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Joy Eden Harrison

Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

Jazz, folk/rock


Most recent release, Blue Venus (2006)

See also:

Joy Eden Harrison's website

The Ectophiles' Guide entry on Jewel (Joy was part of the San Diego acoustic set, and actually co-wrote a couple of songs with Jewel)


For anyone who's interested in jazz-influenced ecto music, Joy would be a wonderful purchase. She falls somewhere between kd lang's torch songs and the Holly Cole Trio. Joy sings original compositions that have a bit of a hipster jazz feel mixed with a bit of torch song chanteuse, a touch of Joni Mitchell and a touch of Rickie Lee Jones. Some of her new tunes take a wilder jazz approach á la Amy X Neuburg, while others, like "Yellow", mixed in (possibly beat-influenced) storytelling. (neal)

a little more moody in sound than her frequent touring partner, Cindy Lee Berryhill, and enjoyable, if a little more somber in attitude. (

If you like Holly Cole, you will like Joy Eden Harrison. (Matt.Bittner)

Covers/own material:

Joy writes most of her own material but does do a few covers ("I Fall to Pieces" appears on her first album).

General comments:

Joy Eden Harrison was big part of the female singer-songwriter San Diego music scene and a good friend of Jewel's.
     Joy is a somewhat jazzy singer, though her last album spreads out in a lot of different directions. She sometimes fronts a band, but I think has been mostly playing solo lately. She accompanies herself on guitar. I think I've seen her in at least 3 house concerts, as well as myriad coffeeshops. (neal)

Comments about live performance:

Live, now she fronts a jazz trio that consists of her on guitar and a keyboardist and drummer. The sound is fuller and freer than on previous acoustic performances. Her new material takes many twists and turns from what she was doing before. I was amazed at the variety and experimentation in the set, since previously she'd been working in a much narrower range. (1997, neal)

Recommended first album:



Angel Town

Release info:

1995—Bizarre/Planet Records—BP 40501-2


Generally available, but may need to be special ordered.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for jazz fans

Group members:

Joy Eden Harrison—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Jeff Berkley—percussion
Gunnar Biggs—upright bass
Buddy Blue—guitar
Tim "Steelbone Cook"—trombone
Louis Fanucchi—accordion
Christian Foley Beining—guitar
Robbie Helm—saxophones
Rick Helzer—piano
Mitcher Manker—trumpet, flugelhorn
Duncan Moore—drums

Produced by:

Buddy Blue


A local San Diego artist, friend of Jewel, and kind of the mother of the female acoustic scene in San Diego—this album is a true jazz album. The instrumentation and vocals are great, but Joy's voice is one you either love or hate, reminiscent of Forties jazz. I really like this album, but not everyone will—and it's probably not that easy to find outside of San Diego—though it is possible. Her lyrics are often humorous, but evocative of a previous era, bringing to mind icons like James Dean and Marlene Dietrich. (

Quite wonderful! I really like her voice. This one is different from her latest Unforgiven in that it's more jazz-oriented. It is truly exquisite. (Matt.Bittner)


Release info:

1999—Astarte Records—4 6879-2

Guest artists include:

John Erickson—piano
Jeff Dalrymple—drums
Chris Davies—bass
Renata Bratt—cello

Produced by:

Cindy Lee Berryhill


I'm not exaggerating at all when I tell you this album is totally amazing. It's so much more realized (both lyrically & musically) than Angel Town. It features a far greater range of musical expression and texture. Staying true to her jazz roots but blending some pop overtones into the mix has really allowed Joy to take a giant leap forward in my opinion.
     Cindy Lee Berryhill's arrangements are absolutely wonderful without sounding like "CLB arrangements". Anyone heavy-handed would have diminished what Joy was aiming for, but CLB was the perfect producer, in my opinion. The recordings have that "natural instrument sound" quality like Garage Orchestra but stay true to Joy's jazz roots. Joy's vocals on this blow away the somewhat sterilized sound of Angel Town. And bottom line is that these are much more engaging songs. Most of the songs deal with pain & loss but rather than be depressing, it's more like a self-exploration & cathartic release of that pain, but still makes me feel soooo good & continues to improve with every listen. Luscious jazz & blues vocals blended with wonderfully unique pop-tinged production.
     These recordings have captivated my attention for months now & continue to fascinate me after many repeated listenings. It's by far my favorite release so far this year & has the kind of depth that I know I'll still enjoy many years from now. (

This is one excellent album. Although the first two listens it didn't quite grow on me, the third and subsequent listens made me a Joy fan. I really like this. Wonderful jazz! If you like your ecto-fare jazz-tinged, then you will like Joy. I so like this work that I'm going to try to find Angel Town. (Matt.Bittner)

It's great, isn't it? Her sophomore effort is more mature, more folky, and extremely rich with meaning and memorable tunes. (Greg Dunn)

Odd little album—a departure from her first album—can definitely feel Cindy Lee Berryhill's influence, but a great collection of songs. (

Further info:

Her "Soldiers Dance" & "Where Have You Gone Jimmy Dean?" (earlier versions than in Angel Town) appear in the Miracoustic compilation (1994—Local Buzz Productions—#LB-9021-0). "Rodeo Santa" (co-written with Steve Poltz) appears in the Tierra Santa holiday compilation (1994—Digital Dexterity Records—9401XY). "Johnny Midnight" appears in the Ocean compilation (1997—SLAMM Aids Benefit—SLAMM 007). "Where Have You Gone Jimmy Dean" & "Angels Watching Over Me" (both live) appear in the "Future Folklore" Volume 3—independent cassette from 1998.

Her song, "The Love Beneath Your Lies" is now in a Peter Yates film, Curtain Call.

Thanks to Jeffrey Hanson and Alan Bershaw for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2008-11-16 18:32:13.
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