2023 albums you shouldn’t have missed: Ben Harper ‘Wide Open Light’

2023 albums you shouldn’t have missed: Ben Harper ‘Wide Open Light’
Photo cred: Jenna Shaw

2023 was a great year in music. In case you missed it, wolrd-renowned singer-songwriter Ben Harper gave us his best album yet — an 11-track opus entitled Wide Open Light! Following his GRAMMY-nominated Bloodline Maintenance, Wide Open Light was released as of June 2nd, 2023 via Chrysalis Records following a tease with the song “Yard Sale” Harper dropped in springtime. Joined by trailblazer Jack Johnson, “Yard Sale” is a soft and eloquent folk song — just a taste of the genius in his songwriting.

This track is written like a Dear John letter.

It’s the equal parts love and pain that sit with you when a great love is lost. Something that we can all resonate with, Harper’s music is raw and deeply felt inside every track.

“’Yard Sale’,” Harper explains, “follows a man through the final blurred stages of a breakup. With each passing verse, the couple grows further beyond reach or repair. By the song’s end, he’s more confused than when the song began.”

Turns out, “Yard Sale” is just one segment in a heartfelt series, with Harper admitting he wrote Wide Open Light as a family of songs — each track a close relative to the next. The album is minimalist by design with instrumentals matching its incredible production. “There was once a time when albums didn’t need an adjacent story or fable… When the songs were enough,” Ben says. “I’m excited to return to this.”

But, that’s not all Harper had up his sleeve…

Over the past year, Harper expanded his acting portfolio by guest appearing in the new AppleTV+ series Extrapolations, a sci-fi drama foreshadowing the effects of climate change with further appearances by Daveed Diggs, David Schwimmer, Edward Norton, Forest Whitaker, Gemma Chan, Heather Graham, Meryl Streep, Tobey Maguire, Yara Shahidi, and many more. It’s clear that Ben Harper’s talent exceeds in many spectrums of art and entertainment. 

After the worldwide release of Wide Open Light, Harper toured the album extensively this past fall with his Innocent Criminals, including memorable performances at east coast festivals like Oceans Calling and Sound On Sound.

Stream ‘Wide Open Light’ album:

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.

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