Ottawa singer Sherri Harding has paid her dues.
After years on the road in various bands, playing everything from juke joints in the Northwest Territories to Armed Forces shows in Bosnia and the Middle East, home beckoned, and she finally returned to Ottawa. Eventually, like many in a government town, she ended up in the public service but lived a double life, often having her guitar under her desk, ready to head out to a gig directly after the 9-to-5 grind.
In 2016, she got the chance to join hometown heroes The Cooper Brothers. “I remember feeling so proud singing “The Dream Never Dies” for the first time on stage with them,” said Sherri.
After falling in love with her voice and realizing that, with all that talent, Sherri really deserved a serious shot – not as a backup singer, but out front – Dick Cooper started writing an album of songs for her during COVID. The result is Sherri’s first original album – A Million Pieces.
From day one, Dick had a single place in mind to record Sherri: the same place that so many renowned female singers like Aretha Franklin and Etta James, and Linda Ronstadt and Mavis Staples chose to record – Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
In August 2022, with Dick producing, they headed down to the iconic recording Mecca where they assembled a stellar line-up for the project including David Hood (Last surviving “Swamper”) Kelvin Holly (Little Richard, Bobby Bland etc.) Lynn Williams (Delbert McClinton, The Wallflowers) Clayton Ivey (The Staple Sisters, Thelma Houston) Spooner Oldham (Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge) and the Muscle Shoals Horn Section.
With so many legendary musicians, the result is a killer mix of musical styles. The songs range from flat-out, hook-laden rock (“The System”), to beautiful soul ballads (“Lady of the House”) and up-tempo horn-infused pop as on the first single “Don’t Tell Me How To Feel.”