Horsefly Music, a new record company with a love for American Roots & Western music, may be the new kid on the block, but the owners, Nashville Producer Christopher Harris and his California partner songwriter Steve Thomas, bring much expertise to the table.
Harris is also well-known singer and songwriter. He and wife Jan comprise the duo Rodeo and Juliet, who have released singles including “Hi Di Ho Montana” and “Rodeo and Juliet,” which Harris cowrote with Paul Overstreet. He also produced Michael Martin Murphey’s latest album, “Austinology • Alleys of Austin.”
Harris has been associated with a roster of artists that reads like the “Who’s Who” in several genre's of music – everyone from Amy Grant to Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith to CeCe Winans, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Michael Martin Murphey, Clint Black, Asleep at the Wheel and Dolly Parton to name a few. Top that with working on jingles for Coke, Mattel Skip-It, Kellogg’s Sugar Smacks, Dominos Pizza, American Airlines, National Cattleman’s Association and Ford and Dodge Trucks, Chik-Fil-A, Pepsi, Southwest Airlines & Transformers.
Harris, a Texas native is a huge fan of western music and looks forward to bringing new elements to the sound. “I’d love to raise the bar just a little bit, do cinematic cowboy music which could easily be pitched to television and film. I love story songs with a cinematic sound that have a great melody and a great hook. We won’t be afraid to push the envelope a little bit in our Western and Roots endeavors. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel but want to contribute to the genre and offer great quality of songs and production with a unique variety of artists.”
Steve Thomas is a songwriter who also happens to be a well-known developer in California. His interest in music as a part of the music business was provoked after he co-wrote his first song, “Hi Di Ho Montana,” with Harris & Nashville songwriter Jim Weber and Rodeo and Juliet recorded it. The song went to number four in October 2017 on the western charts. Thomas started writing the idea while in a deer blind in Montana one cold and early morning, while hearing cowboys off in the distance singing “Hidey Hoooooo” while they were bringing cattle down from the mountains with a snowstorm getting to blow in. Ha! Idea for a song.
At that point, Thomas knew the duo from hiring them several times to play at private events in Colorado. He loves western music and is keenly interested in promoting western music to as many people as the new label can possibly reach. The name of the label comes from the region where Thomas lives, Horsefly Mesa.
Thomas also is a member of Rancheros Vistadores, a gathering of men who promote the western heritage of California and the U.S. The group has been around for about 90 years, and they get together every year for a week in the hills above Santa Ynez Valley more than 1000 horses and 1200 men to celebrate the western lifestyle. The group annually raises money for a great cause, including last year’s one million dollars for breast cancer programs.
Thomas is also always on hand for the Fall Gathering in Loomis, California.
“With Horsefly Music, our goal is to bring good quality western music to fans, and promote that type of music throughout the country,” Thomas says. “I’m very excited about this new endeavor, and I’m proud of the music we already have lined up to introduce the new company.”
Thomas says two-time Super Bowl player Jeff Severson is one of those artists. “He is a musician, songwriter and he wrote a beautiful song that I heard at Fall Gathering, “What’s A Cowgirl Supposed To Do.” It’s a wonderful song and Kristyn Harris a 24-year old Texas native who already has won the Western Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year three years in a row and also has been named Female Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists twice, has recorded it for Horsefly’s first release. In 2018 she was also chosen to be a contestant on ABC’s “American Idol.” Kristyn’s song is the labels’s first release.
Plans for the label include one release a month to western radio and the western media markets, all by different artists who excel in western music. The label also hopes to release a five-song EP on the Kristyn.
Second in line is Ryan Murphey. Horsefly Records will release “Diego and The Broken Spur” in October. Murphey is a GRAMMY-nominated producer, singer, guitarist and songwriter who often travels with his father, Michael Martin Murphey (“Wildfire,” “Carolina In The Pines,” “What’s Forever For”). He has released four albums as a solo entertainer. In 1988, he and his dad had a number one hit on the country charts with “Talkin’ To The Wrong Man” from Murphey’s “River of Time Album.”
At the end of 12 months, Horsefly plans to offer an album of all the songs previously released plus bonus tracks for fans to purchase. In the meantime, Harris hints that there could be some hidden tracks that show up on our Horsefly Music Club website for those who join up as member’s of the club. “We simply wanna tell stories about the love America has for the West, through songs.”