8 May 1963, Greenwood, South Carolina, USA. Raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Harling took an early interest in music, teaching himself to play drums and later becoming proficient on other instruments, including bass, trumpet and saxophones. During his school years he played in various bands and then tried making his way as a professional musician, playing in rock bands, mainly in Florida. This proved to be difficult and even a spell living in Nashville did not give his career a boost. Returning to Chattanooga he played and sang in local clubs, meanwhile meeting his future wife and also writing music. In 1996, he was hired by MCA where he worked as a songwriter, but almost at once was offered a recording contract.
Harlings compositions, which blend established country concepts with a contemporary sound, proved attractive to younger audiences without alienating the more traditionally minded. His singing voice is smoothly fluid and is especially suited to ballads. Among Harlings songs are Papa Bear, Walkin Away, There Goes The Neighborhood, Three Words Away, After Thoughts, Write It In Stone and Right In The Middle, the latter co-written with Melba Montgomery. When he sings older songs, such as I Never Go Around Mirrors, previously recorded by Lefty Frizzell and Keith Whitley, Harling finds a personal approach that helps make the material his own without showing any disrespect. This is just as well because on his second album, 1999s Bring It On, he was discouraged from using his own songs.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.