Bulldog (from left): Jay Rowe, Ben Force, Pete Ballard, Eddie Harsch, Kenny Tudrick
I wrote about this band way back in 2004 (with photog Doug Coombe) and that’s when I first met its piano man Eddie Harsch. Before that I'd often see him down in Greektown, in downtown Detroit, scoring weed. Now the tall, lanky Harsch just looked so lived in; he moved with a stoner's grace, like he had a total comfort about himself, an earned soul. He looked way older than his years, and he knew more about music from the American South than anyone I’d ever met, even in Detroit, and that’s saying a helluva lot. He played the piano and Hammond B3 organ with absolute grace too; his beautiful counterpoint lines and runs exercised perfect restraint, even on the flat-out rock ’n’ rollers. You can hear him on Black Crowes records, like Amorica and Three Snakes and One Charm. (Harsch co-wrote “Silver Car,” the best song by far on Chris Robinson’s solo debut, New Earth Mud). He played in the Crowes for years.
Eddie Harsch in Bulldog, circa 2004
Harsch was also in this band Bulldog, in Detroit, fronted by my friend, gifted singer-songwriter Kenny Tudrick. (The quartet also included pedal steel player Pete Ballard, another wholly undersung Detroiter.) They made one absolute gem of an album, which blended a kind of melancholy Gram Parsons, and Neil Young and The Band, or something like that, and it had real gentle power. No one cared about Bulldog in Detroit, or anywhere else. Timing is everything, of course, and these guys really were a bunch of stoners. They should've been huge. Their sound was their own because this guy Tudrick is the real thing—seek out his solo records, they hum and they soar—and Eddie Harsch was the real thing too. I just found out that Harsch had died yesterday, and it's heartbreaking. He was playing with Rich Robinson again. A gentle giant to be sure.
This song, "Crash and Burn" is lovely, in an "Out on the Weekend" kinda way. Watch Tudrick, Harsch and Bulldog in the vid below.