Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals will release ‘Call It What It Is’ next Friday April 8TH, 2016 on Stax Records, their first LP in 9 years.  Now through next Thursday, the album is streaming exclusively on Pandora in full:

Last week Ben and the band visited ESPN’s SportsCenter  – where they performed their sun-kissed new single “Shine.” It was the first time that SportsCenter hosted a music performance from their L.A. studio. Each band member donned a ‘Stuart Scott’ t-shirt for the television taping, honoring the memory of the famed SportsCenter anchor who passed away last year. Watch here:

They also performed on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, where they locked in for five crisp cuts off ‘Call It What It Is’ and the classic “Burn One Down”:

Ben recently spoke with The Atlantic in an extensive interview on the inspiration behind the new album. The feature focuses on Harper’s ability to balance dark and light in his music, as well as incidents of injustice he’s faced in his own life:

The ‘Call It What It Is’ tour launches this Saturday at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY and finds Ben and the band playing NYC for the first time together since 2007 at the Beacon Theater April 7.


Pre-order Call It What It Is:





4/2/16 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY
4/3/16 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
4/4/16 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
4/6/16 – College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT
4/7/16 – Beacon Theatre – New York, NY
4/9/16 – House of Blues Boston – Boston, MA
4/10/16 – The Fillmore – Philadelphia, PA
4/12/16 – Métropolis – Montreal, Canada
4/13/16 – Massey Hall – Toronto, Canada
4/15/16 – Royal Oak Music Theatre – Royal Oak, MI
4/16/16 – Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL
4/17/16 – House Of Blues – Cleveland, OH
4/19/16 – Tivoli Theatre – Chattanooga, TN
4/20/16 – Tennessee Theatre – Knoxville, TN
4/22/16 – Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN
4/23/16 – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC
4/24/16 – Sweetwater 420 Fest – Atlanta, GA
6/23/16 – Marymoor Park – Seattle, WA
6/24/16 – McMenamins Edgefield – Troutdale, OR
6/25/16 – Les Schwab Amphitheatre – Bend, OR
6/28/16 – Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO
6/29/16 – Red Butte Garden – Salt Lake City, UT
6/30/16 – Revolution Concert House- Boise, ID
7/2/16 –  High Sierra, Festival – Quincy, CA
7/8/16 – RBC Ottawa Blues Fest, Ottawa, Canada
7/9/16 – Ommegang Brewery – Cooperstown, NY
7/10/17 – Merryland Music Festival, Columbia, MD
7/12/16 – Artpark – Lewiston, NY
7/13/16 – Meijer Gardens Amphitheater – Grand Rapids, MI
7/16/16 – Sloss Music & Arts Festival – Birmingham, AL
8/16/16 – Mountain Winery – Saratoga CA
8/17/16 – Fox Theater – Oakland, CA
8/19/16 – Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA
8/20/16 – Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA
8/23/16 – Humphrey’s by The Sea – San Diego, CA
8/25/16 – Marquee Theatre – Phoenix, AZ


Soul Titan William Bell Returns to Stax


Legendary soul singer and songwriter William Bell has returned to his original home, Stax Records, for the appropriately titled This Is Where I Live, his first major release in almost four decades, out June 3rd, 2016.  Known for writing and performing several soul standards – “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” “Private Number,” “Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday,” and “I Forgot To Be Your Lover” among them – Bell co-wrote most of the songs on This Is Where I Live with GRAMMY-winner John Leventhal, who also produced the album.  Additional co-writing contributors are Marc Cohn, Rosanne Cash, Cory Chisel and Scott Bomar.

This Is Where I Live features newly-penned liner notes by music historian and author Peter Guralnick, who observes that the album “convey[s] home truths from a perspective of age and experience that might not always have been readily apparent to a younger man.” The performances, likewise, are assured and subtle, yet simmering with tension.

“At my age,” says Bell, who is 76, “I’ve had a lot of experience, and I know what my limitations are, what my faults are as a human being, and I utilize that. When I approach a lyric or a melody, I’m brutally honest.”

That approach is immediately apparent on album opener “The Three of Me,” which features a classic William Bell conceit as he catalogs the different sides of a man who has loved and lost. NPR notes that “age becomes Bell’s voice, which is still sweet and unwaveringly earnest; befitting the song’s conceit, he sings harmony with himself. It’s a pleasure to once again hear his reliable romanticism arranged astride the earthy simplicity of horns, Hammond organ and unfussy guitar riffs.” Listen here:

Other album highlights include the hard-grooving “Poison In The Well,” about an addiction to an unhealthy love, and the autobiographical title track, in which Bell charts his journey from humble Memphis origins to the world stage.  When he switches into ballad mode, as on the sweetly tender “I Will Take Care of You” – written for a close friend recovering from health problems – the effect is devastating.

William Bell’s career started in the 1950s when he joined the Phineas Newborn Sr. band as a teenager.  He signed to Stax in 1961 and delivered one of the iconic soul label’s earliest hits with “You Don’t Miss Your Water.”  He also co-wrote, with Booker T. Jones, the iconic song “Born Under A Bad Sign” for Albert King, which was later famously covered by Cream.  In more recent years he has been covered by Carole King, sampled by Kanye West, and feted by Snoop Dogg.  He has performed everywhere from Bonnaroo to The White House, and will play a select run of dates with John Leventhal and his band around the release of This Is Where I Live, to be announced soon.


