As a singer-songwriter with a soft spot for gospel music, Ben Harper brought The Blind Boys of Alabama with him on his recent European tour. They connected so well that Harper decided to record a couple of songs with The Boys for their next album. A couple songs turned into a couple sessions, and by the end, the two bands had assembled enough material for a full-length album.
The Blind Boys clearly struck a cord in Harper, and his true soul is exposed in this output. This project allowed Harper to indulge in his gospel and blues roots. The collaboration results in an emotionally and spiritually fulfilling depiction of God and man-Southern gospel style.
Harper takes the lead in most tracks, while The Boys assume the role of the background chorus. At times one of The Boys will lead or inject a solo. The voices complement one another brilliantly, from Harper’s comparatively high pitch to one of The Boys’ deep bass. Harper and The Boys bring the songs to life with the right contributions at the right time, each adding to the feeling and soul of the music. This is shown best in unison in the a cappella track “Mother Pray” and with a collection of solos in the title track “There Will Be a Light.”
The chemistry of the two bands is strongly felt through the album. It feels like all the songs were performed on the church steps after service or back home on the front porch before the sun went down. It doesn’t sound like business. The songs are sincere and heartfelt. You can tell they really enjoyed making this album, which definitely benefits the listener.