.Love Your Local Band: Harpin and Clark

When John Troutner (aka “Harpin Jonny”) and Peter Clark get up on stage, people expect blues songs. But in reality, the duo Harpin and Clark plays many different styles of music.

For instance, they have a song in their repertoire that’s a medley of Dave Brubeck’s jazz classic “Take Five” and The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things.” It works surprisingly well.

“People are not used to hearing that. I think it’s ear candy for them,” says Troutner. “We both have been musicians a long time, and we like to mix it up. So we don’t get bored, basically.”

But the duo isn’t a jazz band either. You’ll also hear country, blues, Django-Reinhardt-style tunes, bluegrass and a lot more.

“We both just like the duo aspect of guitar and harmonica, and the versatility we can do in terms of just a big, wide range of music,” says Troutner.

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The project, which is roughly five years old, gives the longtime local musicians a new experience with music. Both have been friends for a long time, and have even collaborated from time to time, but with this downtempo project, they get to focus less on getting people up on the dance floor.

“As I get older, I prefer to not play at the Crow’s Nest ’til 1 in the morning, and have to be leading a rock band on my feet all night,” says Troutner. “This is a different kind of energy. We can both play back and forth to each other. The venues are more like wineries or happy hours or private parties. People listen more. I tend to sell more CDs.”

The duo is currently working on their first CD together, which they hope to release next summer. It should have originals and some unique renditions of songs they like to cover. 

INFO: 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. Free. 479-9777.


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