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Watch Ben Harper and Relentless7 Talk New Album "White Lies For Dark Times"

March 26, 2009 4:23 PM ET

Ben Harper and his new band the Relentless7 drop their blues-rock bomb White Lies for Dark Days on May 5th, so Rock Daily caught up the band when they hit New York's famed Electric Lady Studios for a WFUV performance (read more about the LP in our Spring Album Preview).

Harper tells RS that it was chance — and the H.O.R.D.E. tour — that guided him to his new band — and led to his heaviest album yet. When a runner for the 1998 H.O.R.D.E. tour asked Harper if he would listen to his band's demo, the "Steal My Kisses" singer was amazed by what he heard. He kept in touch with that band's guitarist Jason Mozersky and, after employing R7 for some tracks on 2006's Both Sides of the Gun, the deal was sealed.

"It's a sound I've been looking for and reaching for in my mind," Harper recently told Rolling Stone when we visited him and Relentless7 in the recording studio. "We've taken turns kicking each others' asses in the most gracious fashion, pushing this into new places." Check out the band's video for White Lies' first single "Shimmer and Shine" for a taste of the new places.

"It's absolute, unapologetic rock music," Harper told the Smoking Section. "It's rock music from the places that you want rock to be from. There's some Queen in there, and some Floyd-isms, and there's a good dose of blues and soul." In fact, the influence of James Brown and Otis Redding can be heard over the loud guitars on White Lies for Dark Times, bassist Jesse Ingalls said. For much more on the new album, and many more of the biggest LPs dropping in the coming months, be sure to check out our Spring Music Preview below:

Spring Music Preview: Inside 45 of the Year's Biggest Albums

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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