Ben Harper is currently touring Italy, France, and Switzerland, and this summer he plans to return to the road in the U.S. to open several stadium gigs for the Dave Matthews Band, starting at Chicago's Soldier Field on June 29.
On Tuesday, Harper teamed up with Liquid Audio, Virgin Records, and over 150 local music retailers to begin offering saleable downloads of seven live songs that were recorded during his 1999 tour with the Innocent Criminals.
The concert tracks will be available online from April 4 until July 4 and include "Burn To Shine," "Steal My Kisses," "Waiting On An Angel," "Another Lonely Day," "Widow Of A Living Man," "Beloved One," and "In The Lord's Arms."
Each live cut will cost $1.99 to download from a site Harper and Virgin Records have set up at www.benharperdownload.com, and fans can pay $9.99 for all seven tracks. Each download also features complete lyrics to the song, an exclusive
live photo, and liner notes penned by Harper.
In conjunction with the live offer, Ben Harper has already made a downloadable version of "Nobody's Fault" available for free at the sites participating in the promotion. Harper's version of the blues standard made famous by Blind Willie Johnson was recorded at the Byron Bay East Coast Blues Festival in Australia last January.
Harper is also enjoying some Stateside chart success with "Steal My Kisses," a track from the "Burn To Shine" LP that is currently the number four song on Adult Alternative radio, according to "R&R."
Harper recently talked with MTV News about writing "Steal My Kisses" and how he ended up drafting the Innocent Criminals' drum tech into laying down a little human beatbox on the track.
[Juan Nelson], he keeps a rig in the back of the bus, a bass amp, and he started playing along to it.
"Our drum tech, Nick Rich, starts [going off]. He actually used to woodshed as the human beatbox when he was a kid. He used to love it, and I'm a huge Biz Markie fan, Run-D.M.C., old school hip-hop.
"So [Rich] came in, and I think he was grabbing us for sound check, y'know, 'It's time to go to sound check,' and he heard what we were doing and just started beatboxing. We thought, 'Man, that would be the right way to bring [the song] to life in the studio.' And there it is." [RealVideo]
In related news, Virgin Records has also just released a three-disc Ben Harper box set collecting his first three albums, 1994's "Welcome To The Cruel World," 1995's "Fight For Your Mind," and 1997's "Will To Live."
Dates when you can catch Ben Harper opening for the Dave Matthews Band this summer:
- 6/29 - Chicago, IL @ Soldier Field
- 7/3 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Three River
- 7/5 - Detroit, MI @ Comerica Park
- 7/11 - East Rutherford, NJ @ Giants Stadium
- 7/15 - Philadelphia, PA @ Veterans Stadium
- 7/19 - Washington, DC @ RFK Stadium
- 7/21 - Buffalo, NY @ Rich Stadium
- 7/25 - Denver, CO @ Mile High Stadium