Le premier album du super-groupe composé de BEN HARPER, JOSEPH ARTHUR et DHANI HARRISON (le fils de George Harrison)
sortira le 29 novembre 2010

Ils seront en concert à LA CIGALE le 5 décembre 2010 (COMPLET)




There’s a song called “With Whom You Belong”
on Fistful of Mercy’s debut album that sums up the simple, but affecting
sentiment behind As I Call You Down — a nine-song collaboration among
musicians Joseph Arthur, Ben Harper, and Dhani Harrison.


A stellar tune that plays out between
heartily strummed acoustic guitars and exquisite three-part harmonies, “With
Whom You Belong” is about friendship, and, fittingly, it closes out the album.
“While we were making the record, we all became good friends,” Arthur says.
“The album is the culmination of those relationships.” Spend time around these
three and their easy camaraderie is readily apparent. They banter like brothers
and finish each other’s sentences. The album they’ve made together under the
moniker Fistful of Mercy is shot through with that engaging chemistry. Deeply
melodic and willfully groovy (thanks, in part, to world-class session drummer
Jim Keltner), As I Call You Down shines with the aforementioned guitars,
including some killer slide from Harper, and those undeniable harmonies. It’s
the sound of three very experienced musicians, each used to running his own
show, coming together and having a ball. So how did Fistful of Mercy come to
be? Arthur, a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and painter with a decade-long
recording career, and the two-time Grammy Award-winning Harper had known each
other for years, and had often discussed writing songs together. In January
2010, Harper joined Arthur onstage at Arthur’s show at The Troubadour in Los
Angeles and the two decided to get something going. Meanwhile, Harper had
befriended Harrison, whom he knew from a skate park the two both frequented.
“Ben had no idea who I was when we were finally introduced properly,” Harrison
says. “He recognized me as ‘that guy from the skate park.’ But I used to ditch
school, get high, and listen to Ben

Harper records when I was 17.” Harper admits
he hadn’t recognized Harrison at the skate park (“I wasn’t looking at his face,
I was looking at the bottom of his board,” Harper says, “the guy’s a
badass”), but had heard him interviewed on the radio when Harrison was
promoting You Are Here, the 2008 debut album from his band thenewno2.
“Dhani’s music was amazing, the interview was amazing, and something hit me,”
Harper says. “It was a feeling you get when you hear something you know is
going to represent something else in your life somewhere down the line.”





Harper and Arthur (who had never met Harrison
at this point) booked studio time at The Carriage House in Los Angeles and
Harper invited Harrison to come down. “I thought they had a record done and
that maybe I’d turn up and play some acoustic guitar and do a bit of backing
vocals,” Harrison says. “So I arrive the first day and met Joe, who’s sitting
on the floor with five pedal boards, a sampler, and a sequencer, and I've got …
a ukulele. I’m like ‘Shit, I thought this was an acoustic record? What are the
songs? Maybe I should learn them before Ben gets here.’ And Joe says, ‘Oh, we
haven't written them yet.’ And I said, What do you mean you haven't written
them yet? You've got an engineer

[Sheldon Gomberg] sitting here ready to go,
and you haven't written anything yet?’ Then Ben walks in and says, ‘Right,
let's write this record.’" “We had one line: ‘You love like I love,’”
Harper says of the lyric that begins the album’s title track. “That was it,”
Harrison says. “We started there.” The odyssey had begun: Three days, nine
songs — three songs per day. Because of the time crunch, Harrison would give
them each assignments and they’d each go off to their corners to write. “It was
okay to reject people’s ideas,” Harper says. “So our big man egos were kept in
the back seat,” Arthur adds.

Harrison: “It was definitely an open
forum—”  “—Which is rare,” Harper
finishes. The first day yielded the album’s first trio of songs, the plaintive
“In Vain Or True,” “I Don’t Want To Waste Your Time,” and “As I Call You Down.”
The second day found them switching gears, kicking things off with the
rollicking “Father’s Son,” which Harrison calls the album’s “jug-band jam
track,” followed by “Fistful

of Mercy” (which they chose as the band’s
moniker after realizing that only a handful of bands named their group after a
song), and the instrumental “30 Bones,” featuring violin by Jessy Greene, who
plays with Arthur. On Day Three, the psychedelic “Restore Me” was recorded,
along with the trippy “Things Go ‘Round,” and the emotionally resonant “With
Whom You Belong.” At the end of the initial sessions, nine songs had been
sketched out with vocals, guitars, occasional bass, and bits of production on
top. “We thought that was going to be the record,” Arthur said, “but Dhani was
pushing for it to be

more.” “I'd never done anything like this
before, and I thought that with a bit more effort, it could be this incredible,
world-champion kind of record, rather than just an acoustic thing,” Harrison
says. “It could be up there punching heavyweight.” That’s when the group hit on
the idea to bring in Jim Keltner to

play drums. “He’s the god of the whole
thing,” Arthur says of the veteran session musician, who has performed on
albums by a seemingly endless list of artists such as George Harrison, John
Lennon, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, and The Rolling Stones. “Jim
is the Dalai Lama of the drums, straight up,” Harper says. “He's one of the
most important living musicians, and he graced us with his

connection to Dhani.” “The night I called to
ask him to do this, we spoke for three hours,” Harrison

says. “We were both crying, and he said, ‘Not
only do I love this record and would love to do this, but I have all these
ideas.’ Sure enough, when he came in the next day and started playing,
everything changed from the first hit of the drums. Joe said, ‘Now I’ve got to
play the fucking bass.’ It opened up a whole world of possibilities.”


Those possibilities are fully realized on As
I Call You Down
, which will be released on October 5th on Harrison’s label
Hot Records. The three musicians plan to tour together and are already
incubating lyrics and ideas for a follow-up, though each has his own solo
albums in the works. “For me, the reason to make a record like this is to be on
an album with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur,” Harrison says. “That's why I
turned up, because I love their music, and to be involved is improving my
musical repertoire. It was a no-brainer. Why would I want to be on this record?
Why would I do this? Because they're awesome, and I like that.”