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Strictly Country copyright Get To Know 'Em title

A family that works together, stays together.


By: Gina Kay Singerhouse



   Down through the heart of America and across the great Smokey mountains, pass the southern hospitality of Georgia and into Florida, you will find the story of the Harris Family.  The Harris family is made up of Michael (father), Lisa (mother) and children Sarah, Joshua and Brianna. 

  This family’s story is unlike many other stories about the quintessential American family. Their story revolves around God, family and music.


A mandolin and a guitar. A banjo and a bass. A fiddle and a dobro. Might seen the instruments we play.  But deep inside there’s a special place, where the melody takes wing.


   Through the years the Harris family has evolved into a bluegrass band called Trinity River Band.

   “It wasn’t really until I came along - when I turned twelve or thirteen.  When I came to my dad and I wanted to learn  to play guitar.” shares Sarah Harris, lead singer of Trinity River Band.  “That’s the beginning stages of what eventually became our family playing together.”

   After attending a Bluegrass festival, Joshua was inspired to play the banjo.  Today, Joshua is an accomplished picker of the banjo and resophonic guitar.

   The youngest, Brianna, was quite young to play any instrument as the family band began.  However, today Brianna is a seasoned professional fiddle player as well as vocalist.


Every chord and every line, all the rhythm and the rhyme, comes from the Heartstrings.


   The family began touring local churches in early 2008. After an overwhelming response, they transitions into a full time touring act in 2011.  In 2014, Trinity River Band emerged onto the Bluegrass scene with their album Better Than Blue.  The album featured twelve beautiful cuts that showcased the family’s versatile talents.  The album also earned the band’s first award in the music industry.  On January 15, 2015, Strictly Country announced that Trinity River Band’s song “A Sinner’s Prayer” earned the Spirit Award’s Song of The Year Award. 

   At the tale end of 2014, the Harris family released their next album called On A Morning Like This.  This beautiful Christmas album features eight incredible versions of classic carols as well as two new soon to be favorites.  This album allowed the family to earn their second musical award.  On January 15, 2015,  Strictly Country announced that the band had earned the Spirit Award’s Spirit of Christmas Award for Sarah’s original song “This Christmas.”


Believing, there’s more to life than just breathing.  We set our sights on higher things, try to fly on eagles’ wings and playing on the Heartstrings.


  In May of 2015, Trinity River Band released their latest project called Heartstrings.  The album features twelve songs including what is sure to become their signature song with the title track.
   “We wanted a theme song that talks about how it is and what its like to be us. What does it mean to be us? How do we view life?  What is it that holds us together? How does this work?” shares Mike Harris.  “Sarah and I sat down to brain storm, to try and do exactly that [write music].  We started about two in the afternoon and we finally gave up about seven that night, right before dinner.  We’d come up with some ideas, but nothing that really worked, nothing that really jumped out at us.  We ate dinner and we talked about it and tried at it a little bit longer and we never came up with anything that really made us happy.  So we went to bed very discouraged.  Well about two hours later, I woke up from a dead sleep having been dreaming about writing the song...I had a whole entire first verse and part of the chorus written already in my head.  I jumped up, grabbed a piece of paper and pen and wrote down everything that I had in my head.  I got my guitar and went into the living room and about thirty more minutes I had that whole song written.  That’s how it came to be written.  It came to me in a dream! The next morning I told everybody I had the song, had everything.  The second I said ‘Heartstrings’ they said ‘that’s fantastic!’ I sang it and gave them the melody and everything and everybody was crying by the end of it, when we knew we had our song.”

   “Heartstrings” is not only the title song for this extraordinary album, but it has since become the signature song for Trinity River Band.  This song is the first of three songs from this album that will hit our list of Top Songs of 2015, while earning a nomination for The Spirit Award’s Song of The Year Award.


Another town, another stage.  Then many miles before we sleep.


   The second song from this album to hit the list of Top Songs of 2015 is “Fences.”  Written by Mark “Brink” Brinkman and Dale Pyatt, this song is a beautiful ballad about putting up boundaries between ourselves and other people.  Sarah gains the help from Marty Raybon to create a beautiful duet.  I would personally like to hear more duets between Marty and Sarah in the future, due to their near perfect vocal collaboration.

   The final song to hit our list of Top Songs from this beautiful album is a fun up beat song.  “Rusty Old American Dream,” is performed in a ‘50’s mix swing melody that is sure to get your toes tapping while you reminisce about about the old days when automobiles had style.

