Ben Harper

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Tix for all 4 nights of the BHIC reunion in SF at the Fillmore 3/25-28/2015 on sale this Fri http://t.co/v7jR8YXRHF http://t.co/h6qBgHw7cO


At a Glance

Birthname: Benjamin Chase Harper
Nationality: American
Born: Oct 28 1969


Biography

The most affecting albums exist as documents – of a time, place, relationships. Childhood Home by Ben and Ellen Harper is that and more. It is the history of a family written in song by a mother and a son, where they come from, hardships transcended, the place they have arrived.

“This album is a portrait and it's a conversation,” Ben Harper says from the kitchen table of his mother's home. Ellen Harper, his mother and collaborator on the album, nods and smiles. The house is nestled in the foothills beneath the San Gabriel Mountains. It is a setting that is integral to the evocative and ... Read more

The most affecting albums exist as documents – of a time, place, relationships. Childhood Home by Ben and Ellen Harper is that and more. It is the history of a family written in song by a mother and a son, where they come from, hardships transcended, the place they have arrived.

“This album is a portrait and it's a conversation,” Ben Harper says from the kitchen table of his mother's home. Ellen Harper, his mother and collaborator on the album, nods and smiles. The house is nestled in the foothills beneath the San Gabriel Mountains. It is a setting that is integral to the evocative and honest record they have made. “What you hear, it's the sound of this place,” Ben offers. “The sound of this town, and my grandparent's legacy.”

Claremont is a picturesque college town situated between the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles and the vast California desert. It is where Ellen raised Ben and his two younger brothers, singing folk songs inside their modest home, at park concerts and in local coffee houses. It is where the grandparents settled. They opened a small store selling acoustic instruments in the quiet downtown area. Soon the Folk Music Center was helping to nurture a burgeoning southern California folk movement.

Both Ellen and Ben have deep roots in the sparse intimate sound that makes up Childhood Home. Growing up in Massachusetts, Ellen's parents would bring her to hootenannies where she heard the likes of Pete Seeger and Hedy West, soaking up a potent mix of music and social activism. By twelve the family had moved west and she had picked up a guitar, bearing witness to and participating in a vibrant folk scene focused around institutions such as The Ash Grove, The Penny University, her parent's shop and the coffee house they established, The Golden Ring. “Back then it wasn't mainstream, it was protest, music,” she says. “It's a music and politics that is embedded in our family and informs this album.”

Forgoing a career in music to concentrate on raising her children, the mother’s singing proved an inspirational soundtrack. “I was literally raised with her voice, both as mother and as a singer,” Ben says. “She spent so much time making music with us while we were growing up. There was always folk music in the house.”

After apprenticing at the family music store, Ben would emerge as a musician of extraordinary talent and vision. While in his twenties he forged a distinctive sound, merging a stirring brand of folk with elements of soul, reggae and a punk fire. Initially packing local coffee houses, he soon found a large and dedicated worldwide fan base. He also proved himself a consummate songwriter and collaborator, producing works for such iconic artists as The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Rickie Lee Jones, Natalie Maines and Charlie Musselwhite. He has won three GRAMMY Awards to date.

The idea of Childhood Home began with an impromptu live performance. Mother and son initially performed together supporting a documentary film and then again on stage in front of several thousand people. “I remember standing back stage waiting to go on and my knees started shaking,” Ellen admits. In the ensuing years, trusted friends and family would remark about the performance and inquire about a possible recording. The two eventually recorded at Ben's Los Angeles studio, finishing ten songs in just twelve days.

The idea was an acoustic in-the-living room sound recorded in a single take. “It’s the sound of this town, my family, the Folk Music Center,” explains Ben. “On my first two records there was this sparse acoustic haunted feel. And it comes out of this particular area. I wanted to get back to that sound.”

