Ben Harper’s new album Bloodline Maintenance is a fearless and immensely soulful work, largely inspired by the loss of a long time friend and the lingering influence of a mercurial and charismatic father. Never content to rest on his creative laurels, Harper has continued to explore new sonic territory. He has retained his signature lap steel guitar but supercharged it through a coveted and powerful Dumble amplifier, creating a far more unruly tone. The album is both a political and personally revealing work. It is soul music, but never a stylistic tribute to some bygone era. The sound and words are essential and undeniably timely. It is a powerful musical reckoning.