Ben Harper set foot once again on the stage of Austin City Limits for the eight time, this time around he returns along with his original band The Innocent Criminals, reunited after almost a decade for the album Call It What It Is.

Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals delivered an eclectic repertoire of music and intense instrumentation display, dressing the night of the taping with an amazing and powerful performance.

From opening piece “When Sex Was Dirty” followed by “Burned to Shine” to “Steal my Kisses”, “Finding Our Way” and “Call It What It Is” the crowd was riding in a caravan of sounds à la Harper style.

Every member of the band added a unique tone to the show as if it was a Live painting session, Ben Harper with exquisite voice and guitar combos, Leon Mobley outstanding in percussion, Juan Nelson and his incredible bass technique, Oliver Charles on steady drum beat, Jason Yates master of Keys and Austin’s own Jason Mozersky on Guitar.

After “Call It What It Is” set at number 6 on the set list, Ben Harper brought a couple of guests over to the stage, Rebecca Schlappich (Violin) and Kyle Crusham (Guitar) for an exclusive LIVE debut of the unrecorded / unreleased song “The Bottle Wins Again”, an incredible melody and unexpected gift to the audience where the Violin, the Piano and the two Guitars on stage sang half-way some of the lyrics in a reverse a cappella, surely to become a hit as it was received with standing ovation by the entire audience.

Harper delivered right after an intense rendition of “Where Could I Go”…  almost in the middle of the song he pushed the microphone aside and stepped to the very front edge of the stage… with the whole public silent, almost to the point where you could have heard a pin drop, he continued singing without a microphone and accompanied by a couple of instruments set low… his voice and passion touched every soul and heart of everyone in attendance, including staff…  we were all in awe on what we just experienced and felt right that moment… couples kissed, friends hugged and many tears jumped out to dance the emotion away.

From here on the night took a deviation to a higher dimension where everyone inside the Moody Theater started to listen with an open heart to the rest of the show in a trance full of enjoyment. A dare to listen, a dare to hear with your heart.

The night ended with “Good Bye to You” and “Fight For Your Mind” faded over to “Them Changes”. Ben Harper, grasped by emotion didn’t wanted to step out of stage, once he did he called ACL stage “The Best Stage in the World”.

The show will air this winter as part of season 42.
Stay Tuned


Photo by Scott Newton Courtesy of KLRU-TV

Photo by Scott Newton Courtesy of KLRU-TV

Photo by Scott Newton Courtesy of KLRU-TV

Photo by Scott Newton Courtesy of KLRU-TV

Ben Harper Queen Bee Austin City Limits 1993* Ben Harper first appearance with Taj Mahal back in January 26 of 1993 in the old ACL Studio as part of Season 18 Episode 12.




The Bottle Wins Again
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

sometimes I make choices
sometimes they make me
lonesome distance between here
and who you think I should be
someday we may look back and laugh
at all that could have been
tonight the bottle wins again

broken hearts and broken dreams
turn out they weigh the same
they’re passed down through generations
like the family name
there’s a gilded coat of arms
for those who heal from within
but tonight the bottle wins again

wins again, wins again
tonight the bottle wins again

meet me in an hour
we’ll have just one or two
you pretend to listen
I’ll act like I hear you
I know you’ll always be there
ain’t that a true friend
tonight the bottle wins again

wins again, wins again
tonight the bottle wins again


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