• John Van de Mergel

Sounds | Ben Harper, We Need to Talk About It


Laat ons deze week nog eens wat funky soul met een maatschappelijk relevante tekst in de kijker plaatsen. Wel van het soort dat de gitaar ook stevig laat klinken en ruimte geeft aan een stem die zonder probleem emoties kan losmaken. Ben Harper op zijn allerbest dus. Bloodline Maintenance verschijnt op 22 juli via PIAS.

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3x Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter/musician/producer Ben Harper today shares 'We Need To Talk About It', the first single form his eagerly, anticipated, fiercely personal, soulful album, 'Bloodline Maintenance', due via his new deal with Chrysalis Records on Friday, July 22.


Propelled by Harper’s blisteringly funky guitar, 'We Need To Talk About It' defiantly addresses the wounds of slavery through a sharp-edged call-and-response with gospel-fueled backing vocals and pounding rhythms augmented by the distinctive sound of the African talking drum.


The new album is a work largely inspired by the loss of a longtime friend and the lingering influence of a mercurial and charismatic father. 'Bloodline Maintenance' sees Harper performing the majority of the instruments on his own, spanning guitar, bass, drums and an eclectic assortment of percussions including a plastic toy snare. His 17th studio LP – and first since 2020’s instrumental 'Winter Is for Lovers' – and the first non-instrumental album of new songs since 2018. The new album is further fueled by Harper’s signature lap steel, supercharged through a powerful Dumble amplifier creating a truly unruly tone that Harper describes as “a sort of a merging of Robert Johnson and Jimi Hendrix.


It was like I was moving forward and venturing into places I had never been before,” he says. “Taking everything I’ve learned from every other record and kind of setting fire to it all and starting over. And I knew the sounds I was hearing in my head were so unorthodox that I had to do most of it myself.


Applying the inventiveness of hip-hop to longstanding paradigms of soul, blues and jazz, spinning it all forward into a reconfiguration of a new black Americana, 'Bloodline Maintenance' continues Harper’s long history as one of his generation’s most potent protest singers.


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