Ben Harper picked up his third Grammy at Sunday night’s awards ceremony in Los Angeles, winning Best Blues Album for Get Up!, his collaboration with harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite. “Blues is something that I’ve devoted and committed my life to, and it’s the sound that’s in everything I do,” Harper told Rolling Stone shortly after winning. “So this means more to me than I even wanted to admit.”
The duo are already talking of making another album together. Harper said excitedly: “I’d go into the studio tonight.”
“I’m ready. I’m so ready,” said Musselwhite, gray hair slicked back, a smile below his pencil-thin mustache. The blues vet suggested the next record would expand on the first, not duplicate it. “Nothing happens again. It’s going to be many steps up,” he added. “Get Up! was a gentle introduction.”
Harper has also just completed recording an album of duets with his mother, singer-songwriter Ellen Chase-Verdries. The 10-track record, Childhood Home, is all originals written by Harper and Chase-Verdries and will be released on Mother’s Day.
“It’s produced like early Elvis. Not one thing is plugged in. It’s all acoustic,” Harper said. “I think they’re going to call it ‘Americana,’ but it’s soul, California, folk rock, American.”
Until then, Harper and Musselwhite have more touring ahead in 2014, while they begin plotting their next collaboration in the studio. “I got irons in the fire. I can’t not seize them,” said Harper. “It’s full steam ahead with Charlie. You have to let the writing dictate the direction, and right now it’s blues.”