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Sloth Not Only Does My Mind Wander Sometimes It Walks Off Completely Shirt, hoodie, tank top
I enjoyed Ben’s show at Bonnaroo, but at the time I was so saturated with music, so worn down by the heat and the dust, that I couldn’t really think, much less pay attention.
Stepping into the cool, dark sanctuary of the Ryman is an experience in itself. Expansive but cozy, church-like with its stained glass, a working museum, a national monument saturated in history, the Ryman seemed the perfect place to hear Ben Harper’s new music and absorb his newly-reconstructed vibe.
Wandering around behind the stage before the show gave me the opportunity to listen in on some interesting conversations. The size of the road crew has been reduced and they’re carrying less equipment. The new album “Lifeline” released just last month is a huge departure not only for Ben, but for any modern musician because it was recorded completely in analog on 16 track. From what I heard, he was starting to feel oppressed by the technology rather than expressed through it and was trying to find his way back to the fundamentals.
I’m jaded. Listening to any new artist is sometimes hard, because I almost always expect to be disappointed. It’s mainly because of the well-used but true adage that “there’s nothing new under the sun.” Every musician with a guitar and a dream is looking to come up with a magic formula which turns people on, and it happens only rarely.
Every small town has its “scene” and the truth is that the big scene isn’t much different from the small one. There’s a lot of ego and a lot of people trying to find a place in the spotlight. This is even truer when you start talking about velvet ropes and half a million dollar tour buses.
The truth is that ticket sales aren’t really an indication of the quality of music. Plenty of bands pump out the same rehashed, radio-friendly, grunge-flavored vanilla that’s been around for years. It’s only the adventurous artists who seem to excite me, the ones who do the unusual.