A blog for Joe Henry fans

woensdag 30 april 2014

Joe producing Allen Toussaint again

Things to look forward to....

In drowned in sound magazine Allen Toussaint talks about working again with Joe Henry.

DiS: Your last studio album The Bright Mississippi came out five years ago. Are there any plans to record a follow-up? Is your writing still as prolific now as it was when you first started out fifty-five years ago?
Allen Toussaint: Oh yes, I'm writing a lot but I must say I've fallen way back on the project with Joe Henry who produced The Bright Mississippi. He's been after me to record the follow-up for a couple of years now. I've gone in and done a few songs for him but I have so many things on the back burner. I put everything before my own product. I've really been lax about doing my own projects but Joe Henry is producing my next record. However it will be quite different to The Bright Mississippi. It won't just be golden standards. Instead it will be more off the beaten path.

DiS: Is there a projected release date for the album?
Allen Toussaint: Well, if it was left up to Joe (Henry) it would have been two years ago! I'm going to try and continue working on it after the New Orleans Jazz Festival. That lasts a fortnight and falls over the last week in April and first week in May. After that, I am planning to return to the Joe Henry project as I think it would be the proper thing to do.

Read the full interview here

maandag 28 april 2014

Concertmanic looking forward

1 Month away.... Slowly excitement will grow, not only for the new album, but also for the upcoming tour. It'll start on May 28th in London.

Sarah, a good friend of mine, and longtime JH fan writes about it on her Blog concertmanic.

"....I thought I’d give you a little update on a few artists I really like who are releasing new albums and going on tour. Consider them all on my “not to be missed” list...."

"if you haven’t heard him, I can’t recommend his recent output highly enough: Reverie, Blood from Stars, and Civilians are all favorite albums of mine. He works with top-notch musicians, writes extremely fine lyrics, and has a knack for writing that kind of classic melody that feels as though it must have always existed, just waiting to be captured in a song."

zaterdag 26 april 2014

Patheos Blogs on 'Invisible hour'

patheos is (just like us) looking forward to the upcoming album :

"For my money, the most exciting title on the summer music calendar is Joe Henry’s new album Invisible Hour, which rivals his finest records."

"Two of my favorite connoisseurs, Andy Whitman and Josh Hurst, have already declared it the album of the year, and maybe the album of the decade."

Read the full Blog entry here

about Josh Hurst and Andy Whitman :(info from 'God is in the details')
"..... He(Josh Hurst) is the tireless curator of his own music review site The Hurst Review and often contributes to Christianity Today and several other publications.
You are not likely to find a more eloquent dissector of Joe Henry's work....."

"...You might recall that Whitman wrote the latest press bio for Joe Henry...  
....I sort of think of him and Josh Hurst as the two leading authorities on JH's music.  So you won't generally be surprised by their positive reviews of his work, but I bet there's a good chance you'll gain some deeper insight...".

pleased to meet me : reviews


the washington post

 In 2002, the radio program “This American Life” broadcast a memorable episode showcasing a group of musicians — all previously strangers — who were recruited from classified ads to head into the studio for one day to cover Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” Featuring a sultry jazz vocalist, an earnest Christian rocker and an electric violinist with anger-management issues, the deliberately mismatched band managed to churn out a rendition of the pop classic that was surprisingly endearing — even rousing.
Those adjectives could just as easily be applied to “Pleased to Meet Me,” a new feature film inspired by the radio experiment. Directed and co-written by Kentucky filmmaker Archie Borders, the film makes some minor plot and character adjustments here and there: “Rocket Man” is replaced by an original ditty by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Joe Henry (who also plays a sound engineer), and the violinist (Timothy Morton) now has a drug problem. But it’s a very similar tale with more meat on its bones.
That’s not to say that there’s much at stake here, dramatically speaking. Personal and professional entanglements between old and new flames, and among sometimes insecure musicians, do not necessarily make for fierce conflict. But the comedy — like Henry’s song, an easygoing blues shuffle — has a shaggy, ambling charm.

You can read the full review here.

Some audience reactions found on the film's Facebook page.

