GRAMMY-Winning Songwriter Jesse Harris Unspools An Ominous Bossa Nova

Article Contributed by Shore Fire Media | Published on Sunday, October 2, 2022

GRAMMY-winning songwriter Jesse Harris shares “Yankee,” the latest song from his new album Silver Balloon, out October 21 on Harris’s own Secret Sun Recordings. “Yankee” is a drum-machine propelled bossa nova that paints a portrait of a character whose wandering days seem to be coming to an end, though the bubbling percussion and slightly ominous chord changes leave it unclear as to whether it’s a begrudging retirement or an untimely demise. It’s an enticing and writerly sketch, filled with a sci-fi-addled mystery befitting a project that Harris says was written in the midst of a deep Philip K. Dick fascination.

Watch the video for “Yankee” — a sandy travelogue depicting aimless wanderings and impromptu meals directed, filmed and edited by Silver Balloon collaborator Kenny Wollesen — here.

Alongside the debut of “Yankee,” Harris announces a special event: On October 13 at New York’s Roxy Cinema, Harris will debut a series of video accompaniments to Silver Balloon inspired by avant garde film, from Jonas Mekas and Warhol to Chris Marker (La Jetée). Using Super 8 film, still photography and digital cameras, Wollesen and Harris shot and edited everything themselves, creating a visual companion to the album that emphasizes its ephemeral and otherworldly collision between man and machine — a retrofuturist fantasia of sight and sound. Harris and Wollesen will do a short Q&A with program director Illyse Singer following the films and perform a few songs from the album.

More info on the event here.

Recorded over 8 days with collaborator and drummer Kenny Wollesen (Norah Jones, Tom Waits, Bill Frisell) in Harris’s home studio, Silver Balloon uses harmonizers and vintage Turkish synthesizers to create a technologically mediated world of waltzes, folk songs, and experimental new jazz standards. Utilizing a loose, anything-goes approach, Harris and Wollesen were able to capture serendipitous moments of genius throughout Silver Balloon. Whether it’s a smoky minimal blues (“On This Lonely Night”) or torch songs embossed with pixelated distortion and robotically-processed saxophone (“Hummingbird”), these 10 exquisite songs beckon you to examine their inner workings over and over again, just to figure out what exactly makes them tick.

Cool Hunting called lead single “The Hanged Man” “moody, macabre and offbeat…It’s strangely alluring and melodic—and an exciting glimpse of what’s to come.” Listen to “The Hanged Man” here.

Meanwhile, Jazziz highlighted “One In A Million” — a bleary-eyed ballad as performed by an after-hours romantic — as an Editor’s Choice. Watch the video for “One In A Million” — an isolated fireworks display — here.

Pre-order Silver Balloon here.

Harris — a New York native who is a published short story writer as well as a DJ of vintage Haitian and French Antilles vinyl — came to fame after he won the 2003 Song Of The Year GRAMMY for "Don't Know Why," a song he originally recorded in 1999 but was most notably performed by Norah Jones. He first linked up with Norah when he was hitchhiking to a gig in Texas — she gave him a ride and later on that night they jammed, and the rest was history.

From then he’s kept busy, whether playing on his own solo records or with famous friends. He played guitar on Bright Eyes' commercial breakout I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning; had his songs performed by Willie Nelson, Cat Power, and Emmylou Harris for the soundtrack to the film The Hottest State, written and directed by Ethan Hawke; he's also worked with John Zorn, Maya Hawke, Lana Del Rey and countless others. He now runs his own prolific independent label Secret Sun Recordings.

Jesse Harris will be performing songs from Silver Balloon at a series of upcoming performances, including a Brooklyn concert at the Sultan Room on November 9th with Tōth and Mirian Elhajli, as well as additional shows in Paris and Los Angeles — see dates below.

Silver Balloon

“The Hanged Man”


“Out In The Storm”

“One In A Million”


“On This Lonely Night”

“New Year’s Day”

“Silver Balloon”

“The Good Morning Song”


Live Dates

Oct 5 — Paris, FR @ Le Baiser Sale

Oct 13 — New York, NY @ Roxy Cinema

Nov 5 — Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon

Nov 9 — Brooklyn, NY @ The Sultan Room