The record opens with “A House Is A Home.” Set against a melodic acoustic guitar and simple percussion, mother and son harmonize about a home with an overgrown yard and peeling paint, invoking ghosts and a bittersweet sense of solitude. “There was this photo of a house which eventually became the album cover,” Ben explains. “It's not my childhood home, it could be anybody’s. But that picture was a huge north star for this record. I paired that picture with this song and suddenly I could feel the entire album. It brought me back home, from kindergarten through my senior year of high school.”

The track is followed by “City Of Dreams” with Ellen taking the lead vocal on a country-tinged remembrance of a disappeared landscape. Once-plentiful, citrus groves have been paved over and a hometown scarred by a freeway. “We grew up with the orange groves and the open spaces, it's all gone now.”

The undeniable emotional centerpiece of the album is “Born To Love You.” It is a remarkably honest work. A lilting piano, upright bass and brushed drums play a gentle ease as the two of them trade versus before coming together on the bridge “I love you, I live you, I live to love you.” This song says we're gonna dive into some heavy stuff here and, despite any of that, all is forgiven,” Ben explains. “I have been trying to write a song like this my whole life. One you could sing to a lover, a newborn or your mother.”

The track “Heavyhearted World” is absolutely heartrending in its unflinching honesty, reflecting on life's struggles with immense artistic power. The two sing together, their voices seeming as if they might break with the emotion. “It's about being on shaky ground and trying to make sense of the devastation,” Ben says. The song eventually emerges as a meditation on the fleeting nature of life itself with the lyrics, “traded a lifetime for one long day, nothing is more beautiful than to fade away.”

Childhood Home is undoubtedly unique. A mother and son making an album together is exceptional if not unprecedented, but this is by no means a novelty. It is a fearless examination of family history and a musical portrait of a mother and son's enduring bond. “I don't think I've ever felt as strong a sense of accomplishment in a record as this one,” Ben says. “Maybe it has a little to do with how happy it's made her. We all want to please our moms right? But then if she hadn't been such a talented songwriter, I might have stuck with chocolates. This record isn't an act of faith, it's an act of recognition.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

The most affecting albums exist as documents – of a time, place, relationships. Childhood Home by Ben and Ellen Harper is that and more. It is the history of a family written in song by a mother and a son, where they come from, hardships transcended, the place they have arrived.

“This album is a portrait and it's a conversation,” Ben Harper says from the kitchen table of his mother's home. Ellen Harper, his mother and collaborator on the album, nods and smiles. The house is nestled in the foothills beneath the San Gabriel Mountains. It is a setting that is integral to the evocative and honest record they have made. “What you hear, it's the sound of this place,” Ben offers. “The sound of this town, and my grandparent's legacy.”

Claremont is a picturesque college town situated between the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles and the vast California desert. It is where Ellen raised Ben and his two younger brothers, singing folk songs inside their modest home, at park concerts and in local coffee houses. It is where the grandparents settled. They opened a small store selling acoustic instruments in the quiet downtown area. Soon the Folk Music Center was helping to nurture a burgeoning southern California folk movement.

Both Ellen and Ben have deep roots in the sparse intimate sound that makes up Childhood Home. Growing up in Massachusetts, Ellen's parents would bring her to hootenannies where she heard the likes of Pete Seeger and Hedy West, soaking up a potent mix of music and social activism. By twelve the family had moved west and she had picked up a guitar, bearing witness to and participating in a vibrant folk scene focused around institutions such as The Ash Grove, The Penny University, her parent's shop and the coffee house they established, The Golden Ring. “Back then it wasn't mainstream, it was protest, music,” she says. “It's a music and politics that is embedded in our family and informs this album.”

Forgoing a career in music to concentrate on raising her children, the mother’s singing proved an inspirational soundtrack. “I was literally raised with her voice, both as mother and as a singer,” Ben says. “She spent so much time making music with us while we were growing up. There was always folk music in the house.”

After apprenticing at the family music store, Ben would emerge as a musician of extraordinary talent and vision. While in his twenties he forged a distinctive sound, merging a stirring brand of folk with elements of soul, reggae and a punk fire. Initially packing local coffee houses, he soon found a large and dedicated worldwide fan base. He also proved himself a consummate songwriter and collaborator, producing works for such iconic artists as The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Rickie Lee Jones, Natalie Maines and Charlie Musselwhite. He has won three GRAMMY Awards to date.

