When J.P. Harris wrote the kickoff track to last year’s Home Is Where the Hurt Is, he had one image in mind: last call at Robert’s Western World, a rowdy, throwback honky-tonk in downtown Nashville.
“On any Friday night, you’ve get a whole horde of drunk dudes wanting to dance with a whole horde of wild women,” he says. “I wanted to write a song that made light of the perpetual male plight of dancing all night with a girl, then getting nothing but a kiss on the cheek at the end of the night. ‘Give a Little Lovin” is based around the age-old parody of a horny man as a goat, just rampaging wildly around, trying to find something to procreate with.”
Two barnyard goats appear in the song’s music video, which makes its debut today — Harris’ birthday, coincidentally — on Rolling Stone Country. Shot in six hours by director Joshua Shoemaker, the clip conjures up the kitschy, awkward spirit of old-school country music variety shows from the Sixties and Seventies, back when bolo ties and polyester suits ruled the roost.
“Since ‘Give a Little Lovin” is heavily tongue-in-cheek, I wanted the video to be a little bit over the top,” Harris explains. “I told the band, ‘Alright guys, you know how awkward everyone used to be on those shows, because they were a bunch of hillbillies who’d never been in front of a TV camera in their lives? Just channel that.'”
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Joined by various members of his rotating road band and two of the biggest personalities in the Americana underground — Jonny Fritz, who plays the part of an overenthusiastic TV host, and Nikki Lane, who walks onstage halfway through the song for a quick, confetti-covered cameo — Harris winks, mugs and generally hams it up throughout the three-minute video. Old Crow Medicine Show’s fiddle player, Chance McCoy, also shows up, playing acoustic guitar throughout the song (as he did on the record) and singing harmonies during the chorus.
Next month, Harris and McCoy two will launch their annual “old time duet tour,” which wraps up one week before South by Southwest. Harris will remain on the road for much of the remaining year, with his first full-length European tour kicking off in April.