Ben Harper To Play ESPN Sports And Music Awards

New trophies honoring athletes, artists to be handed out April 7.

As he gears up for the release of his new live album, Ben Harper has been tapped to perform at the inaugural ESPN Action Sports and Music Awards on April 7 in Universal City, California.

Awards will be handed out in 17 categories, with 10 going to athletes for their accomplishments in such sports as BMX riding, skateboarding, motocross, surfing, skiing and snowboarding. Musicians will be honored in seven categories, including Skateboarding’s Music Artist of the Year and the Music Artist Contribution Award.

Harper, who was nominated for an ASMA in the category of Surfing’s Music Artist of the Year, is the first performer to be confirmed for the awards ceremony at the Universal Amphitheater, according to spokespeople for the singer/songwriter and ESPN.

Additional performers, as well as a complete list of music nominees, are expected in the next few weeks. A list of sports category nominees is available at www.expn.com. ESPN will televise the Action Sports and Music Awards at 9 p.m. (ET) on April 10.

As for Harper, he and his band, the Innocent Criminals, are in the final week of a winter North American tour, scheduled to wrap on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

They’ll release their concert record, Live From Mars, on March 27 (see “Ben Harper Preps Live Double-Album Set” ), with a cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1982 hit “Sexual Healing” earmarked as the first single.

Other tracks featured on Live From Mars include “Steal My Kisses,” “Burn One Down,” a cover of the Verve’s “The Drugs Don’t Work” and a 10-minute version of Harper’s “Faded” that segues into Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”
Harper will prep for his appearance at the ESPN Sports and Music Awards by playing a solo hometown gig on April 6 in Claremont, California. After that, Harper and the Innocent Criminals will head Down Under to play several Australian shows, including the 12th annual East Coast Blues & Roots Festival in mid-April.