Look for Mic Harrison to pull a double shift come Sept. 16, sitting in for a couple songs with old buddy Scott Miller at the latter’s show at the Bijou, and then heading over to Market Square to play the Miller after-show party at Preservation.
But then Harrison has never been afraid of rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty. Even after years in the music industry — as a member of Knoxville’s erstwhile Americana favorites the V-roys, along with Miller, and then as a member of power-pop outfit Superdrag, before taking the helm of his current project with the High Score — Harrison works full-time as proprietor of his own lawn service, the counterpoint to weekends spent either raising the roof of various regional beer joints, or else holed up writing and recording in a local music studio.
It’s a hard dollar, to be sure, but Harrison wouldn’t have it any other way. “Shoot, if I didn’t love it, I’d have quite a long time ago,” he says with his characteristic good-ol’-boy charm. “Some people go to the lake. Some people race cars. I play shows.
“I’ll say this: doing this stuff is harder than it used to be. Everyone’s got stuff going on, family stuff, work. Schedules are a lot harder than they used to be. It used to be, hey, let’s go to Richmond this weekend. Now everyone has to check with the wife, check with boss. It’s a lot harder to book anything out of town.”
Right now, though, Harrison and the High Score are hard at work in town, pulling together a new record, a follow-up to 2012’s “Still Want to Fight.” Harrison says the hard part is done — the songs are all at the mixing stage — but given the aforementioned scheduling issues, the going is still slow. “I hope it’s out by spring,” he says.
Harrison’s stock in trade is dusky Americana with plenty of swaggering, staggering rock attitude and more than a hint of pop savvy. And now that former Superdrag drummer Don Coffey has joined the High Score, he promises that the forthcoming album will be a decidedly melodic affair.
“There’s a few curveballs on it, for sure,” he says. “It’s not as country as I usually do. It’s got a lot more power pop. Hey, with Don Coffey playing drums, it’s hard not to be a little big power pop.
“We’re kind of producing it ourselves, but the guys at the studio are helping us some, too. We were working on one track the other day, and those guys were like, ‘Hey, you’re getting a little too Florida Georgia Line with that guitar line. Reel it back a little.'”
Frontman Harrison is the primary lyricist for the band, but he says the music itself involves a full partnership with himself and all the members of the High Score. “I usually come in with a chorus or a piece of a song, and then the guys will work it out,” he says. “I’m sort of the ‘starter.’
“I’ve come to rely on them for that. It’s very seldom a case where I’m like, ‘Here’s the song. This is the way we should play it.’ I let them put their own twist on stuff. It makes the music more interesting, makes for different licks and different turn-arounds.
“If I was doing it all, it would be a little bit more boring. I hate to sound cheesy, but it’s a chemistry thing. And our chemistry is like something that came out of a laboratory. It’s pretty good.”
Mic Harrison and the High Score will play the Scott Miller After-show party at 9 p.m. at Preservation Pub. A ticket stub from the Miller show will be good for $5 off on Mic Harrison merchandise.