Roots n Blues Festival is thrilled to welcome Ben Harper as a headliner to the 2019 lineup on Saturday, September 28. Harper is a three-time Grammy Award winner and seven-time nominee, including a 2019 Traditional Blues Album nomination. This will be Harper’s first appearance at the festival.
Harper’s music is the definition of American roots music–a sound that blends blues, folk, soul, rock, and reggae. This blending of genres is deeply rooted from Harper’s upbringing in the Los Angeles Inland Empire suburbs, where his grandparents’ music store The Folk Music Center and Museum laid the foundation for the young musician. Throughout the store’s 60-year-history, his family’s music shop has been frequented by numerous Southern California legendary musicians.
Harper cites attending a 1978 Bob Marley/Peter Tosh concert in Burbank at the age of nine, as a turning point in his early life. By the age of twelve, Harper was playing slide guitar, imitating the style of blues legend Robert Johnson. In 1990, Harper was invited to record and tour with blues artist Taj Mahal for the album Follow the Drinking Gourd. In 1992, Harper recorded his Pleasure and Pain album with folk artist Tom Freund.
These successful collaborations with seasoned musicians brought an offer from Virgin Records of a lifetime recording contract. Since then, Harper has released 14 albums. Throughout the past three decades, Harper has achieved worldwide success as a solo artist in multiple genres. Harper has also relesed numerous collaborations with a multitude of artists including The Blind Boys of Alabama, the aforementioned Grammy-nominated traditional blues album No Mercy in This Land featuring the legendary Charlie Musselwhite, and most recently, the title track of the 2019 Mavis Staples album, We Get By, which Harper produced. Listen to Spotify’s playlist: “This is Ben Harper”