Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers
With the location in which they formed in mind, Harpe describes the band’s sound as Charles River Delta blues, a fictional genre that gave its name to a track on Love Whip Blues.
Harpe started to play at folk festivals and coffeehouses in her 20s. She later moved to Boston and met bass player Jim Countryman, whom she married in 1999. They formed the band Lovewhip, releasing four studio albums and one live set, and winning a Boston Music Award for “World Music Act of the Year” in 2004.
She released two albums under her own name. The first, Blues Roots (2002), was a set of covers by artists such as Memphis Minnie (Harpe’s main influence), Bessie Smith and Tommy Johnson. The second, Delta Blues Duets (2008), included duets recorded with her father.
In May 2010, Harpe formed the Delta Swingers quartet. Alongside Countryman, harmonicist Richard “Rosy” Rosenblatt and drummer Bob Nisi were brought in. In September 2010 the band won their first Boston Blues Challenge and represented Boston in the 2011 International Blues Challenge (IBC), where they made it to the semi-finals. The band returned to the IBC again in 2013 (as a quintet) and 2016 (again making the semi-finals). Several soloists performed with the group, including “Sonny” Jim Clifford on slide guitar and harmonica (during the period where they were a quintet along with Richard Rosenblatt).
The band won the Boston Blues Challenge, for the fourth time, in 2016, and attended the five-day International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee in January 2017, and reached the semi-finals of the competition for the third time (the other years being 2011 and 2013).
The band’s second studio album, titled Big Road, was released in October 2017.