David Ryan Harris: Running for Mayer 

Singer/songwriter gears up for another solo effort

To untrained ears, soulful singer/songwriter David Ryan Harris might come off like a free-spirited musician who just sits somewhere plucking out heartfelt tunes all day.

They wouldn't be far off.

"If I were to go fill out a job application, they'd be like, 'What have you been doing for the last 12 years?' Honestly, I just love it so much," says Harris. "A career change now would be silly."

Besides, what would he tell John Mayer? Harris, who's released four solo projects and three as a member of genre-blurring groups Follow For Now and Brand New Immortals, met Mayer thousands of riffs ago in the underground Atlanta music circuit. The two remain friends and have shared many a stage since. In fact, they're finishing up a tour this month.

"It's just been really hard for me to write on the road," says the Atlanta-bred, L.A.-based talent who's squeezing in his upcoming show at the Loft between Southeastern U.S. gigs with Mayer. "That's all about to come to an end. [John is] going to write a new record. I need to do that, too. Since The Bittersweet record came out [in 2006], I've just been writing with other people and producing. At the end of the year, I'm just going to go away and try to write a record and have something ready, hopefully, early next year."

If Harris sounds like the type of artist who's anxious to etch his name beside such idols of his as Bill Withers and Donny Hathaway, guess again. "I've never been one for a whole lot of fame," insists Harris, who's also worked with Cassandra Wilson and Dionne Farris. "I've just wanted to put food on the table and make music that appeals to me and my peers. I can't say enough how I just feel fortunate. I feel like I've won the lottery."

David Ryan Harris performs w/ Sam Thacker Thurs., Aug. 28. $20. 8 p.m. The Loft, 1374 W. Peachtree St. 404-885-1365. www.theloft-atlanta.com.

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