The idea of Childhood Home began with an impromptu live performance. Mother and son initially performed together supporting a documentary film and then again on stage in front of several thousand people. “I remember standing back stage waiting to go on and my knees started shaking,” Ellen admits. In the ensuing years, trusted friends and family would remark about the performance and inquire about a possible recording. The two eventually recorded at Ben's Los Angeles studio, finishing ten songs in just twelve days.

The idea was an acoustic in-the-living room sound recorded in a single take. “It’s the sound of this town, my family, the Folk Music Center,” explains Ben. “On my first two records there was this sparse acoustic haunted feel. And it comes out of this particular area. I wanted to get back to that sound.”

The record opens with “A House Is A Home.” Set against a melodic acoustic guitar and simple percussion, mother and son harmonize about a home with an overgrown yard and peeling paint, invoking ghosts and a bittersweet sense of solitude. “There was this photo of a house which eventually became the album cover,” Ben explains. “It's not my childhood home, it could be anybody’s. But that picture was a huge north star for this record. I paired that picture with this song and suddenly I could feel the entire album. It brought me back home, from kindergarten through my senior year of high school.”

The track is followed by “City Of Dreams” with Ellen taking the lead vocal on a country-tinged remembrance of a disappeared landscape. Once-plentiful, citrus groves have been paved over and a hometown scarred by a freeway. “We grew up with the orange groves and the open spaces, it's all gone now.”

The undeniable emotional centerpiece of the album is “Born To Love You.” It is a remarkably honest work. A lilting piano, upright bass and brushed drums play a gentle ease as the two of them trade versus before coming together on the bridge “I love you, I live you, I live to love you.” This song says we're gonna dive into some heavy stuff here and, despite any of that, all is forgiven,” Ben explains. “I have been trying to write a song like this my whole life. One you could sing to a lover, a newborn or your mother.”

The track “Heavyhearted World” is absolutely heartrending in its unflinching honesty, reflecting on life's struggles with immense artistic power. The two sing together, their voices seeming as if they might break with the emotion. “It's about being on shaky ground and trying to make sense of the devastation,” Ben says. The song eventually emerges as a meditation on the fleeting nature of life itself with the lyrics, “traded a lifetime for one long day, nothing is more beautiful than to fade away.”

Childhood Home is undoubtedly unique. A mother and son making an album together is exceptional if not unprecedented, but this is by no means a novelty. It is a fearless examination of family history and a musical portrait of a mother and son's enduring bond. “I don't think I've ever felt as strong a sense of accomplishment in a record as this one,” Ben says. “Maybe it has a little to do with how happy it's made her. We all want to please our moms right? But then if she hadn't been such a talented songwriter, I might have stuck with chocolates. This record isn't an act of faith, it's an act of recognition.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

The most affecting albums exist as documents – of a time, place, relationships. Childhood Home by Ben and Ellen Harper is that and more. It is the history of a family written in song by a mother and a son, where they come from, hardships transcended, the place they have arrived.

“This album is a portrait and it's a conversation,” Ben Harper says from the kitchen table of his mother's home. Ellen Harper, his mother and collaborator on the album, nods and smiles. The house is nestled in the foothills beneath the San Gabriel Mountains. It is a setting that is integral to the evocative and honest record they have made. “What you hear, it's the sound of this place,” Ben offers. “The sound of this town, and my grandparent's legacy.”

Claremont is a picturesque college town situated between the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles and the vast California desert. It is where Ellen raised Ben and his two younger brothers, singing folk songs inside their modest home, at park concerts and in local coffee houses. It is where the grandparents settled. They opened a small store selling acoustic instruments in the quiet downtown area. Soon the Folk Music Center was helping to nurture a burgeoning southern California folk movement.

