Harper's Gambit
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Harper's Gambit

Charleston, South Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2020

Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Established on Jan, 2020
Band Rock Indie




"Harper’s Gambit writes life into lyrics"

By Kate Bryan

Local alt-rock outfit Harper’s Gambit’s debut album Yesterday’s Dreams is a pandemic-born labor of love.

Bassist/vocalist Jake Schoenberg and guitarist/vocalist Derek Tuck, the band’s main songwriting duo, took a folk-influenced approach to writing lyrics for Yesterday’s Dreams, focusing on direct storytelling.

“We don’t really speak in metaphors,” Schoenberg said. This narrative approach gives the band’s alt-rock expression an Americana sensibility.

Much of the songwriting for Yesterday’s Dreams was driven by Tuck and Schoenberg turning angst into catharsis.

“We began recording during Covid-19. We couldn’t go out and play at that time and that was hard,” Schoenberg said. “It was challenging for us to stick together as a band when we couldn’t perform, so we kind of took that energy and put it toward recording.”

One track, “Oak Tree,” is a response to Schoenberg and his wife’s pandemic-induced wedding cancellation, delaying both the celebration of their love and the chance to see friends and family.

“Writing the song kind of helped me and my wife cope,” Schoenberg said. “I need to be playing music to keep myself level headed and to channel the heavy emotions.”

Tuck wrote “Yesterday’s Dreams,” the title track, while frustrated about the student loan debt that has crippled many in his generation. “I’m trying to think of a way of saying it without sounding cliche,” Tuck said. “It’s more a mental health kind of thing for me. Like if I don’t do it, I feel worse.”

The recording process was not without its challenges: Tuck and Schoenberg recorded the album entirely on their own, making a home studio out of Tuck’s guest bedroom.

“Everything on the album we recorded ourselves,” Schoenberg said. “And every instrument we had to record one at a time and track by track.”

The result is an album brimming with not only fresh emotion, but an air of authenticity. The album’s upbeat energy floats on an undercurrent of hyper-personal songwriting, bringing an appealing earnestness that transcends genre.

Ultimately, logistical constraints didn’t hinder, but rather encouraged, Harper’s Gambit’s creation of Yesterday’s Dreams.

“We could [only] create with what we actually had in that room, where we recorded everything,” Tuck said. “I think being able to limit yourself like that breeds creativity.” - Charleston City Paper

"Yesterday's Dreams Album Review"

Harper’s Gambit provides the late summer jams with the stellar “Yesterday’s Dreams”. Done with such finesse the whole thing works as the sonic embodiment of a good time. These tracks possess a degree of light, bright, and airy textures to them. Whilst listening to it I was reminded of the countless good times I have had going to summer festivals and listening to the bands play. A degree of liveliness comes through over the course of the journey. Lyrics too reflect this steady calm, this happiness that seems to inform every single nook and cranny of the album.

A number of references come up throughout the whole of the experience. Upon first listen I immediately recalled the laid-back grooves of Austin’s Spoon, for they have that similar sense of play about their work. Beyond this, there is a Pixies-like desire for experimentation while keeping things decidedly loose. I am of course talking of their 90s output, when they calmed down their initial punk impulses for something almost Bossa Nova like. Yet, for all these comparisons, Harper’s Gambit really does create a style that is uniquely their own.

Things start off in fine fashion with the opener and title track “Yesterday’s Dreams” setting the tone for what follows. With a bluesy, classic rock vibe “Honey Pie” is absolutely massive, from the swinging rhythms to the glowing keyboard vamps. “Stories” reveals a tenderness, a sound stripped down to the essentials. Melodies here have a richness to them and the pacing quite deliberate, even dreamy. Wonderful keyboard work introduces “Steady State” and indeed continues throughout the entirety of the whole thing. By far the highlight comes through with “Sunday Afternoon”. Perfectly embodying the joy that comes from doing nothing and having no responsibilities, everything here works right down to the lovely lyricism. Reverent to its very core “Old Man” grows and builds itself up into a force to be reckoned with. Usage of the slide guitar to add to the surreal scope further solidifies this sense of wonder. Bringing it all home comes the delicate finale of “Carolina”.

“Yesterday’s Dreams” shows off the casual cool and grace of Harper’s Gambit for they create indie rock with soul. - Beach Sloth

"Triple-header rock show at Tin Roof"

With influences including Wilco and My Morning Jacket, Harper’s Gambit came onto the Charleston scene in 2020 with its easy listening indie rock. The band consists of bassist/vocalist Jake Schoenberg, guitarist/vocalist Derek Tuck and drummer Brandon Bryant. - Charleston City Paper


Our Debut Album "Yesterday's Dreams" Released on September 23, 2022
Listen here on SpotifyApple Music, and YouTube Music.



Harper's Gambit is an indie alt-rock band from Charleston, South Carolina. The band is led by a duo of energetic music-loving friends Derek and Jake. Harper’s Gambit weaves a rich tapestry of folk-inspired songwriting with indie rock melodies and head shaking hooks. 

Their unique brand of musicianship fuses hard-hitting grooves with rich vocal harmonies and heartfelt storytelling. Their “easy listening indie rock” has earned them attention from South Carolina publication Charleston City Paper. Their on stage performances will make you want to sing along and rock out all night long. 

Their debut album “Yesterday’s Dreams,” was written and recorded in the band’s humble home studio during the height of the pandemic and was released on September 23rd, 2022. 

Band Members