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The Harris Brothers
Photos courtesy of Mark Freed

The Harris Brothers

Brother duet band Lenoir, NC (Caldwell County)

Reggie and Ryan Harris grew up in a musical family and community in Caldwell County, and they have been performing together at local and regional venues and festivals since the late 1980s. The brothers were initially inspired by hearing the music played by their father and uncle, cousins, and others in the community, and they have added their own ideas to create their repertoire, which includes blues, mountain music, jazz, country, and rock influences. They typically perform with Reggie on guitar, Ryan on bass, both of them singing, and Reggie using a suitcase to provide extra rhythm.

Reggie started playing guitar when he was six years old, and by age 10, he was also picking the banjo and playing at house parties and picnics in his community. In high school, he began playing electric guitar in garage bands with friends, and by the time he was a senior, he was playing in a country-rock band in local nightclubs. Over the next decade, he continued playing in rock and country bands as a sideman, including playing at Tweetsie Railroad, where many local musicians hone their skills in daily performances. Around this time, he helped start the Caldwell County-based band Strictly Clean and Decent, which opened a show for Doc Watson and Vassar Clements. That later led to his participation in one of Clements’ recordings, Vassar’s Jazz.

In the late 1980s, Reggie was playing guitar and lap steel in a band called Blackmarket, and he encouraged his younger brother Ryan to sing with the group. Ryan had become an excellent singer, and he had begun playing in a jazz trio with Reggie and Ross Sermans. When Sermans moved to Nashville to continue his music career, Reggie and Ryan formed the Harris Brothers duet. Ryan soon learned to play bass, and the brothers worked up a repertoire singing and playing together. The brothers continue to perform together at local and regional venues and festivals, including the notable MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Availability

The Harris Brothers are available for performances in a variety of venues, including school visits. Reggie Harris is also a full-time music teacher, giving instruction in most stringed instruments.

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