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Ben Harper Adds Another Shade to his Musical Palette

On 2006’s double-disc Both Sides of the Gun, SoCal axeman (and sultry troubadour) Ben Harper proved that a 36-year-old tattooed surfer could tackle early Stones-like honky-tonk as well as the reggae-fied vibes of 2003’s Diamonds on the Inside. The mellow, summery feel of “In the Colors,” featured on his highly anticipated eighth album, Lifeline (August 28th via Virgin), the Bonnaroo ’07 performer executes a Motown sound that could fit seamlessly on the Atlantic Records roster circa 1965. A retro R&B groove layered with a smooth combo of pianos, drums, and guitars courtesy of backing band, the Innocent Criminals, keep time with Harper’s signature chillaxed vocals as he urges the listener to dance — “Dance with me into the colors of the dust.” The end result is a track that both Sam Cooke and Harper protégé Jack Johnson fans would enjoy, coupled with a highball or pina colada. CHANDLER LEVACK

Now Hear This:
Ben Harper – “In the Colors” STREAMING MP3

On the Web:
Ben Harper at MySpace

Talk: Will you ‘dance’ along to Harper’s ‘colors’ here?

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