GRAMMY-winning singers/songwriters Natalie Maines and Ben Harper recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's The Drop series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Maines and Harper discussed the genesis of their collaboration on, and choosing songs for, Maines' debut solo album, Mother. Maines and Harper also performed a brief set featuring tracks from Mother, including a cover of Pink Floyd's "Mother" and an original song they co-wrote, "Vein In Vain," among others.
"I went and saw Roger Waters' show and ['Mother'] … just struck me … [and] I wanted to sing it, and [hear] what it would sound like," said Maines regarding choosing the songs for Mother. "Hearing what [Ben Harper and I sounded] like together [also] led to the song selection."
Born in Lubbock, Texas, Maines rose to fame in the early '90s as the lead singer for the all-female country trio the Dixie Chicks, with whom she won 13 GRAMMY Awards, the first two coming in 1998 for their Top 5 album Wide Open Spaces for Best Country Album honors and Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for "There's Your Trouble." In 2006 Maines garnered five trophies at the 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards, including Song and Record Of The Year, and Album Of The Year for the Dixie Chicks' Taking The Long Way, which climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and marked the trio's last studio album to date.
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." Aside from his collaboration with Maines, Harper recently collaborated with GRAMMY-nominated blues artist Charlie Musselwhite on 2013's Get Up!, which peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard 200.
Released in May, Mother was co-produced by Maines and Harper and peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard 200. The album features 10 tracks, including covers of Eddie Vedder's "Without You," Patty Griffin's "Silver Bell," Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should've Come Over," and Pink Floyd's "Mother." The album also features the Harper-penned "Trained" and "Come Cryin' To Me," which Maines co-wrote with fellow Dixie Chicks members Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, and the Jayhawks' Gary Louris.
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).