our favourites). And many, many more. [See below for more.]
Becoming a grown woman
The tour is to big up and put out there the 9-track Happier Now album. Here’s what Devin says about it: “This record is about becoming your own advocate. Realising that maybe you are different in several or a myriad of ways and that that is okay. And further, it is about me becoming a grown woman.”
Happier Now was written during three back-to-back tours across North America supporting the band’s second album, Sorores.
The album was recorded in just three days in March 2018 during what Devin jokingly calls “downtime” in the middle of the grueling 108 date tour.
Apparently she approached the sessions like a musicians’ workshop, each morning beginning with the songwriter presenting her collaborators with the day’s material.
The trio rehearsed and documented each song live on the floor, tracking as a band through each take. 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 creative energy of the tightly-knit sessions spilled over into Devin’s songwriting as well – she skipped lunch on the third and final day of recording to pen the road-weary “Hard To Take”. Four days after arriving in Chicago, Native Harrow was back on the road and Happier Now was complete.
You may have noticed in the detour through the blurb that Native Harrow is being called a trio… other blurb has it that Native Harrow is a Pennsylvania duo. We did some (very minor) detective work – checked the Native Harrow Twitter feed and found her bandmate, multi-instrumentalist Stephen Harms (@stephenjharms). We’re guessing the third member of the album group is Alex Hall, who recorded, mixed and co-produced it with Stephen and Devin.
“Devin Tuel’s work is very original and yet strangely familiar at the same time,” says Jim Finnie on Americana-uk.com
Where The Music Meets called the single Can’t Go On Like This a ‘call of life so meaningful we can relate with… This is one of the cases when music stops the time and time freezes our lives.’ Cool.
Here’s the backstory of Can’t Go On Like This, via Paste Magazine :
“Can’t Go On Like This” came about after the people in my life and strangers I chatted with while on the road last year all seemed to say, “Your life is amazing. It must be nice to be on a perpetual road trip playing music. I wish I could do something like that.” They were unhappy in their jobs or their relationships and they appeared to be very fragile in that feeling. Over time, I found myself thinking we all have moments where we are like “I have to keep going but I really don’t know if I can.” And personally I believe when I am having a rough go of it I tend to look backwards and wish I was a kid feeling that special kind of freedom again.
Stop the flimflam. Tell us about the UK tour of 2019.
Here it is:
Native Harrow UK Tour Dates
23 Aug – LONDON Rough Trade West (6pm)
28 Aug – EXETER Cavern Club
29 Aug – BRISTOL Rough Trade (7.30pm)
30 Aug – BRISTOL Golden Lion
31 Aug – NOTTINGHAM Rough Trade (3pm)
01 Sep – NOTTINGHAM Running Horse
02 Sep – BIRMINGHAM Kitchen Garden
04 Sep – LONDON Paper Dress Vintage*
05 Sep – WINCHESTER Railway*
06 Sep – CAMBRIDGE Blue Moon
07 Sep – THE LONG ROAD FESTIVAL Leics
08 Sep – LIVERPOOL Leaf
12 Sep – SHEFFIELD Dorothy Pax (free entry)
14 Sep – LEEDS Jumbo Records (3.30pm)
15 Sep – NEWCASTLE Bobik’s (3.30pm)
16 Sep – GLASGOW Hug & Pint
17 Sep – EDINBURGH Stramash
27 Sep – PORTAFERRY Portico of Ards
*with Frankie Lee
With more dates expected to be added, an up-to-date tour schedule + tickets can be found here.