Both Ellen and Ben have deep roots in the sparse intimate sound that makes up Childhood Home. Growing up in Massachusetts, Ellen's parents would bring her to hootenannies where she heard the likes of Pete Seeger and Hedy West, soaking up a potent mix of music and social activism. By twelve the family had moved west and she had picked up a guitar, bearing witness to and participating in a vibrant folk scene focused around institutions such as The Ash Grove, The Penny University, her parent's shop and the coffee house they established, The Golden Ring. “Back then it wasn't mainstream, it was protest, music,” she says. “It's a music and politics that is embedded in our family and informs this album.”

Forgoing a career in music to concentrate on raising her children, the mother’s singing proved an inspirational soundtrack. “I was literally raised with her voice, both as mother and as a singer,” Ben says. “She spent so much time making music with us while we were growing up. There was always folk music in the house.”

After apprenticing at the family music store, Ben would emerge as a musician of extraordinary talent and vision. While in his twenties he forged a distinctive sound, merging a stirring brand of folk with elements of soul, reggae and a punk fire. Initially packing local coffee houses, he soon found a large and dedicated worldwide fan base. He also proved himself a consummate songwriter and collaborator, producing works for such iconic artists as The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Rickie Lee Jones, Natalie Maines and Charlie Musselwhite. He has won three GRAMMY Awards to date.

The idea of Childhood Home began with an impromptu live performance. Mother and son initially performed together supporting a documentary film and then again on stage in front of several thousand people. “I remember standing back stage waiting to go on and my knees started shaking,” Ellen admits. In the ensuing years, trusted friends and family would remark about the performance and inquire about a possible recording. The two eventually recorded at Ben's Los Angeles studio, finishing ten songs in just twelve days.

The idea was an acoustic in-the-living room sound recorded in a single take. “It’s the sound of this town, my family, the Folk Music Center,” explains Ben. “On my first two records there was this sparse acoustic haunted feel. And it comes out of this particular area. I wanted to get back to that sound.”

The record opens with “A House Is A Home.” Set against a melodic acoustic guitar and simple percussion, mother and son harmonize about a home with an overgrown yard and peeling paint, invoking ghosts and a bittersweet sense of solitude. “There was this photo of a house which eventually became the album cover,” Ben explains. “It's not my childhood home, it could be anybody’s. But that picture was a huge north star for this record. I paired that picture with this song and suddenly I could feel the entire album. It brought me back home, from kindergarten through my senior year of high school.”

The track is followed by “City Of Dreams” with Ellen taking the lead vocal on a country-tinged remembrance of a disappeared landscape. Once-plentiful, citrus groves have been paved over and a hometown scarred by a freeway. “We grew up with the orange groves and the open spaces, it's all gone now.”

The undeniable emotional centerpiece of the album is “Born To Love You.” It is a remarkably honest work. A lilting piano, upright bass and brushed drums play a gentle ease as the two of them trade versus before coming together on the bridge “I love you, I live you, I live to love you.” This song says we're gonna dive into some heavy stuff here and, despite any of that, all is forgiven,” Ben explains. “I have been trying to write a song like this my whole life. One you could sing to a lover, a newborn or your mother.”

The track “Heavyhearted World” is absolutely heartrending in its unflinching honesty, reflecting on life's struggles with immense artistic power. The two sing together, their voices seeming as if they might break with the emotion. “It's about being on shaky ground and trying to make sense of the devastation,” Ben says. The song eventually emerges as a meditation on the fleeting nature of life itself with the lyrics, “traded a lifetime for one long day, nothing is more beautiful than to fade away.”

Childhood Home is undoubtedly unique. A mother and son making an album together is exceptional if not unprecedented, but this is by no means a novelty. It is a fearless examination of family history and a musical portrait of a mother and son's enduring bond. “I don't think I've ever felt as strong a sense of accomplishment in a record as this one,” Ben says. “Maybe it has a little to do with how happy it's made her. We all want to please our moms right? But then if she hadn't been such a talented songwriter, I might have stuck with chocolates. This record isn't an act of faith, it's an act of recognition.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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