Christopher Paul Stelling comes with video for "Something In Return" and Europe dates in spring 202108-05-2020
“It’s not Americana or alt anything, it’s really just soulful folk music,” Ben Harper says of Best of Luck, the new album by Christopher Paul Stelling, which he produced.
Harper and Stelling met a few years back when the Grammy award winning musician-producer invited Stelling to open a series of shows. “Ben gave me a true gift back then,” Stelling says. “I’d been on the road for a long time and he put me onstage in front of his fans. He took me to the Beacon, The Ryman, Massey Hall, all these legendary rooms. Just to see that what I could do would even translate in spaces like that was revelatory.”
Harper says he instantly recognized a kindred spirit in Stelling’s virtuosic finger picking and soulful delivery. “It was like finding a John Fahey or Leo Kottke that was a really great singer,” he explains.
Today we're happy to share a new video for "Something In Return" of of "Best Of Luck" in conjunction with a European tour set in spring 2021 (which was originally supposed to finish this weekend):
The recording of Best Of Luck culminated on a rainy night in Los Angeles, but the whole thing really began back in North Carolina. Stelling calls Asheville home, though he has been in a state of near constant motion for years. Leaving Florida while young to roam and perfect his craft, he made stops in Colorado, Boston, Seattle, New York and eventually North Carolina - all interspersed with relentless touring - hundreds of performances a year, in bars, coffee houses, nightclubs and theaters.
Best Of Luck is a supremely accessible and finely crafted record that deftly merges genres. Harper, who has previously produced records by Mavis Staples, Rickie Lee Jones, The Blind Boys of Alabama and others, recruited an all-star rhythm section with Jimmy Paxson (Stevie Nicks, Dixie Chicks) on drums and upright bass player Mike Valerio (Randy Newman, LA Philharmonic) to lend a versatility and finesse. “I really believe this record is the intersection where folk and soul meet,” Harper says.
The album’s title, Best Of Luck, mirrored perfectly the emotional landscape in which it was created. “Depending on how you say it, it can either be a blessing or a dismissal,” Stelling says. “And that was exactly the point I was coming to with myself, my career as an artist, as a friend and as a person.”
When Harper talks about his admiration for Stelling, he refers to his family’s legendary folk music store, filled with instruments and a fluid merging of styles and genres. “When I listen to Chris, I hear my grandparent’s store in Claremont,” Harper says. “He’s carrying on that tradition. A guy that can play any instrument from any country and play it with real feeling. He crosses genres but manages to respect them; he is a folk singer with an unusual soulfulness. He understands where this music comes from and why it’s remains so essential. Of all the record’s I have produced, this is one I’m most proud of.”
04/04: Chester, UK - St Marys Creative Space
06/04: Birmingham, UK - Kitchen Garden Cafe
09/04: Utrecht, NL - TivoliVredenburg
10/04: Groningen, NL - Der-Aa Theater
11/04: Rotterdam, NL - Rotown
12/04: Krefeld, DE - Kulturrampe
14/04: Cantù (Como), IT - All'1e35 Circa
15/04: Torino, IT - Blah Blah
16/04: Florence, IT - Arci Progresso
17/04: Ravenna, IT - Boca Barranca
20/04: Barcelona, ESP - TBA
21/04: Zaragoza, ESP - Rock & Blues Café
24/04: Madrid, EPS - TBA
28/04: Barberaz, FR - Le Brin de Zinc
30/04: Paris, FR - NoPi
02/05: Witten, DE - Roxi
05/05: Berlin, DE - Privatclub
07/05: Odense, DK - Posten Live
13/05: Gladsaxe, DK - Richter
15/05: Middelburg, NL - Kaffee 't Hof
16/05: Oostende, BE - De Zwerver