Singer-songwriter Ben Harper has made a name for himself as a solo artist, but now the musician is trying his hand at something different. Harper will introduce a new band and new material during a series of special concerts early in December.

Relentless7 will perform five shows on the brief California jaunt, beginning with an already sold out December 3 gig at Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, and wrapping with a December 8 show at The Independent in San Francisco.

While the December 5 show at The Mint in Los Angeles is also sold out, tickets are still available for Spaceland (December 4 in LA) and the Catalyst (December 7 in Santa Cruz). Tickets are $20 each, with a two-ticket limit per order. Onsales for The Independent concert begin November 16 at 10 a.m. (PST).

Harper takes the lead in the Relentless7 lineup on vocals and guitars, backed by guitarist Jason Mozersky, bassist and keyboardist Jesse Ingalls, and drummer Jordan Richardson. The band’s debut “White Lies for Dark Times” is tentatively scheduled for May 2009.

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Despite his new musical digs, Harper has no plans to abandon his longtime backing band, the Innocent Criminals. “Dude, I’ve been with the Innocent Criminals a long time, and I’ll always be with the Innocent Criminals,” the musician said in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. “And everything I do now helps further what I do with them. But for the moment, it’s just time to do something else.”

Harper released his eighth studio album, “Lifeline,” in August 2007 with a No. 9 debut on the Billboard 200. Despite his earlier popularity in Europe, it wasn’t until 2000 that the musician gained mainstream attention in the U.S. with his radio hit “Steal My Kisses” off the 1999 album “Burn to Shine.”

    Ben Harper

Relentless7 itinerary:
(Dates subject to change.)

December 3 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern
December 4 Los Angeles, CA Spaceland
December 5 Los Angeles, CA The Mint
December 7 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
December 8 San Francisco, CA The Independent