Ben Harper is singer-songwriter from Southern California and is the lead singer of the band Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. He is famously known for mixing genres as he is credited with alternative rock, folk rock, blues gospel and reggae. He learned how to play guitar as a child and often hung around his grandparent's folk and blues shop and museum that were frequented by people such as Leonard Cohen and Taj Mahal. When he was a teenager he learned the slide guitar after discovering blues legend Robert Johnson. In order to pursue a legitimate career in music he learned the Weissenborn (slide lap guitar) to set himself apart from the other blues musicians. Ben Harper was invited to tour with Taj Mahal and that got his foot in the door of the music world. After returning from the road, Harper released his first studio album, Welcome to the Cruel World, through Virgin Records. After collaborating with folk guitarist Tom Freund he released his next album Pleasure and Pain.
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