Ben Harper, ‘Lifeline’ (Capitol)
After last year’s Both Sides of the Gun, an ambitious double album split into snappy blues and pensive, symphonic soul, Ben Harper eases into a more fluid, evenly paced groove on his eighth LP. Recorded in Paris in a week with his band, the Innocent Criminals, Lifeline is a commanding, unjammy take on gospel-influenced rock, featuring his most spiritual singing since 2004’s Grammy-winning collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama. But his finest moment comes on the instrumental “Paris Sunrise #7,” which starts with a sparse ripple of slide guitar and builds into a lush visual sonnet.
Now Hear This: Ben Harper – “In the Colors” DOWNLOAD MP3