Pre-order This Is Where I Live:



Track list:

  1. The Three Of Me
  2. The House Always Wins
  3. Poison In The Well
  4. I Will Take Care Of You
  5. Born Under A Bad Sign
  6. All Your Stories
  7. Walking On A Tightrope
  8. This Is Where I Live
  9. More Rooms
  10. All The Things You Can’t Remember
  11. Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge
  12. People Want To Go Home

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Rattle The Charts

Nathaniel Rateliff Featured on NPR’s All Things Considered Weekend

The self-titled debut album from Nathaniel Rateliff  & The Night Sweats sold more than 21,000 albums in its first week of release landing the Stax recording artists at #17 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart.

Fans and critics alike have enthusiastically embraced Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, both here and around the world. “Rateliff isn’t simply resurrecting the ghost of R&B past like some garden-variety neo-soul necromancer: He’s out to shake the sheets, sermonize and get downright elemental,” declared NPR Music.  The UK’s Q Magazine‘s4 STAR review proclaimed “As an album, it’s something of a revelation; the stunning sound of an artist being born again.” “So riveting, so spirited, so damn triumphant,” raved Glide Magazine, while The Guardian affirmed “The album is full of the ghosts of songwriting greats like Otis Redding, Chuck Berry and Van Morrison, and sounds like it should establish Rateliff as the breakneck bar brawler of the new soul movement.”

Ignited by their blistering, August 5th performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the impressive sales tally and chart debut underscores the remarkable rise the Denver, CO based band has enjoyed in recent weeks.

Garnering enormous support from SiriusXM, iHeartMedia, Alternative radio, Triple A, College, Non-Commercial and Americana stations nation-wide, lead single “S.O.B.” has become one of the fastest rising tracks in the country. Currently rooted as the #1 track on both Spotify’s U.S. and Global Viral Top 50 Charts, “S.O.B.” is resonating online as the #2 fastest “Shazaming” track in the nation as the official video for “S.O.B.” approaches 1 million views on YouTube.

The band is also gaining a reputation as a ‘can’t miss’ live act, as shows in Los Angeles, Chicago, Iowa, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Nashville, New Orleans and Austin have all been moved to larger venues in order to accommodate the intense ticket demand. Indeed, Salt Lake, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Bellevue, St. Paul, Milwaukee, Chicago, Davenport, NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, DC, Carrboro, Asheville, Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Austin, OKC and Kansas City are all SOLD OUT.  Find the full fall tour schedule below.

Catch Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats as they return to late night television performing lead single “S.O.B.” on CONAN, September 15th.

Listen to Saturday’s NPR’s All Things Considered Weekend interview with Nathaniel Rateliff.

Buy Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: Amazon & iTunes

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats is Rateliff (vocals, guitar), Joseph Pope III (bass), Patrick Meese (drums), Luke Mossman (guitar), Mark Shusterman (keys), Wesley Watkins (trumpet) and Andy Wild (saxophone).


1. I Need Never Get Old
2. Howling At Nothing
3. Trying So Hard Not To Know
4. I’ve Been Failing
5. S.O.B.
6. Wasting Time
7. Thank You
8. Look It Here
9. Shake
10. I’d Be Waiting
11. Mellow Out

September 3     Salt Lake City, UT     The State Room^
September 4     Boise, ID                     Neurolux^
September 5     Portland, OR              Doug Fir Lounge^
September 6     Morrison, CO             Red Rocks Amphitheatre
September 7     Seattle, WA                 Bumbershoot
September 9     San Francisco, CA     The Chapel^
September 10    Los Angeles, CA        The Regent Theater^
September 12    San Diego, CA           Soda Bar^
September 16    Nashville, TN            Mercy Lounge (Americana Fest)
September 17-18 Telluride, CO           Telluride Blues & Brews
September 26    Bellevue, CO              Mishawaka Amphitheatre
October 28        St. Paul, MN               Turf Club*
October 29        Milwaukee, WI           Club Garibaldi*
October 30        Chicago, IL                  Park West*
October 31        Davenport, IA             Codfish Hollow Barn*
November 4      New York, NY            Bowery Ballroom*
November 5      Boston, MA                The Royale*
November 7      Philadelphia, PA        Theatre of Living Arts*
November 8      Washington, DC        Rock N Roll Hotel*
November 10     Carrboro, NC             Cat’s Cradle†
November 11     Asheville, NC              The Grey Eagle†
November 13     Atlanta, GA                 The Earl†
November 14     Nashville, TN             Mercy Lounge†
November 15     New Orleans, LA       Tipitina’s†
November 17     Dallas, TX                   Club Dada†
November 19     Austin, TX                  Scoot Inn †
November 20     Oklahoma City, OK   ACM@UCO: Performance Lab†
November 21     Kansas City, MO       The Record Bar†

*with Land Lines
†with Caroline Rose
^with The Blue Rider