Ben Harper is presently in the midst of an extensive fall tour that will keep him out on the road through late November, although he recently ducked into a studio to record a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "My Father's House" for an upcoming tribute CD.
For the disc, titled "Badlands: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen," Harper's cover will be grouped with others from the likes of Ani DiFranco, Johnny Cash, Dar Williams, and Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, all of who bring their own takes to tracks from one of the Boss' darkest and most sobering records, 1982's "Nebraska."
At the onset of the tour, Harper spoke to MTV News about how fate had selected "My Father's House" for him to cover, as well as how he approached the recording process, as all the songs had to be cut on a four-track, just as Springsteen had recorded the original.
"My first [song] choice was 'Atlantic City,'" Harper said, "'cause I know that song intimately and it was the safe route, and I just love that song.... But 'Atlantic City' was taken. Every other song was taken but 'My Father's House,' which happened to be my second choice anyway, so it was cool, it worked out.
"I recorded it at my neighbor's four-track." Harper described. "My neighbor has a four-track. His name is Andy Factor, and I just jumped in [and did it]. It's [just] me on Weissenborn. Actually, since it's four-track and Bruce used a few other tracks, [I did, too]. I mean, he'd do harmonica, a guitar, another guitar, and maybe a tambourine or something. So he'd make good use out of his four tracks. I did Weissenborn, regular guitar, eastern Indian harmonium, and vocal." [RealAudio]
"Badlands" is due out on November 7, and a portion of the album's proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, the international medical relief agency that provides aid and assistance to more than 80 countries across the globe each year.
As we previously reported (see "Ben Harper Preps Live Double-Album Set"), Harper is also working on compiling tracks and material for a live record, tentatively set for release next March.
Harper's tour will roll into Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday, followed by shows this weekend in St. Louis and Indianapolis.