Photo Credit: Jacob Boll
Ben Harper has revealed B-side versions of the songs “Joshua Tree” and “Inland Empire”, which originally appeared on his 2020 album Winter Is For Lovers. While the original tracks are solo instrumental slide guitar performances from Harper, the new B-sides feature an ensemble including Robert Glasper, Jimmy Paxson and Mike Valerio. Listen to the new versions of “Joshua Tree” and “Inland Empire” HERE.
“It is hard to call these B-Sides,” Harper explains. “They are another iteration of the album that exists and I am very excited we found a way to release these versions. Going into Capitol Studios with Robert, Mike and Jimmy – 3 of my all-time favorite musicians in the world – with Niko Bolas engineering, was off the chain. Music happened between the laughter and the joy. I hope you can hear that in these sessions.”
Winter Is For Lovers is in many ways a culmination of Ben’s entire musical life. The intimate and ambitious solo recording is his first-ever entirely instrumental project, 15 original compositions that seamlessly flow together, imagined as a symphony for guitar. Watch just Ben and his Monteleone lap steel guitar perform Winter Is For Lovers in its entirety at The Folk Music Center, the famous music shop that his grandparents opened in the late 1950s in Claremont, CA, HERE.
The music heard on Winter Is For Lovers is deeply ingrained in Harper’s DNA and leads directly back to aforementioned Folk Music Center. The shop and community center has hosted music legends of all stripes, many of which Ben met while working there. Some of the album’s many musical inspirations were visitors, including John Fahey, the godfather of the American Primitive movement, slide guitar master Taj Mahal, who Ben would later study with, plus the likes of Leonard Cohen, Jackson Browne and more.