   As one get’s to know the Harris family as the Trinity River Band, one can hear the family heritage.  This group draws from their Irish, faith based, old fashioned heritage to bring forth a sound that is very unique in Bluegrass music.  Most Bluegrass artists tend to stick more towards the Bill Monroe or Ralph Stanley mentality when it comes to performance and musical styles.  With Trinity River you faintly hear Monroe and Stanley.  More so what you hear is the Harris’ as a family.


Stuck in the mud sometimes, but the Lord don’t let it get too deep.


   One thing you can always count on in an album by this group is a song or two with a religious basis.  Trinity River includes another song written by Mark ‘Brink’ Brinkman with “Give God The Power.”  Brianna steps up to create a delightful duet with sister Sarah in this beautiful up-lifting inspirational song.

  The other thing you will find on a Trinity River Band album is at least one Irish song.  Sarah gives a commanding performance in at traditional Irish ballad called “Where Are You Tonight, I Wonder.”

   Joshua shows that he is as talented as his sisters in a song that he wrote called “Mindbender.”  It’s not a Bluegrass album until you hear an instrumental that features the various talents of the group.  “Mindbender” truly showcases how much this group has grown since their Better Than Blue album.  Personally, I love instrumentals, but this one stands out amongst the rest for one reason, it’s real!  Most albums go through a cleansing process to pick up and delete all the anomalies like the slide of a picker’s fingers over the neck and strings of a guitar.  Trinity River proves their talents by including these anomalies, thus creating an album filled with real and pure music.


This kind of life ain't for everyone.  It’s not as easy as it seems.


   On the flip side, the band includes two covers.  Now I am one that despises this, due to the fact that covers only prove that an artist or in this case a band can perform someone else's music.  To me it’s a waste of time and money.  However, in a world where record labels are recording every Tom, Dick and Harry, a band or artist must stand out and this is how the industry says they should stand out.  That being said, Trinity River does an exceptional job in the two covers.  These covers include a unique version of Reba McEntire’s “How Blue” and Billy Dean’s “Only Here For A Little While.”  If you are a Reba fan and have heard this song before, take the time to hear Trinity River’s version.  The group captures one’s interest with a unique bluesy opening.  Where as the band sticks with the traditional performance of Billy’s song.  Although the Harris family proves their versatility with these two covers, they still bring the album down by adding them.


But all the laughing, all the crying, all the love, all the time...Comes from the Heartstrings.


   Other songs on the album include “You Can’t Walk All Over Me,” “Going Down Hard” and “Blue Mandolin.” The group gains help in “Tell Me Darlin’,” from Mark Johnson who adds his talents with his clawgrass banjo to the song.


Believing, there’s more to life than just breathing.  We set our sights on higher things, trying to fly on eagles’ wings and playing on the Heartstrings.


   This album truly demonstrates how this band has developed and matured since their Better Than Blue album.  Each individual has grown personally as well as musically.

  Strictly Country is all about maintaining a three hundred and sixty degree view of country music.  This album has hit the nail on the head of what we are.

   With Heartstrings, Trinity River Band has showcased a three hundred and sixty degree view of who they are. They have the Irish music that draws from their heritage.  They have the Bluegrass music, which is the basis of their musical styling.  They have the Gospel music in which they share their beliefs.  They have the picking, in “Mindbender,” which showcases their raw talents as musicians. They prove that they are just as good as the Hit makers with the cover songs.  Throughout the entire album, you hear their tight harmonies.  This album is a showcase of who they are musically, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  All of this is summed up in their song “Heartstrings.”


Believing, there’s more to life than just breathing.  We set our sights on higher things, trying to fly on eagles’ wings and playing on the Heartstrings.


  This is one band that lacks the extravagance and decoration that most of the entertainers consist of these days in the music industry.  What you see is what you get and what you get is real music by real musicians who happen to be a family.  For a family who works together, stays together. 

   Back in the ‘70’s and before, music contained heart, soul and passion.  Somewhere down the line we lost that.  Today music is about the fifteen minutes of fame that will earn millions of dollars.

   Trinity River Band is not like that.  Their music contains substance, heart and soul.  They are after entertaining you first with the hopes that the money from their music will support them. That’s what music is all about.  It’s about the Heartstrings.

  Strictly Country will feature a Cut-By-Cut of this album on our Friday night radio show - Around The Campfire beginning July 10, 2015. For more information about Trinity River Band or to purchase this album please visit:


...All the rhythm and the rhyme, comes from the Heartstrings...


   These "Heartstrings" comes from a family located in the heart of the sunshine state, Florida. 


(Printed in the July / August 2015 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)

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