Column: Big Harp’s new sound; Waiting Room shows continue

Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney released their second album, “Chain Letters,” as Big Harp on Saddle Creek Records this week.

Turn up the distortion. Big Harp did.

Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney recorded their debut album “White Hat” after being a band for only a week. It was a low-key, lo-fi, folky record.

I loved it and the band did, too. Though they had never performed a show before they recorded “White Hat,” they played the songs from that album all over the country as they toured with the couple’s kids in tow.

As they went along, the band’s sound began to change. Big Harp’s soft songs became ragged and energetic and they quickly worked in new material that sounded just as brash and honest.

When I saw the band last year, I enjoyed how they were pushing things in the new direction. Some of the old songs took on a new flavor, too.

They were rocking out more than standing and strumming and singing along.

The band went to ARC in Omaha to record with Ben Brodin, and they also recorded some in their garage (So much so that, in the liner notes, they thanked their children for having to sit through the songs so many times).

The result is the 10-song “Chain Letters,” which came out this week on Saddle Creek Records.

Unfortunately, we won’t see the band play here soon — they have no Omaha dates scheduled. Hopefully that will change since, though they reside in California, the band’s Omaha ties usually bring them back.

Read my full review of “Chain Letters.”

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We wrote about it last week, but The Waiting Room Lounge’s “reopening” series of shows continues through Feb. 1 and includes an array of genres and some of the best artists in town. Highlights, for me, include Buck Bowen’s CD release on Friday, the Band Build on Saturday, InDreama on Wednesday and the Ladyfinger (ne) CD release on Feb. 1.

Read all about the venue’s upgrades.

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My column, also cleverly titled Rock Candy, appears every Thursday in the GO magazine of the Omaha World-Herald and on It’s reprinted here on Fridays.



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