They’re at it again! Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite’s 2013 collaboration, Get Up! resulted in not only a Grammy for Best Blues Album, but was an album and tour that brought attention to Charlie’s amazing blues harp playing to legions of new fans, all the while deepening Ben Harper’s already respectable blues roots. It is with great pleasure that we bring this remarkable duo back to the Town Park stage, as they tour in support of their second recording together, No Mercy In This Land.
Charlie is a living legend. In the 1960s on Chicago’s Southside, he blew harp with Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. His tone is like no other, and is an intrinsic part of what the electric blues is supposed to sound like. His collaborations are at once exhilarating and diverse. He counts as musical partners Mick Jagger, Cyndi Lauper, and Cuban great Eliades Ochoa, and he has recorded with everyone from INXS to Tom Waits. He toured with Hot Tuna in 2011, an experience that left guitarist Jorma Kaukonen in awe. “When Charlie tells stories about the blues guys it’s because he knew them and played with them,” Jorma remarked.
Ben Harper grew up steeped in folk and blues traditions, and learned to play guitar like his hero, Robert Johnson. In his early career, fans in Australia, New Zealand and in Europe enthusiastically embraced his music before U.S. music lovers caught on to his smoky voice and poetic lyricism. Like Charlie, Ben’s collaborations are diverse, and his work includes an album he made with Dhani Harrison and Joseph Arthur as Fistful of Mercy.
This is a perfect, blues pairing. The interplay between Ben’s guitar and Charlie’s harmonica are a conversation between two, blues masters. They trade off vocals – two travelers, two knowing voices who’ve met along the road and are happy to go on another adventure as a duo.