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Ben Harper: Transcending Genre

Ben Harper.
Ben Harper.

Blending an array of musical styles as diverse as his influences, Ben Harper combines acoustic folk, blues, funk, soul and rock in a manner that transcends genre. Harper began playing music at an early age, eventually settling on the acoustic slide guitar that would become his trademark.

Harper's auspicious 1994 debut album, Welcome to the Cruel World, was an immensely engaging sleeper, but it wasn't until 1997's Will to Live that he broke through to mainstream audiences; the disc was also his first with his backing band, The Innocent Criminals. By the time he released 2003's Diamonds on the Inside, Harper was an international sensation, playing to packed arenas; the double-disc Both Sides of the Gun followed in 2006. In this segment, Harper talks about recording his new album (Lifeline), which showcases a loose, expressive style.

This segment originally aired on September 7, 2007.

Copyright 2007 XPN

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.