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Ben Harper Strikes Up The Band On New Album

Of the Oakland Pess

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Ben Harper has recorded most of his albums with his band, the Innocent Criminals. But the new “Lifeline” marks the first time he really made an album with the band.

Harper involved the entire group in the creation of the album’s 11 tracks, including backstage writing sessions. It was, he acknowledges, “a huge shift for me creatively,” and not one that was entirely easy to make.

“It was somewhat painful in that I had never done it,” explains Harper, 37, who still wrote all of “Lifeline’s” lyrics. “For someone who’s been isolated and introverted in their writing process for seven, eight records ... It was something I had never done and never thought I would brave doing.

“But it was time, and I knew it was time. I could hear the music coming from each one of the (band member’s) corners ... going ‘Man, that’s great. That’s great. That’s great.’ So it just sort of built up to where it was time to make that step towards each other.”

Harper also put himself and the band under the gun when it came to recording the album, hitting a studio in Paris at the end of an eight-week tour of Europe and recording everything in just seven days.

“It was intense,” he notes. “It was different than anything I’ve ever been through as far as recording.

“But at this point, different is great. Different is exciting, and you want to bring out new things in your own music and your band and this environment. Everybody just removed their ego from the table and just brought their best musical step forward. It was scary, but I was glad I did it.”

Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals and Pers Faccini perform at 8 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 8) at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $49.50, $39.50 and $29.50. Call (248) 961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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