Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals
Christopher Paul Stelling
Mon, April 4
Doors: 7:00 pm9:30 Club
Special offer! A CD copy of Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals’ Call It What It Is (release date April 8, 2016) is included with every order for this show. You will receive an email with instructions on how to receive your album following your purchase.https://www.930.com/event/1006971/
Tracing their roots back to 1993, the Innocent Criminals (percussionist Leon Mobley, bassist Juan Nelson, drummer Oliver Charles, keyboardist Jason Yates and guitarist Michael Ward) were involved in most of Harper's projects before going on hiatus in 2008. The band toured the globe nonstop, earning legions of fans thanks to explosive live performances and a succession of acclaimed studio albums including Fight For Your Mind, The Will to Live, Burn to Shine, Diamonds on the Inside and the GRAMMY® nominated Lifeline, their last studio album together in 2007. The Innocent Criminals also backed Ben and The Blind Boys of Alabama on the two-time GRAMMY® winning collaborative album There Will Be A Light in 2004.
Call It What It Is, the new album from Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals is an incisive, bold, poetic statement that could only come from these long-time band mates and close collaborators, one of popular music's most essential, cohesive and dynamic ensembles.
“A man and his beat-up, nylon stringed guitar brought tears to the eyes. He’s stellar.” – Bob Boilen, NPR All Songs Considered
“A one-man musical outfit that recalls the intensity of The Tallest Man on Earth and labelmate Glen Hansard.” – Village Voice
“The way this man delivers his songs, it’s not hard to imagine him actually ‘tap-dancing down the edge of this here knife,’ as he sings at one point from within a small tornado of acoustic guitar…” – SPIN
There is a fearless quality to the music of Christopher Paul Stelling. A voice that sounds both old and young, an effortless yet intricate finger-picking guitar style and lyrics that are both dramatic, and intensely confessional. It’s a sound that channels the restless spirit of a young man who left home to travel the country, haunting and impassioned songs formed by endless nights alone on stage with a guitar, playing to packed houses, other times to nearly empty rooms. Stelling estimates that he’s played over four hundred shows in just the past three years. It places him within a longstanding tradition that serves to nurture ones character and art.
“It takes a lot of work to stay on the road,” he says. “You learn to rely on your songs as a sort of resting place amidst all of the unfamiliarity. You fill your head full of places, and sounds, and ideas — and it all comes spilling out. When the things around you change constantly, you change too. And the things that stay the same become who you are. It’s nurtured my songwriting, knowing that the inspiration is all around you. If you aren’t seeing it, then look harder, and if you still don’t see it, then turn the corner, and if you still don’t see it then look at things differently, because it’s right there in front of you.”
After releasing his debut album Songs of Praise and Scorn in February of 2012, CPS toured the US relentlessly. Singing his songs with a pure uninhibited delivery, Stelling has become known for the intensity and passion put into his live performances. Owing as much to the bards and troubadours of times long since past as to his contemporaries, Stelling’s ever developing commitment to his craft is obvious.
His second album False Cities was released in May 2013 on the heels of his first European tour. False Cities is a record that brings Stelling’s gothic folk mix of howling fingerpicked stomps and crooning laments to an even further realization. 2015 has been CPS’s biggest year yet – his most recent album Labor Against Waste was released in June on ANTI Records to near unanimous praise and excellent reviews. After playing nearly 40 European dates in June and July, he embarked on a mammoth 150+ date US tour (which kicked off with a performance [and marriage proposal on stage!] at Newport Folk Fest) that will take him to nearly every state in the US.
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