Episode 052: Ben and Ellen Harper
Ben and Ellen Harper are in New York for a few days ahead of a trip to Europe. It’s a tour the former had scheduled for some time now, 17 “acoustic evenings” beginning in England, through Belgium, the Netherlands, then onto Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. With the dates kicking off a week prior to the release of his new record, however, it only made sense to bring the album’s collaborator along for the trip. Out this week, Childhood Home marks the first album length collaboration between Ben Harper and his mother Ellen, a lifelong musician who runs Claremont, California’s The Folk Music Center. The combination music store / museum is Southern Californian institution, opened by her parents in 1958, which has hosted everyone from Leonard Cohen to Taj Mahal in its 50-plus years of existence. A single mother, Ellen put her professional musical ambitions on hold to raise three boys. Now back on the road, she’s stepped into something far removed from those nascent coffee shop folk days, thanks to Ben superstardom. Today, the pair are staying at the Ritz, just below Central Park, doing phone interviews with international press and making a handful of television appearances ahead of the new record.