Ben Harper @ The Fox Theater

(Danny Clinch)

“Shibui” is a Japanese word used to describe an aesthetic that is simple and subtle, but at the same time covertly complex, with hidden details and depths. It is also the perfect word to describe Ben Harper’s music. On its face, Harper is a simple singer-songwriter who crafts emotive lyrics that he pairs with minimalistic, often acoustic instrumentation. And yet, he’s more than just that. There’s an art to his simplicity and an attention to detail that keeps the countless tracks from his six solo albums from sounding the same. To keep his plaintive, poignant jams fresh — think something along the lines of Jack Johnson sans the beach vibe — Harper’s big on collaboration. He’s recorded alongside blues harmonicist Charlie Musselwhite and the gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama, and he’s formed a number of offshoot acts, like Fistful of Mercy (with George Harrison’s only child, Dhani) and the rock quartet Relentless7. He’ll be performing with his longtime touring band, The Innocent Criminals, playing both old and new material, including recent releases from the group’s 2016 record, Call It What It Is.

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