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Ben Harper - Winter Is For Lovers album review

Ben Harper - Winter Is For Lovers
(Image credit: Supplied)

BEN HARPER
Winter Is For Lovers
ANTI-

Ben Harper’s love for the humble lap-steel comes to a bold (and incalculably beautiful) peak with this 15-track instrumental trawl down trails of smoky soul, melancholic Americana and slick, summery folk. 

It’s downright incredible how much artistic ground the Californian bluesman is able to cover unaccompanied on Winter – the whole LP is just his prized Monteleone lap-steel, inhumanly articulate fretting hands and unfettered love for music as a spoon with which to stir emotion. 

Highlights are the whistling slinkiness of his slidework on “Inland Empire”, the sinister grit of his bends on “Joshua Tree” and his serpentine solo on “Bizanet”, but there is simply so much on this record to be taken aback and blown away by. It’s a 30-minute record that feels like it’s over in five, but takes you on a journey that should realistically span hours. 

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Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Their bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (on which they also serve as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Their go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, they only picked up after they’d joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped them see the light…