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Ben Harper (and His Mom) to Release New Album 'Childhood Home'

Listen to 'A House Is a Home,' the poignant first single from upcoming Mother's Day release

March 19, 2014 9:00 AM ET
Ben Harper
Ben Harper & Ellen Harper, 'Childhood Home.'
Courtesy Ben Harper

Ben Harper and his mom Ellen have quite a Mother's Day lined up with their new collaborative album, Childhood Home, set for release a week earlier on May 6th via Prestige Folklore. The record features 10 original tracks about the good, bad, ugly and beautiful parts of home and family life, with four tracks written by Ellen Harper and six by Ben.

You can now listen to the album's opening cut "A House is A Home" exclusively on Rolling Stone below. A simple folk number with poignant guitars and distant percussion, mother and son harmonize about the enduring nature of a homestead that continues to stand "even when it's dark / even when the grass is overgrown in the yard / even when the dog is too old to bark / and when you're sitting at the table trying not to start."

Check out Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite in our best live photos of 2013

"My mom and I making a record together is something we have talked about doing for a very long time," Harper tells Rolling Stone. "I guess you could say a lifetime." It was Ellen, herself a multi-instrumentalist, and her parents who encouraged a young Harper to pursue music. Ben's grandparents established The Folk Music Center and Museum in Claremont, California, where the musician would spend many afternoons around countless instruments and up-and-coming artists like Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder and David Lindley.

“I was a single mom, so he would come to the music store pretty much every day after school, and help out while I was working. I think he just absorbed a lot of it," Ellen said in a statement. "It was in his environment, everywhere, because I used to play in bands, and he used to hang out with us all the time."

Childhood Home follows Get Up!, Harper's collaborative effort with harmonica maestro Charlie Musselwhite, which won the duo a Grammy for Best Blues Album. After the victory, Harper spoke briefly about Childhood Home, telling Rolling Stone, "It's produced like early Elvis. Not one thing is plugged in. It's all acoustic. I think they're going to call it ‘Americana,' but it's soul, California, folk rock, American."

Childhood Home Tracklist:

1. A House Is a Home
2. City of Dreams
3. Born to Love You
4. Heavyhearted World
5. Farmer's Daughter
6. Memories of Gold
7. Altar of Love
8. Break Your Heart
9. Learn It All Again Tomorrow
10. How Could We Not Believe

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