A blog for Joe Henry fans

woensdag 21 augustus 2019

Anna Tivel discussing Joe Henry's Civilians

Episode 52 of RecordsRevisitedPodcast discussed Joe's Civilians.

The guys (Ben and Wayne) are joined by singer songwriter Anna Tivel to discuss "Civilians" by Joe Henry. Plenty of other discussion like Voodoo Donuts, Fluff and Gravy, Minneapolis, Americana Festival, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Mays, Bonnie Raitt, and trying to decipher Joe's lyrics. 

Song by song Ben, Wayne and Anna discuss Joe's music and lyrics. I was curious for the discussion, especially when I heard Ben didn't connect to Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones.!? (I mean, Really ?)   
During the podcast they give a score to each song, which  creates a top 5 from these 3 people at the end of the episode. I'm personally not into giving scores to songs. How one responds to songs is a verry personal thing. In the podcast, they also admit sometimes : "I love it more, then my score shows." or "I feel bad about my score.". That makes it even more strange for me. But that's me.... 
Don't let that hold you back for reliving this album.

1 of the discussion was about "3 dogs at a party on a boat at night"... About that :

Allthough the discussion only starts after approx. 30 minutes, make sure to listen from the beginning. You will get to know Anna Tivel and her work. 


zondag 18 augustus 2019

6 September Largo at the coronet

On september 6th Joe will be performing (again) in Largo at the coronet (L.A.).

Allthough, on his official website, it is placed under Solo Performances, we received word that this will not be the case.

Joe announced through Social Media an entire band line up.

Those of you who will be going will get on their plate (besides Joe) : Patrick Warren, David Piltch, Levon Henry, John Smith and.... 'another guest too tall to mention'.

Patrick, David and Levon are regulars in Joe's band, and also John is no stranger when it comes to performing with Joe.
John toured with Joe Henry and Lisa Hannigan in 2012. In 2013 I have seen them on stage in Dublin (together with Gavin Glass, Ross Turner and Lisa Hannigan) and over the following I am in doubt, but I think John also performed with Joe when opening for Mavis Staples last year? You will need to correct me if I am wrong in that last one.

John Smith, Joe Henry and Lisa Hannigan

And about that tall person.... We'll see.


dinsdag 9 juli 2019

News about the Heath Cullen Album

It's little over 1 year since there was news of Heath Cullen making an album with Joe as producer.
We found out the news because Australian fundings had been made public.It was presented as a project of Heath Cullen with Joe Henry and Jim Keltner.

A few months ago I asked Joe what the prospects where for this project.
Heath and I continue to look for an opportunity of time that works for us both. As well, we collectively have some grand ambition for this project, and a number of very particular people (Jimmy Keltner not least of which) who we are still figuring how to get all in the same room together.

Since a few days, you can help in a crowdfunding campaign (Pozible) to help and make this possible. A record to be called 'River Caught the Flood'.
Remember : Public fundings help, but don't cover it all.

I’ve been working hard to save my pennies for the last couple of years to make this dream come true, and I’m grateful to have the support of The Australia Council of the Arts and Create NSW to help a little ways towards this project.

BUT.. I still need a helping hand from my Pozible people to get this dream together and out into the world. I have no record label to pay for this stuff, no people behind the scenes pulling strings for me. My hope is that enough of you want to hear this record as much as I want to share it with you.
(Heath Cullen)

It seems like Jim Keltner will not be on board, but Joe's regular tribe will be there : Adam Levy, Jay Bellerose, Jennifer Condos, Patrick Warren and Levon Henry.  And I assume Ryan Freeland will be there also... ?
The recordingdate is set : July 15th in L.A.
And to give you and idea, there is a first song co-written between Heath and Joe.

So go and contribute to this. Visit : https://www.pozible.com/project/new-album-produced-by-joe-henry/


dinsdag 18 juni 2019

Sound is the artform

Ever since performances were held indoor, people have been trying to control the light for their shows. But many people consider Adolphe Appia(1862-1928) as the founder of Lighting Design. His approach towards this element of stage play changed the game forever. He didn't use lamps only to make something visible. No, he used the light itself as a scenographic element. It was not (only) the items that were shined upon that were important. It was the light itself... 

Adolphe Appia - Orphée et Euridyce de Glück

“I don’t want to make the same record over and over again,” Rhiannon Giddens said to Rolling Stone Magazine about her latest album with Francesco Turrisi. 'There is no Other' is indeed something else. To say even more : It stands out !

Like all of the new albums I buy, I also listen to this one now mostly in the car. While driving I noticed something peculiar started to happen. When traffic was easy, I noticed there were parts of the drive I hadn't been aware of, because of the music. Well now, for traffic safety it is probably not OK, but it actually proofs how deep I'm sucked into this music.

I don't really listen to these songs separately, don't really focus on the lyrics, but I am deeply absorbed by the music itself. Music that is defined by each sound you hear, and it is so well stored on tape for us. That's amazing...! As if the energy of those days in Dublin has been recorded. With different energy, we probably would have had a different audible experience.Rhiannon and Francesco have created their universe with this album.

