Harper & The Boys Shine Bright
Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s been three years since their original partnership at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in Louisiana, but Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama have finally brought their stage chemistry to the studio for a full length collaborative effort entitled There Will Be A Light. Harper has always included gospel themes on his genre-hopping albums and has also appeared on two previous Blind Boys tracks, but TWBAL is the talented guitaristâ€šÃ„Ã´s first purely gospel effort. Harper completely prepared the project, enlisting the longtime gospel favorites to share the singing duties while his own band, The Innocent Criminals, provided all the music. As on stage, this rare union of amazing voices and extraordinary musicianship does not disappoint. TWBAL is a unique blend of traditional gospel, blues, and soul; an innovative mesh of genres that results in an intensely powerful and moving record. Harper & Co. transition easily from the upbeat church choir sound of â€šÃ„ÃºTake My Handâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºChurch On Timeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ to the sorrowful delta blues feel of â€šÃ„ÃºWell Well Wellâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºWicked Manâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and even through a cover of Johnny Cashâ€šÃ„Ã´s legendary â€šÃ„ÃºA Satisfied Mind.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Most amazing is that even The Blind Boys take second stage to the talent of Ben Harper, whose infectiously passionate voice is constantly weaving above and below the Boys steady rumble in perfect harmony. Moments such as Harperâ€šÃ„Ã´s slide guitar instrumental â€šÃ„ÃºThe 11th Commandmentâ€šÃ„Ã¹ or his deeply emotional â€šÃ„ÃºMy Mother Prayâ€šÃ„Ã¹ are as open and gripping as anything in his career. With such a masterful touch for compelling orchestration and deeply emotional lyrics, Ben Harper proves once again that he is one of the most talented men in music today.