The third generation of musicians out of the Dakotas, Josh Harty is never far from his roots but always inventing new ways to honor the old. His latest solo project, “A Long List of Lies (Magnolia Recording Co.) shows it and has garnered a fast following. The eleven tracks are as authentic as American music gets. Maybe that’s why “A Long List of Lies” debuted at number eight on the European Americana chart.
Growing up the son of a North Dakota Police Chief and preacher, Harty figured he was either to jail or going to jail. He was wrong on both fronts and his gentle nature reveals this to all who know him. He’s got gratitude written all over him, including thankfulness for the music his father gave him. By the age of ten Harty had sung gospel and country with his father at “just about every Lutheran Church, Eagles Club and Senior Center in North Dakota.” By age 12 Harty had made two records with his dad, the second one selling 10,000 copies.
These days the 31-year-old Madison-based artist writes and performs mostly solo but has a knack for surrounding himself with some of the best musicians in the Midwest for his recordings. Still, these are Harty’s songs all the way. “A Long List of Lies” was produced, recorded and mastered in Madison’s Smart Studios. The project captures Harty’s clean guitar attack, a finger style that glistens with a razor’s edge. Every track is filled with the honesty of an artist who’s in it for the long haul, who’s writing music that channels his past while re-setting the present for what’s affectionately called alt-country in the U.S.A.