Ben Harper has announced his new album Winter Is for Lovers, a solo effort that features Harper and his Monteleone lap steel guitar across 15 original instrumental compositions.
As a preview for the album, Harper released a performance of the song “Inland Empire” in his home studio, surrounded by his collection of other instruments. The musical arrangement highlights the lap steel’s versatility and range of musical stylings, all compacted into three minutes. According to Harper, the album explores the American Primitive movement pioneered by Leo Kottke and John Fahey and harks back to the Folk Music Store, the influential California music shop opened by Harper’s grandparents in the Fifties.
“This is my first entirely instrumental album. It is stark, barebones, just me and my lap steel guitar,” Harper said in a statement. “It is purposefully produced to sound intimate and spare as if I am playing in your living room. Upon first listen it may be surprising or catch some people off guard because it is dramatically stripped-down in contrast to a lot of what we hear today. I am a big fan of flamenco, classical, Hawaiian and blues guitar, and I hope these influences are all somehow represented within Winter Is for Lovers.”
He added: “I have been composing this record for most of my adult life, and the challenge this record presented to me was completely new. To record an entire album with one guitar and no words, where every single nuance was under a microscope, was more demanding than any record I have made to date, and also more rewarding.”
You can preorder Winter Is for Lovers now; the album’s release date will be announced later this fall.