BCCMA award-winning country artist Angela Harris and Eric Reed drew a large crowd to the Merritt Royal Canadian Legion for an up-close-and-personal concert and dinner Sunday.
Attendees of the sold out event heard two sets from the alternative/bluegrass country duo before taking in a roast beef dinner, hosted by the Legion.
Harris, the daughter of Merrittonians Lorne and Marion Tillotson, performed two sets with partner Eric Reed (guitar and keyboard) from her latest single "Family Matters", songs from her self-titled debut Roots as well as cover songs Stand By Me and Willie Nelson's Always On My Mind.
"For me, it's about telling the stories," said Harris between sets. "I try to make the audience feel like there as much a part of the event as I am."
The Legion hall was dead silent as the Chilcotin native delivered harmonious song after harmonious song—all of which received thunderous applause from a mainly older crowd.
"I'm just now getting to the bigger stages," said Harris, who, after playing the 2005 Merritt Mountain Music Festival, dedicated her time record making. "I put a focus on the smaller more intimate crowds since the release of my Roots album in 2006."
Her hard work in the studio has paid off. Her third album, Her three full-length albumbs helped her win the 2011 B.C. Country Music Association Roots/Canadiana award, which she received in November.
Harris and Reed also tour with the High Bar Gang, composed of Barney Bentall, Shari Ulrich, Wendy Bird, Colin Nairne, and Rob Becker. They perform as duo, trio, or a band.
Harris says the three top influences in her music career—which began at the tender age of of nine—are Emmylou Harris, Don Williams, and Johnny Cash.
Harris's father Lorne, a director on the Merritt Legion board, says Sunday's concert is part of the Legion's overall effort to bring more events to Merritt.
"We thought she would be a good place to start…. As far as we're concerned, the response was great."
Harris has sample songs from her albums available on her website: www.angelaharris.net. She says she is also very active on Facebook, which is becoming a popular way for musicians to interact with their fans. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/AngelaHarris.CanadianArtist.