Music Review: Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite’s No Mercy in This Land

The man who reinvented the blues, Ben Harper, has once again teamed up with good friend and harmonica honcho Charlie Musselwhite for upcoming album ‘No Mercy in This Land’.

The highly anticipated project follows the rip-roaring success of 2013 album ‘Get Out!’, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Blues Albums Chart and won a GRAMMY Award in 2014 for ‘Best Blues Album’.

‘No Mercy in This Land’, a musical expression of the affinity between the duo, serves as 10 (13 if you count the digital deluxe version) separate diary entries that tell the bittersweet story of struggle and survival.

Title track ‘No Mercy in This Land’ is the song that sheds a naked light on the album’s impressive neo-blues-soul-funk credentials, Harper’s guitar unmerciful and Musselwhite’s harmonica raspy while the pair share vocal duties.

‘When Love is Not Enough’ boasts an emotional maturity that many musicians can only dream of. “Everybody says I love you, but not everybody lives I love you,” Harper croons, accompanied by the tinkling of subdued piano notes and sluggish percussion.

Not everything on the album is downbeat, however, as jubilant ‘Found The One’ is an optimistic take on finding true love. In Harper’s own words, the song is “about surrendering to love, getting out of love’s way, and letting love do the heavy lifting.”

Give Harper and Musselwhite all of the awards already! Raw, poignant, and candid, ‘No Mercy in This Land’ is exactly what the current music charts have been missing. If the album isn’t as, if not more, successful than ‘Get Up!’, I will eat my fedora.

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite’s ‘No Mercy in This Land’ is released on March 30th but is available for preorder now.


The duo will travel to the U.K. in April to play three shows:

Tuesday 3 April – Oran Mor – Glasgow

Friday 6 April – Academy 2 – Manchester

Saturday 7 April – Shepherd’s Bush Empire – London

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