Sir Harrison was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and is full blood Navajo (Dine').
He started playing music at the age of eight. His first instrument of choice would
be the trumpet but it was an instrument his parents could not afford. His mother
brought home a clarinet. It didn't matter what he played Harrison pushed his music
ability, winning awards and keeping his first chair status.
It would be through the
early years of High School before Harrsion would pick up his first guitar. His fascination
with the guitar lead him to play many styles like Heavy Metal, Rock and Classical,
but the one style of music he fell in-love with was the blues.
After graduating high
school Harrison pursued a career in Video Photojournalism. Again, drive and ambition
would take over and after five years in broadcasting he would become an award winning
Photojournalist. His most prestige's are two Edward R. Murrow awards. During this
time he was also mentoring and instructing for local educational programs. But, time
has away of reminding you of what’s important and the path you should be walking.
Sir Harrison first took the stage in 1999 at a blues jam in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Every
week he returned the audience wanted more. It was time for him to learn, grow and
work with other musicians on stage. His first band would take the name, "Colorblind",
a power trio that was complimented by the tasteful bass lines of producer and recording
engineer, Leo Okeke. In the summer of 2000 Colorblind brought the house down at the
historic Cain's Ballroom during the Tulsa Blues Festival. The audience was overwhelmed
by the soulful guitar licks and energy of Harrison.
All the years of playing behind closed doors Harrison was finally free to play his
instrument. He never stopped playing and never stopped playing the blues. The energy
that Buddy Guy, Albert King, and SRV played with was from their soul. The music said
it all and that's what Harrison was looking for. He found it in break-ups, hitting
rock bottom, and the challenges of every day life. But, it's not all about sadness,
it's the positve out-look on life, finding new love and living a life that you desire.
To play music full-time was Harrison's new dream even if that meant leaving his career.
He made that courageous decision in 2001.
The current release of Sir Harrison's first
self-produced Cd is a show case of his over-all abilities as a musician, writer,
composer, and producer. He took on this challenge to get an understanding of how
the recording process works and what approach to take on his next Cd.
“Click to listen to Crazy Love”
Sir Harrison and the Blues Kings was formed in 2004 in Flagstaff, Arizona. The band
is fronted by lead guitarist and vocalist Harrison Begay. His current members are,
bass player Jimmy Mack, hammond B3 organ player Tom McMillon, drummer? Still searching...
Sir Harrison's stage presents, performance and music has attracted a broad range
of people. He guitar playing is straight from the soul. Some would compare him to
Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Cray but, Sir Harrison has a unique sound.
His guitar playing has a signature, a defined sound that is all his own.
RV: I've read that you've played many different styles of music including classical
but that your favorite style of music is the Blues. What appeals to you the most
about playing the Blues vs playing other styles of music that you have experience
SH: I fell in-love with the feel. I new there was so much emotion going into that
style of music and it was emotional yet inspiring and straight from the soul. Many
other guitar players would say it was easy to play but they were wrong, not anyone
can play this music. I truly understood after many years of heart breaks, I lost
everything and lived in my vehicle for two months after leaving my career. Since
I was 16 years old never tried forming a blues band. It wasn't until 1998 that I
new I was some what ready.
RV: Could you share with us some of the awards that you've won since you began playing
SH: 2007 I was voted "Musician of the Year" by the Flag-live a Flagstaff AZ entertainment
paper. In 2008 my first self-produced CD was nominated by the Native American Music
Awards for "Blues Artist of the Year"
RV: I’ve read where you’ve won two Edward R. Murrow's awards for professional photojournalism.
That's quite an honor. It sounded like you were establishing a foundation for a lucrative
career in photojournalism. What made you turn back to music and was it a difficult
decision for you to make?
SH: It took a lot of hard work to get there. I set my goal to become one of the best
in my field and I was getting there with all the amount of recognition I was receiving
through all my awards: (Associated Press, Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, Society
of Professional Journalists, Radio Television News Directors Association and two
Edward R. Murrow Awards) I was at a point where I could go anywhere I wanted. Around
2000 my ambition for the business was losing momentum. I walk away in 2002. It wasn't
easy but I new I had to pursue music. At least give it a try. I didn't want to be
asking myself down the road why I didn't pursue my other dream.
RV: What appeals to you most about being a musician?
SH: Writing and arranging the music, the adrenalin and the power that goes into live
music as a blues based musician. I get so much into a zone I forget how many people
we are performing in front of at times. On many occasions I ask my friends why they
didn't show up at a gig and they tell me they were right in front of me trying to
get my attention but as always I play with my eyes closed.
RV: You express yourself with vividness through the instruments that you play. Can
you please share where the inspiration for your lyrics come from?
SH: The powers of blues guitarist such as Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert
Cray and Buddy Guy. The guitar is an extension to what we are saying, an added power
to finish off a phrase. It can be more powerful than words. I love writing about
true love, heart breaks, old relationships and good feelings. I'm trying to get the
feel across so people know where I've been and where I'm coming from...heart and
RV: Could you please provide a little background on your fellow band members to share
with the readers?
SH: Bassist and good friend Richard Neville. Richard has played with Poco, Vince
Gill, Micky Gilli, Tanya Tucker, and guitar master, Phil Brown. My Drummer and good
friend Eddy Baratini who has played with Richie Havens, guitar virtuoso, Stanley
Jordon and many other amazing guitar master in Arizona. On occasion my other bass
player and good friend is blues hall of fame inductee Jimmy Mack. Jimmy also toured
with Richie Havens but is currently touring with One Man's Trash out of Nashville.
So you can say I'm spoiled and very fortunate to play with such talented musicians
“Click to listen to Peace of Mind”
RV: What do you feel is necessary to stay motivated for you in order to pursue your
dream? I read where there have been some downfalls but that you've embraced the positive
to lead you to your goals. What keeps you climbing?
SH: I've been through it before so you can say it just a different part of a mountain.
I love the challenge but I also love the people and the new friends I've made along
this journey. I want to be satisfied where I can truly make a living at this career
but hopefully I will some day be given the opportunity to tour the world so I can
share my music to amass audience.
RV: How far do you want to take your love for your music? SH: As far as I can. I'd
rather be doing this instead of my other passion which was photojournalism. But if
I could ever afford to buy camera equipment who to say I wouldn't mind shooting a
documentary down the road. I still have a lot of ideas I'd love to share.
RV: Please feel free to share anything about you here that I haven't covered?
SH: I have a wonderful family since my first CD. I'm trying to get the funds for
the new CD which I think will make some noise when it starts to come to life in the
studio. I actually have a a producer working with me on the next project, that way
I can just focus on the music and not whole process.
Thanks Sir Harrison for taking the time out to talk to me and to share your phenomenal
music with us. I wish you much success with your career and with your upcoming cd
once it has been released. Please be sure to listen or purchase other tracks from
Sid Harrison and the Blues Kings by clicking here. Also be sure to visit Sir Harrison’s
MySpace account and let him know how much you enjoy the band’s music.