Founding members of Harlen Simple, guitar player Erick Thomas, and front man, Travis Williams started out small playing open mic nights at local bars in Manassas, Virginia during the summer of 2001. Performing primarily covers of songs mainly from the 60’s to the 90’s the band honed their sound and started to develop a strong following in the Manassas bar scene.
Veteran bassist Kenny Morrow started sitting in with them at these open mic nights, officially joining Erick and Travis in 2003. With the addition of Kenny Morrow the band’s sound really gelled with hints of rock, funk and reggae influences. Drummer Ricky Coleman filled in for a show with the band in 2007 and Harlen Simple never let go.
Citing a wide range of influences Harlen Simple draws their inspiration from classic artists and bands such as the Allman Brothers, Bob Marley, Bill Withers and Freddie King. The diversity of their influences and being that they are there to entertain and play music lends to some of the most electric live shows in local music.
The fact they never write set lists and Erick improvises all of his solos in both their originals and the covers they still perform means that no two Harlen Simple shows are ever the same. Audiences in 70+ different venues up and down the East Coast have been able to witness the singular time a Harlen Simple show was performed the way that audience experienced it.
Harlen Simple has played in venues as little known as Foolio’s in Woodbridge, VA, to as large as RFK Stadium, to as historic as the iconic 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. No venue is too small, or too big for them to play as long as they, in the words of guitarist Erick Thomas, “Drink beer and have fun.”