Just like Appia made light itself the expression,
...Like poetry can be defining by the words itself
...Like so many dancers with whom the movement itself is more exciting then the total choreography,
 I received an album where each sound is more defining my experience then the whole... I received an album where sound itself is the artform.

It is therefore that this album stands out. I enjoy it the most when there is nothing to distract me. I am going to listen to this one in the dark one day I think, with nothing else but sound, as if it is being played in my living room. It can only be better with Rhiannon and Francesco being really in the room, and nothing distracts me...

'There is No Other' deserves to be performed with the grace of a classical performance, on the program these wonderful songs.

There goes the bell to take your seats. Do you hear it ?
Parterre, seat D22,
and I slight in to my soft red seat, with all these lovely people around me.

Lights go out...
We forget the world around us for a little while.

Total dark, and then there is sound.
Gently a lightbeam becomes visible, and leads me to hands moving on an instrument. Oh to see these subtile human movements.

A beautiful voice from somewhere...
"Ten Thousand Stories..."
And slowly that voice gets an equally beautiful face.
Each expression, movement, note, sigh,... We are in that world.

Rhiannon and Francesco's world.

zondag 16 juni 2019

2017 Americana Music Conference

Did I already post this clip with 2 amazing performances by Rhiannon Giddens ?

It comes from a songwriting workshop she and Joe did together with Dirk Powell at Americanafest 2017.
The clip starts with Joe explaining Rodney Crowell's absence, who was announced to be there also.

Dirk Powell co-produced together with Rhiannon her album 'Freedom Highway'

Here is another clip of them together.

maandag 13 mei 2019

An evening to remember in L.A.

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times

Joe Henry performed last weekend in L.A. .It was a first show, after several cancelled shows these last months.

During the show he revealed that he had to deal with a stage 4 cancer diagnosis.It was a period of dealing with the shadows of life.

"You don't examine a shadow by shining a light on it," He explained to his audience. 

As a symbol for it all he put a top hat upside down on stage, while he walked on stage hatless...

“There are times in life when a wind knocks the hat off your head and you have to chase it down the street, dust it off and reset it.” We can read in an article in the LA Times

But he is OK now, his treatment seems to be doing what it was designed for, and during the concert he presented some new songs that came from that period. 

Just like it is for everyone, the news shocked me, and left me also a little numb. I am glad everything is falling back in to place. It is a tougher chapter in this book we call life. I think Joe knows how much warmth I am sending him and everyone close to him. (I truly wished I could have been with all of you at Largo at the Coronet last saturday.)

Paul Zollo, who was in the audience wrote the following : 

Wit Love,

zaterdag 11 mei 2019

My first listen to 'There is no other'

What you will be reading is actually an experiment. I am typing my stream of thoughts during my first listen of this album. I also feel it honest to not edit too much of all this. You will be able to read this within the hour after I have done listening to it. 

This could possibly become one of my strangest posts, but I was thinking, that maybe there is no more honest way to write about a record. 

OK, here we go.  

With high expectations it is only right now that I'm hearing this album for the first time. 'Ten Thousand Voices' has just begun, and I'm immediatly struck by the clarity of the recording. It genuinly sounds like Rhiannon and Francesco are standing in front of me, but strangly and in contrast with that fact : Rhiannon's chanting takes me away in to an imaginary reality.

These songs are taking me, like a Gypsy, around the world. It is the untouchable proof that there is beauty all over the world, and if all this beauty comes together, magic happens. It truly is overwhelming ! If you sit down with this, and listen actively, then "Where are we ?"  Yes, I am sitting in my livingroom, and I know this was recorded in a studio. But these are physical facts. Where in this world is my mind ? A word of advise : Close your eyes when you listen to this record. It will put a spell on you.

I don't know how close these recordings are to the ideas Rhiannon and Francesco had, but it feels so genuine, so true! I believe every sound I hear.

Wow ! 'Pizzica di San Vito' is shaking me out of my mindstream. I didn't see that one coming. It feels like a I'm being pulled into a dance, where my bones are not yet accustomed to. Neither can I resist it. The same thing happens with the piano in 'Black Swan'. I just thought I absorbed that song, and then that Piano happens. It's amazing.

I really love these Arabic influences. You know something ? This album is really hypnotising me. How do you do that Ryan and Joe ? How do you put this atmosphere on tape ? And I know you'll say something like : "It takes musicians like Rhiannon and Francesco, and magic happens !" . But how do you channel that magic in my livingroom, in my mind ?

Oh wait, 'Little Margaret'. The fullness of that sound.... I'm letting it all come in, but that sound is going through my entire body. It has something to do with the frequency of the instrument that is interfering with the vains in my body. It's making them tremble. I already had that with the first single 'I'm on my way'. That song is the authority walking in the room, and you can do nothing else then accept it.

All that is left is Amen in 'He will see you soon'.

What have you recorded back in Ireland ! Were all the elements of th Universe exactly in place those days ? This is amazing !

It's quiet in the room now, but not in me. It doesn't let me go.