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Ben Harper Wants to ‘Talk About’ Slavery on Fiery New Single

The singer/guitarist's new album, 'Bloodline Maintenance,' is due July 22
Ben Harper
(Credit: Michael Halsband)

Ben Harper is back with a new single, “We Need To Talk About It,” ahead of the July 22 release of Bloodline Maintenance, his first album as part of a new deal with Chrysalis Records.

“We Need To Talk About It” pulls no punches about the horrors and generational impact of slavery, with lyrics such as “I say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ because history says we don’t” and “Whoever said time heals all wounds wasn’t a slave, I’m guessing.” The song was produced by Harper and Sheldon Gomberg, who previously worked together on the former’s Grammy-winning 2013 album with blues great Charlie Musselwhite, Get Up.


Bloodline Maintenance is essentially the follow-up to 2016’s Call It What It Is. Since then, Harper has released another collaboration with Musselwhite (2018’s No Mercy in This Land) and an instrumental album (2020’s Winter Is for Lovers).

Harper and his trusty band The Innocent Criminals will tour extensively this summer, leading up to a 15-night run opening for Harry Styles at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles in October and November. Harper guests on Styles’ most recent album, Harry’s House.

Ben Harper Bloodline Maintenance track listing:

“Below Sea Level”
“We Need To Talk About It”
“Where Did We Go Wrong”
“Problem Child”
“Need To Know Basis”
“It Ain’t No Use”
“More Than Love”
“Smile at the Mention”
“Honey, Honey”
“Knew the Day Was Comin'”
“Maybe I Can’t”