The members of The Naked Sun are Andrew Harris: Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Harmonica; Tim Campbell: Lead Electric Guitar, pedal steel guitar, backing vocals; Dave Gladney: Drums; Ken Letherer: Bass Guitar; Alan Sheltzer: Piano, synth leads, various keys; Nerissa Wolfson: vocals. The band has three recordings, the latest, War With Shadows, was released a year ago. I talked to Andrew about the band.
Why is the band called The Naked Sun? The Naked Sun is the title of an Isaac Asimov novel. I liked the concept of the book, which is to get outside and connect and meet your neighbors and create community. We had lists of potential band names and the one name we all agreed on was The Naked Sun.
What is the history of the band? I’m from Philly, then lived in Baltimore for five years. I moved backed to Philly and met Tim. Dave was a friend of Tim’s, and the band initially was a trio. I had a friend who played bass but then he moved to California. We then picked up Ken. The four of us were the band for a while. We wanted a keyboardist and found Alan and along with Alan came Nerissa. The current band has been together for about three years now.
How is the group different from what people normally think of as a rock band? While we do use some electric instruments, we use a number of acoustic instruments such as upright bass, acoustic guitar and we recorded with an acoustic piano. We’ve all started out as Folksters. We are steeped very deeply into the folk tradition. I’m influenced by people such as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and others. We want to be authentic. Folk music is about people and I write about people. It’s also about honesty. We’ve also called our music ‘Honest Rock’.
For you, what is the most important part of the songwriting process? For me it’s remaining faithful to the process. It requires a lot of discipline, sitting down and doing it. It’s about honoring my inspiration but also about having fun through the creative process. I’m also spending more time on the craft of songwriting. Less mystery and more craft.
Your last CD came out in January 2018. How was the response? It’s been pretty good. At first we got a lot of spins on WXPN, college radio and Americana stations around the country. We also played the Philadelphia Folk Festival for the first time in 2018. The best compliment on the album came from Brian McTear of Miner Street Recordings, who recorded our album. He told me that the album ‘rips’, and he added they usually don’t say that.
Anything you would like to add? Just that Philadelphia is a great community of musicians and we’re grateful to be part of the community here.
Thanks Andrew for talking to me about the band and it’s music.
The Naked Sun is releasing a single this month, and an EP, called “Avec la verite’, vous avez le deroit d’aimer’” in February. You can learn more about The Naked Sun by going to their website: http://wearethenakedsun.com/
Ray Naylor: email@example.com