For Harper's devoted fans, a folksy collaboration with mother Ellen (herself an accomplished musician) is less a surprise and more a relief. After all, his previous three albums were bloodied and bruised by his failed marriage to actress Laura Dern. On Childhood Home, Harper instead finds a wee bit of solace in songs about family and roots. Of course, no Ben Harper record is ever fully free of brooding vibes. Hence, we also get "Farmer's Daughter," a tragic protest number railing against Monsanto, and "Heavyhearted World," which opens with the line, "It's Christmas morning in the psych ward."