The Songwriter Series presents
In 2017, The Guitar Journal rated Corey Harris as one of the
Top 25 Contemporary Acoustic Blues Guitarists in the World.
Corey Harris was born in Denver, Colorado. He is a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and band leader who has carved out his own niche in blues. A powerful singer and accomplished guitarist, he has appeared at venues throughout the North America, Europe, Brazil, The Caribbean, West Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He began his career as a New Orleans street singer, travelling throughout the southern U.S. In his early twenties he lived in Cameroon, West Africa for a year, which had a profound effect on his later work. He has recorded many old songs of the blues tradition while also creating an original vision of the blues by adding influences from reggae, soul, rock and West African music. Some of his imaginative compositions are marked by a deliberate eclecticism; other works stay true to the traditional blues formula of compelling vocals and down-home guitar. With one foot in tradition and the other in contemporary experimentation, Harris is a truly unique voice in contemporary music.
He has performed, recorded, and toured with many of the top names in music such as BB King, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, Henry Butler, R.L.Burnside, John Jackson, Ali Farka Toure, Dave Mattews Band, Tracy Chapman, Olu Dara, Wilco, Natalie Merchant, and others.
In 2003 Harris was a featured artist and narrator of the Martin Scorcese film, “Feel Like Going Home,” which traced the evolution of blues from West Africa to the southern U.S. also featuring Ali Farka Toure.
In 2007, he was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship – commonly referred to as a “genius award” – from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The annual grant, which recognizes individuals from a wide range of disciplines who show creativity, originality and commitment to continued innovative work, described Harris as an artist who “forges an adventurous path marked by deliberate eclecticism.” That year, he was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Bates College, in Lewiston, Maine.
He currently lives in Italy.