"Based on a true(ish) story of a pure(ish) musical experiment, Pleased to Meet Me is an intimate film of musical redemption.
Throwing together an ensemble of lonely hearts club musicians found in the classifieds, the film is an up close look at motivation and chemistry.
I found myself impatient for the music to get here, but the payoff, anchored by Over The Rhine's Karen Berquist, is more than worth the wait."

"Aimee Mann and John Doe are a wonderfully witty pair! The music industry related "truths" portrayed in this film were seriously humorous ? without an obviously scripted attempt. With the help of an equally talented and unique supporting cast, I was surprised at the ease of their performance flow. "Pleased To Meet Me" has such a natural feel, it's as if you are truly observing a real moment in music history."

maandag 21 april 2014

Dave Henry Interview

KETVideos has an interview with Dave Henry on youtube.

He talks primarily about the book 'Furious cool', but also about working with his brother, and ends with a short bit about the movie 'pleased to meet me'.

Croatian Joe Henry Radio special

Croatian radio klfm had a JH special in their show, called exit. The following podcast comes from their site.

I translated the opening article. I thank a croatian friend of mine to filter the mistakes out of my translation. Although, for certain parts, he actually re-translated them.
Thanks man !

Joe Henry

Joe Henry is relatively unknown, yet an ubiquitous musician. A songwriter who escapes from classification under that name , whose oeuvre could only seemingly be defined between country and blues bookends and is filled with a number of influences and styles that eventually manage to add up to his own, distinctive melancholic ballad sound.

Nevertheless, his albums are not sold in large circulation, and critics, unfairly, rarely remember him in preparing the annual list of top albums. Especially because Joe Henry in his nearly three decades long career, has made several truly excellent achievements, incomparable with anything within the rest of the scene . The situation becomes absurd to the extent that Henry is even better known as a producer, composer, author, of songs for other artists - among other things, F.e. he wrote songs for Roseanne Cash, Madeleine Peyroux, and even for his own wife’s sister.

Joe is married since 1987 to Melanie Ciccone, sister of ultrapolular Madonna, and in the end, the media has used this fact in a stupid and perfidious manner, watching his career through the prism of perhaps the biggest national pop star in the late eighties. At the same time , critics have held the young songwriter down, rudely comparing him with individual musicians who unquestionably influenced him ; specifically Tom Waits (his pre Island Records years, ending with the album Heartattack & Vine), and Lyle Lovett, who is much closer to Joe’s generation( they both recorded their first album in 1986. ) . Such critics-rampage discourages artists on the rise and can result in counter-effect by keeping them in the framework which the media have imposed. Therefore, Henry's relative detachment is consequence of his caution, rather than some sort of elitist retreat from the public eye.

Joseph Lee Henry was born on 2 December 1960th in Charlotte, NC; a state which otherwise is known as a 'nursery ' for excellent songwriters. He grew up in Michigan, in the mid -eighties he lived a short time in New York, and by the end of the decade he settled in Los Angeles. The first two albums where created during his stay in Brooklyn, and represent a kind of search. The legendary ‘Shuffletown’ (1989) finally profiled Henry's term, which will finesse in the sanded ‘Short Man’s Room’ (1992) and ‘Kindness of the World’ (1993).  In these three albums an important part was played by associates like T-Bone B., who produced Shuffletown and the members of Jayhawks who helped record the next two albums.
By mid-nineties, Joe Henry has come up with a pattern that he wouldn't change much in the years to come, apart from minor improvements in style, by dressing occasional half-finished compositions in soul, jazz, funk and bluegrass arrangements.
However, the underlying template is generally the same: a melancholy, smoky –bar, nocturnal sound. But at the same time painful and glittering daily, with hints of midday sun in empty warehouses and dilapidated brick buildings.
Joe Henry’s work is closer to poetry than just music. Although both parameters play an important role in forming the final poetic form and musical experience. One gets the impression that verses are the main axis of Henry's creation. Although that is an undeniable fact, it does not mean that the music in his case, plays merely a supporting role.

Having strengthened his own position, Henry could relax somewhat, which enabled him to a more casual approach to writing and composing. The result is visible in a series of excellent albums from 1996 onwards: Trampoline, Fuse, Scar, Tiny Voices, Civilian, Blood from the Stars, with the last time being, acoustic Reverie from 2011. (keeping in mind a three-year average distance between each album. In 2014, we can expect a new album).

