GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Ben Harper and GRAMMY-nominated blues artist Charlie Musselwhite recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. The pair opened up about meeting through the late GRAMMY-winning blues artist John Lee Hooker, what inspires their music and collaborating on their 2013 album, Get Up!
"We've been talking about recording for years and … and finally … we were both free at the same time to go in to the studio," said Musselwhite. "We just went in and the music was like it had just been in a corral waiting to get out. It just came pouring out, song after song, and it was one of those times where everything seemed like magic."
"More than anything, [Get Up!] is a celebration of blues music," added Harper.
Combining elements of soul and acoustic folk/rock, Claremont, Calif., native Harper released his debut album, Welcome To The Cruel World, in 1994. Subsequent albums The Will To Live (1997) and Burn To Shine (1999) both cracked the Billboard 200, while Diamonds On The Inside (2003) peaked at No. 19. His 2004 collaboration with the Blind Boys Of Alabama, There Will Be A Light, earned two GRAMMYs for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album and Best Pop Instrumental Performance for "11th Commandment." Harper's most recent solo album, 2011's Give Till It's Gone, landed at No. 15 on the Billboard 200. Aside from his collaboration with Musselwhite, Harper recently collaborated with GRAMMY winner Natalie Maines on her 2013 debut solo album, Mother.
Mississippi-born Musselwhite came to prominence as a harmonica player on the Chicago blues scene in the '60s. After landing gigs with blues legends such as Shakey Horton, Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson, Musselwhite released his debut album, Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band, in 1967. Musselwhite garnered his first GRAMMY nomination in 1991 for Best Contemporary Blues Album for Signature, and picked up three additional nominations in the same category for 1999's Continental Drifter, 2002's One Night In America and 2004's Sanctuary, all of which cracked the Top 15 on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart. Musselwhite's most recent solo album, 2010's The Well, peaked at No. 4 on the Top Blues Albums chart and garnered a nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album at the 53rd GRAMMY Awards.
Released in January, Get Up! peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard 200. Co-produced by Harper and GRAMMY winner Chris Goldsmith, the album features 10 tracks written or co-written by Harper, including "You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend)" and "All That Matters Now."
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Reel To Reel: Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin' (Oct. 30), Johnny Cash: The Life — A Book Discussion With Author Robert Hilburn (Nov. 5), The Drop: Divided & United — Music Of The Civil War (Nov. 7), and An Evening With Swamp Dogg (Nov. 14).