Hoopla

Husband, wife duo Harper & Lee from Iowa to perform Friday at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids

Lee (left) and Harper, an Americana duo based in Des Moines, perform as Harper & Lee. They'll perform originals and cove
Lee (left) and Harper, an Americana duo based in Des Moines, perform as Harper & Lee. They’ll perform originals and cover tunes when they perform Friday (2/28) at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids. (Harper & Lee)

When the married couple known as Harper & Lee fooled around as a duo two years ago, they weren’t banking on a musical union.

“I didn’t even know that Lee could sing until right before we started this,” Harper said by phone from the couple’s Des Moines home. “Once Lee started singing, it hit me about what we were going to do.”

Harper, 35, was working on his English degree.

“I was planning on going for a doctorate in writing and teaching in college,” he said.

Lee, 22, who was born in Independence but grew up in Des Moines, was studying photography. However, once the couple whose last name is Connelly discovered their musical spark, school was junked in favor of music.

“We had to see where this would take us,” Harper said. “Lee was the missing piece for me in music.”

If they make a name for themselves, it will be with their middle monikers.

Harper’s first name is Sam and Lee’s is Addison. Sam and Addison doesn’t sound as cool as Harper and Lee, which conjures the image of the late iconic novelist Harper Lee, who penned the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but only wrote one other book.

Expect Harper and Lee to be considerably more prolific.

“We have a lot of songs in us,” Harper said. “More will be coming out, the more we experience. The future looks bright.”

Harper, who grew up in Arkansas, listened to a lot of folk and grunge during his childhood.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“I loved Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan and Nirvana. I loved the punchy three-chord songs from Nirvana. I listened to so much music I was inspired to make music.”

Harper has been playing for more than 20 years. When the Americana husband-wife duo started, he was playing rhythm guitar but he has shifted to delivering lead guitar since Lee, who didn’t even play guitar at the inception of the act, has become a confident musician.

“Lee has come a long way in a short period of time,” Harper said. “We’ll see where we go with this.”

Harper and Lee, who perform Friday (2/28) at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, are just beyond an embryonic state in their career.

So far just a pair of Harper and Lee singles are on Spotify and they have just five YouTube videos.

“It’s a start,” Lee said. “We have songs that we think will be on our first album. When we get to Cedar Rapids, we’ll play those songs.”

Expect to experience some covers, as well. The act will drop some Wilco and Grateful Dead tunes into their set. They also offer a revamped version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”

“We’re not too crazy about playing songs other people have written,” Lee said. “We would rather play our own songs. We’ll get to the point pretty soon when we’ll just be playing our own material.”

As Harper and Lee’s set list expands, the expectation is that they will flesh out their sound courtesy of additional musicians.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“We would like to add more (to the sonic equation),” Lee said. “We played a show with a bassist once and it sounded great. We’ll see what we can find here in Iowa.

“I love it here, since Iowa has a good support system. We fit here. There’s a Midwest feel to our music. I’m ecstatic about where we are. We could be doing other things.”

There’s little doubt about that. Harper has three degrees.

“I have them in computer science, graphic design and science, but I’m all about music,” he said. “The coolest thing is that I get to do this with my wife. We’re on the same page. It’ll be fascinating to see where we can take this.”

Get Out!

• What: Harper & Lee

• Where: CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

• When: 8 p.m. Friday (2/28)

• Tickets: $7 advance, $11 door, CSPS Box Office, (319) 364-1580 or Legionarts.org/events/upcoming/harper-lee/

• Artists’ website: Harperandleemusic.com/

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.