Ben Harper has revealed the final preview of his new album Winter Is For Lovers before its October 23 release (ANTI-Records). The album is Harper’s first-ever entirely instrumental project, and in many ways his entire musical life has culminated in this moment: a 15-song solo recording of original compositions imagined as a symphony on his lap steel guitar.
Watch/listen to “Paris” HERE
The songs on Winter Is For Lovers are named after the geographic locations that, over the years, helped to inspire the record, with the closing track “Paris” capturing the solitude of a wistful afternoon with the soft, meditative slide of Harper’s lap steel guitar.
Says Harper: “I’ve done a lot of writing in Paris over the years, and it’s my attempt at a musical description of experiencing a walk through a park in Paris.”
Harper has pushed musical boundaries since his 1994 debut and his lap steel guitar has played a tremendous role in his distinct sound throughout his career. But he’s never made an album that so purely distills his reverence for the instrument, and his mastery of it. Winter Is For Lovers is filled with the music Harper heard growing up, listening to the blues, Hawaiian and classical guitar masters in his mother’s record collection. He gravitated early on to the distinct wail of the slide guitar, learning finger picking from the great Taj Mahal and later studying with Chris Darrow of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – a lap steel virtuoso who had a major influence on Harper’s lifelong embrace of the instrument.
This week Harper also appeared on WNYC’s Soundcheck program in the US to perform three selections from the forthcoming album and discuss its origins. In September Harper appeared with Ziggy Marley on The Today Show in the US and The Late Late Show with James Corden to perform “Play With Sky.”