The 10th album from slide-guitar master and jam-band darling Ben Harper is his most searingly personal album, an expression, no doubt, of the recent implosion of his marriage to actress Laura Dern. Even the quietest moments on Give Till It’s Gone, like “Pray That Our Love Sees the Dawn,” on which Jackson Browne sings harmony, mingle desperation with defiant strength. Elsewhere (notably “Rock N’ Roll Is Free,” inspired by Neil Young, and “Do It for You, Do It for Us”), Harper roars on guitar, achieving a hard-won redemption through lacerating noise. Ringo Starr drums on two songs that bring psychedelic deliverance. But Harper usually drips blood, his pain an inspiration and the source of our pleasure.
Listen to “Rock N’ Roll is Free.”