Press Release

It Starts With The Soul is the 9th solo album from Stephen Harrison and comprises of nine recently written and recorded songs in which he continues his development with writing on acoustic guitar that started with his two last albums, Today Tomorrow in 2012 and Cherry Fair in 2016. Stephen, who lives in Edinburgh, began writing songs in the 1970s when he was a teenager and song writing, along with painting, has always been an important form of self expression for him.

From the fairly sombre opening track, It Starts With The Soul written in waltz tempo, to the more up tempo tracks Show The Summer To The Spring and My Dream’s In My Pocket, Stephen uses imagery and vignettes that communicate his experience, through music, of the human condition.

Though his lyrics are not Larkinesque, at the current time Stephen Harrison feels that the writings of the poet Philip Larkin form a very close reference point to Stephen’s own take on the human condition. Musically, the songs reflect Stephen’s interest in the finger-picking guitar playing technique exemplars of which Stephen would cite as Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen or the early Paul Simon as helpful points of reference. Stephen likes to find delicate and rhythmic patterns on the guitar over which a second guitar part is often overlaid – for example in the musical interlude in the song One Fine Day. Lyrically, Stephen prioritizes the manifestation of a seamless flow of the lyrics over this guitar-orientated background. Lyrics are not written later in a separate exercise; instead, they evolve along with the composition of the song itself as the guitar parts evolve. Through a process of careful self-editing and distillation, the final lyrics and subject matter are crystallized and sit in harmony with the vocal melody. Often the result is an intriguing distance set up between a clearly focused didactic meaning to the words of some songs, such as Iago’s Light and more ambiguous meanings where ideally the listener can complete the creative process such as in the opening song It Starts with The Soul.

The song Folly touches, with some ambiguity, on the damage we are doing to our planet and anticipates an answer through escape from it. The Middle Of The Morning relates to changing moods as we go through each day. Trains relates to a vignette or scene using imagery to show rather than to tell. Show The Summer To The Spring is a warm optimistic love song, balancing more melancholic tones elsewhere on the album. The Radio Of Love is an imagined story of Rosie, from whom the narrator accepts a proposal of marriage. In Iago’s Light the subject matter is an interpretation of the motivation of Skakespear’s manipulative antagonist Iago. The title track It Starts With The Soul in part reflects human kinds difficulty in changing personal behaviour and finding resolution.

Imagery on this and the previous two albums often relates to the natural world, and to places and memories which Stephen holds dear. Other imagery is incorporated from his subconscious. He often likes to take the listener to a place or situation and is interested in furthering this process in future songwriting. The vocal deliver is clear, and carefully phrased.

Stephen hopes that the result is a half hour or so of listening experience that flows well and takes the listener on an enjoyable, rewarding and unique journey.

Available From

Birnam CD Online Shop | | Amazon UK | Amazon US


It Starts With The Soul




Word Poem


26th March 2018




Singer/Songwriter / Indie / Folk



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