Ben Harper © KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Ben Harper and Relentless7

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Ben Harper Season 35 by Todd Slater

With influences like Taj Mahal, Neil Young and Bob Marley, to name a few, it’s hard to believe that any artist can live up to those expectations. But Ben Harper is making his way. One of the most eclectic performers in music, Harper has delved into genres from folk, blues and hard rock to country and reggae.

Raised in a musical family, Harper began playing guitar at an early age, publicly performing at age 12. He has produced twelve albums since starting his solo career in 1992, and has performed in countless festivals across the globe to thousands of fans.  His 2005 work with the Blind Boys of Alabama earned him a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album and the song “11th Commandment” received the Grammy for Best  Pop Instrumental Performance.

His last album Lifeline, produced in 2007 with his band The Innocent Criminals, brought Harper more acclaimed reviews. He recorded the album in Paris in one week on a 16-track analog tape machine without any computers – a feat that would make any critic nervous, but only reinforced Harper’s talent.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to make a record in Paris,“ Harper said. “And it’s been a lifelong ambition to record right off the road – to get that raw, nasty sort of dazed, lethargic emotional release from the end of a tour on a record.”

With his new band called Relentless7, Harper released a new album, White Lies in Dark Times, in May 2009.

“Harper is a natural-born superstar who has operated in the pop universe his way. He is, for all his flash, just Ben, a gifted singer, songwriter and guitarist bent on seeking transcendence in everyday places,” wrote Rolling Stone.

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