Craft Recordings celebrates the 10th-anniversary of Get Up!, the best-selling album from acclaimed singer-songwriter Ben Harper and blues icon Charlie Musselwhite with a vinyl reissue. Set for release on November 3rd, the album includes the hit “You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend),” plus such rousing favorites as “I Don’t Believe a Word You Say,” “I’m In I’m Out and I’m Gone” and “Get Up!” Instantly regarded as a modern-day blues classic, the album captivated a multi-generational audience, topped Billboard’s Blues chart and earned a GRAMMY® along the way.
Singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Harper established himself as one of the era’s most exciting and thought-provoking artists through his 1994 debut, Welcome to the Cruel World. Hailed for his socially conscious lyricism and soulful blend of folk, alt-rock, roots, and blues, the young artist continued to build momentum with such best-selling titles as 1999’s Burn to Shine (featuring the hit “Steal My Kisses”), 2003’s Diamonds on the Inside and 2006’s Both Sides of the Gun. Now a three-time GRAMMY winner, Harper has released 17 studio albums (many with his band, The Innocent Criminals) while he has collaborated with the likes of Dhani Harrison and Joseph Arthur (as Fistful of Mercy), Toots and the Maytals, Natalie Maines and Mavis Staples.
Throughout his nearly six-decade-long career, Blues Hall of Famer and harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite has remained one of the most respected musicians in his genre, with a catalog that now spans over 40 solo and collaborative albums. Born in Mississippi and raised in Memphis, the GRAMMY-winning artist began his career in Chicago, where he established himself as a key figure in the ’60s blues revival scene – rising alongside the likes of Paul Butterfield, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. After releasing his seminal 1967 debut, Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite’s Southside Band, Musselwhite relocated to San Francisco – becoming a fixture in the counterculture scene and expanding his repertoire far beyond the blues. Over the years, the in-demand blues icon has worked with a broad range of artists, including Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Cyndi Lauper and Eddie Vedder.
Musselwhite and Harper first crossed paths in 1996, when they were both on the bill at Australia’s Byron Bay Blues Festival. Harper, then a rising star, had long admired the harmonica player and asked for an introduction. The musicians hit it off instantly and, a year later, found themselves in a session together alongside one of the blues’ most important figures, John Lee Hooker. The elder bluesman recruited Musselwhite – a lifelong friend – and Harper to perform his classic “Burnin’ Hell” for his 1998 album, The Best of Friends. After that initial project, Harper and Musselwhite continued to collaborate – on stage, as well as in the studio, with Harper guesting on Musselwhite’s GRAMMY-nominated 2004 album, Sanctuary, and Musselwhite joining Harper on bonus tracks for Both Sides of the Gun. Finally, in 2012, the stars aligned for the two artists to release a full album together.
Produced by Harper, alongside Chris Goldsmith (Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, The Blind Boys of Alabama) and engineer Sheldon Gomberg (Rickie Lee Jones, The Living Sisters), the timeless album blended the Delta and Chicago traditions of blues with gospel, roots, country and R&B. Joined by guitarist Jason Mozersky, bassist Jesse Ingalls and drummer Jordan Richardson, the duo recorded ten tracks – all of which were written or co-written and sung by Harper.
Each song paints a vivid portrait of emotions – from the heated “I Don’t Believe a Word You Say” and the impassioned “Blood Side Out” to the coy honky-tonk of “She Got Kick.” Another highlight is the swaggering “I’m In I’m Out and I’m Gone,” which Harper once called “one of the crown jewels of the album,” adding that it “contains one of the greatest harmonica solos in history.” The defiant title track, meanwhile, is driven by an irresistible bass groove and sparse – yet powerful – instrumentation.
One of the most poignant moments comes from the stripped-down break-up song “You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend),” in which the intuitive interplay between Harper’s emotive vocals and Musselwhite’s lyrical musicianship shines particularly bright. Another powerful track is “I Ride at Dawn,” which depicts modern-day warfare. Speaking to the track at the time of release, Musselwhite noted, “Real blues has depth and substance.… More than just music, [these songs] are reflections of life.”
After the success of Get Up!, which marked Musselwhite’s 29th LP and Harper’s 11th, the musicians reunited in 2018 for a follow-up, No Mercy in this Land. In addition to their celebrated collaborations, both artists have remained busy with their respective solo careers. At 79 years old, Musselwhite shows no signs of slowing down and is enjoying his status as a blues legend. Last year, he released Mississippi Son, (American Blues Scene interview feature), while he will be making several live appearances this fall. Harper, meanwhile, released Wide Open Light in June. Featuring the single “Yard Sale” with Jack Johnson, Wide Open Light marks the singer-songwriter’s 17th studio album. Harper, who has spent much of the year on tour in North America, Europe, and Australia with The Innocent Criminals, will continue to perform across the US through October.
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals tour dates:
September 16: Felton, CA – Santa Cruz Mountain Sol Festival
September 23: Sacramento, CA – Farm-to-Fork Festival
September 29: Richmond, VA – The National (with Mendeleyev opening)
September 30: Ocean City, MD – Oceans Calling Festival
October 1: Bridgeport, CT – Sound on Sound Music Festival
October 3: Portland, ME – State Theatre (with Mendeleyev opening)
October 4: Hampton Beach, NH – Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom (with Mendeleyev opening)
October 6: Burlington, VT – The Flynn (with The Jack Moves opening)
October 7: Buffalo, NY – UB Center for the Arts – Mainstage Theatre (with The Jack Moves opening)
October 8: Albany, NY – The Egg Center for the Performing Arts (with The Jack Moves opening)
October 10: Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre (with The Jack Moves opening)
October 11: Cincinnati, OH – The Andrew J Brady Music Center (with The Jack Moves opening)
October 13: South Bend, IN – Morris Performing Arts Center (with The Jack Moves opening)
October 14: Milwaukee, WI – The Riverside Theater (with The Jack Moves opening)
October 15: Prior Lake, MN – Mystic Lake Casino Hotel – Mystic Showroom (with The Jack Moves opening)
Charlie Musselwhite tour dates:
September 24: Albuquerque, NM – New Mexico Jazz Festival (with Curtis Salgado)
October 28–November 4: San Diego, CA – Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise