BEN HARPER FINDS SIMPLICITY IN THE CITY OF LIGHT.Byline: GEORGE A. PAUL
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Sometimes the old routine needs to get shaken up.
Last year, while on a European tour, Ben Harper Benjamin Chase "Ben" Harper (born October 28, 1969) is an American musician. Biography
Harper was born in Claremont, California, U.S. (in California's Pomona Valley). He began playing guitar as a child in Claremont. decided to use time normally reserved for soundcheck
Once that concert trek was finished, everyone headed to a primitively equipped Paris studio and recorded "Lifeline" (Virgin) in a week.
Unlike 2006's double CD set "Both Sides of the Gun," where a few band members appeared sporadically, all five guys were vital to the music-writing process on the acoustic soul effort. Harper manned the boards, as on "Gun."
Standouts include the subtle, harmonica-laden "Fool for a Lonesome lone·some
a. Dejected because of a lack of companionship. See Synonyms at alone.
b. Producing such dejection: a lonesome hour at the bar.
2. Train," upbeat and infectious "Say You Will" (shades of Noun 1. shades of - something that reminds you of someone or something; "aren't there shades of 1948 here?"
reminder - an experience that causes you to remember something 2000 hit "Steal Your Kisses") and feisty, '70s-era Van Morrison vibe in "Put It on Me." The latter two boast supple female backing vocals from Rovleta Fraser and Michelle Haynes.
Born in Pomona and raised in Claremont, where his grandparents grandparents npl → abuelos mpl
grandparents grand npl → grands-parents mpl
grandparents grand npl started the Folk Music Center, Harper has recorded seven studio albums since debuting in 1994 with "Welcome to the Cruel World Welcome to the Cruel World (1994), Ben Harper's debut record from Virgin Records established Harper as a popular folk musician in the California area. After this release, Harper went on to add a permanent backing band, the Innocent Criminals ." He also won a pair of Grammy Awards for "There Will Be a Light," a 2004 collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama.
We caught up with Harper -- who celebrated his 38th birthday on Oct. 28 -- recently backstage at "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."
Why choose to do "Lifeline" in Paris?
There's no denying the reasons why art has gravitated toward that country and city for a long time. Right now, it's having a musical renaissance that's very exciting. It felt like the right energetic place to be making a record.
Talk a little about the process of making it.
This environment was sort of a concentrated style -- not a pressure cooker, but definitely intense. There were a certain amount of days and we had to maximize our time.
How did you feel about working differently?
It sure was great writing with the band. That was something I'd never done before and didn't even know it was possible. Everybody just removed their ego from the table and brought their best musical step forward.
You didn't mind opening yourself up to that kind of input?
I didn't. It was time, I knew it was time, and I could ... hear what the band was writing on their own at soundchecks.
Why did you pause before answering?
You caught that. The pause was because it was slightly painful. I had never done it. I'm someone who'd been isolated and introverted in·tro·vert·ed
Marked by interest in or preoccupation with oneself or one's own thoughts as opposed to others or the environment. in the writing process up to that point. It was a huge shift for me creatively.
Beauty and simplicity seem to be the consensus about these songs. Do you wish there was more of that in today's music?
I do like to hear the instruments. I think a lot of production is so layered that you don't ... sometimes things just become a wall of sound.
At the Bonnaroo Fest, you did a sizzling siz·zle
intr.v. siz·zled, siz·zling, siz·zles
1. To make the hissing sound characteristic of frying fat.
2. To seethe with anger or indignation.
3. take on Led Zeppelin's "Dazed daze
tr.v. dazed, daz·ing, daz·es
1. To stun, as with a heavy blow or shock; stupefy.
2. To dazzle, as with strong light.
A stunned or bewildered condition. and Confused" with bassist John Paul Jones. How was the experience?
It was one of the greatest musical experiences of my life. I don't think it could ever be topped -- just getting to hang out, talk with him and getting to know him a little bit was a great honor. I wish we could do more of it.
How do you manage to keep each show fresh?
I've never heard this band play a song the same way twice. Not yet. Not even "Steal My Kisses "Steal My Kisses" is a single by American singer, Ben Harper released in 2000. Song information
Why do you think "Lifeline" lends itself to smaller venues?
I wanted to bring it into the world in as intimate a setting as possible. There's not one word or note that's throwaway throwaway
See for your information (FYI). on this record. I didn't want it to get lost.
BEN HARPER & THE INNOCENT CRIMINALS
>Where: Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway, downtown L.A.
>When: 8 tonight.
>Cost: $48. (213) 480-3232 or ticketmaster.com
>Also: 8 p.m. Nov. 18, San Diego Civic Theatre, Third and B streets, San Diego, $35 to $45.
(color) "There's not one word or note that's throwaway on this record. I didn't want it to get lost," says Ben Harper of his new album, "Lifeline."