Members: Ben Harper, Juan Nelson, Leon Mobley, Oliver Charles, Jason Yates & Michael Ward
Ben Harper and his band, The Innocent Criminals, hold near and dear to many a music lover's hearts. One of the great aspects of Ben's music is that it is equally brilliant both lyrically and melodically. His potent lyrical content maintains an elevated social awareness, a deep human sense of compassion and empathy, and a superior ability to connect with people across all walks of life. His music is both inspirational and uplifting.
Another key ingredient to Ben's success, is his unique vocal approach and his innovative and original guitar virtuosity, particularly on the lap steel guitar. Anyone that has ever played guitar or another instrument while having to sing, understands only in part how difficult it is to perform in Ben's material. His music contains intricate finger picking patterns, and complex slide rhythms that are difficult enough when played without the accompaniment of vocals. Ben manages to orchestrate and navigate his guitar playing amidsts his clever vocal melodies and Juan Nelson's amazing backing vocals, while still leading his band and giving the audience a show like no other.
To fully appreciate Ben Harper, you have got to see him live. Having seen him at least twenty some odd times, I can honestly say that I have never been dissappointed. Each show is unique and this is partially due to his exstensive catalogue, and the fact that he has so many classic tunes from which to chose for his setlist from night to night. One can't under-appreciate the contributions of The Innocent Criminals, who are led by the spirited play and talent of bassist Juan Nelson, whose grooves give Ben that neccessary soul and funk on which he layers his majestic guitars. Percussionist, Leon Mobley, another long time Ben Harper bandmate, adds yet another layer to the music with his non-intrusive yet ever present and complimentary afro-carribean beats. This all plays a significant role in defining Ben's sound and differentiating it further still from that of others.
This profile is a TRIBUTE to one of my favorite musicians of all time, Ben Harper - A soul that has profoundly influenced my personal musical ambitions, and the day to day lives of millions of loyal and ever devoted fans. If you are a Ben Harper fan, then you know the appreciation and dedication he has to us via his committment to hold a high standard to his music, and his willingness to tour around the world to visit his fans so that we can mutually share in his abundant joy for music.