As already mentioned, in time: Henry has become an accomplished producer. The list of his 'clients' consists of Jim White, Hugh Laurie, Billy Bragg, Ramblin ' Jack Elliott, Kristin Hersch, Ani Difranco, Aimee Mann and many other respected names. Only rarely he leaves the production of his own album in other hands. In such cases, he chooses very specific collaborators. - in addition to the already mentioned T - Bone Burnett he worked with Daniel Lanois ( Fuse album ., 1999) or Craig Street , whose influence is clearly visible on the jazzy Scar ( 2001). .
Similar to producers, visiting ‘elite’ musicians have undergone Henry’s rigid selection - just to mention Marc Ribot, Ornette Coleman, Carla Azar and Don Byron.

To end  with Henry's distinctive views on the music scene, and the associated departure from the music, and media mainstream: A statement by Steve Earle , which explains the difference between studio and concert versions of his excellent track Molly - O from the album I'll Never Get Out From This World Alive :

“It’s a song, that exists because I have a friend called Joe Henry, who is pretty much the best songwriter ever. And he wrote a song about a serial killer in the 1800s that made me so jealous I could spit. So I couldn’t rest until I wrote something at least that fucked up.”

donderdag 17 april 2014

Pleased to meet me

Pleased to meet me is a film from Archie Borders(director, co-writer), Michael Fitzer(producer, director of photography) and David Henry(co-writer).

plot :
Pete Jones, lead singer of the seminal punk band AMMO PALACE, is stuck. He's solo (in his professional and private life) and he can't finish his long-promised, still gestating album. His one-time partner, now-out-on-her-own indie producer Laura Klein, approaches Pete to appear on a segment of a syndicated radio show. Laura's pitch is simple: from the Classifieds and Craigslist, she and Pete will find a group of musicians who have never met and create, for one day and one day only, a band.

The musicians are assembled. It's a vibrant cross section of talent: an eccentric, elderly Theremin player, a muse-worthy but abused punk rock bassist, a Christian guitarist who sings like an angel, a butch, hardened, but happy-to-be-here drummer, a former lounge singer turned real estate agent singer, and an almost-past-his-prime electric violinist with anger management issues.

For Laura, this is an opportunity to establish a life out from under Pete's shadow. For Pete, it's a chance to connect and re-mix his personal and creative life. For the unknown band, it's a time to see if they have what it takes to fulfill, or say goodbye to, the unfulfilled dream of making it in the music business. Pleased to Meet Me is a funny, unexpected look into the unrealized dreams and possibilities of artists. 

The film features Joe as 'Terence, the engineer'. 

You can see Joe in the trailer, and if you listen carefully you'll hear a wonderful song from Joe. ;-)

columbus underground has an interview with the makers. It seems they first asked Joe to play the leadrole :

“To accomplish the feat, Fitzer and partner/co-writer/director Archie Borders first turned to industry insider Joe Henry – brother of the film’s co-writer David Henry – to fill the lead role.

Says Fitzer, “Joe Henry plays Terence, the engineer in the film, and he’s also our music supervisor. Joe’s a 3-time Grammy Award winner, he was the music supervisor on Knocked Up, he’s had music in films, and he also produces a lot of work. We originally tapped Joe as potentially playing the lead role, but Joe felt he couldn’t convincingly play that part. And, as he put it, ‘The only way I was going to get out of it was if I found somebody else to play it.’”

Fitzer continues, “We’re on a conference call and Joe says, ‘Well, I’m just not the guy to play this role. What about John Doe?’”

After playing a number of music and film festivals, Pleased to Meet Me was picked up for distribution by Virgil Films and will be available via iTunes on April 22. (You can pre-order now at itunes.apple.com/us/movie/pleased-to-meet-me/).

Joe joins american originals concert and Live recording

Cincy groove posted the news that Joe is added to the line up for The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra American Originals concert and live recording January 23-25, 2015.

Singer-songwriter and multiple Grammy Award-winning producer Joe Henry will lend his talent to the program which honors the legacy of Stephen Foster. Mr. Henry joins an all-star cast of performers, which also includes Rosanne Cash, Over The Rhine, Dom Flemons, Aoife O’Donovan, and the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars.

read the full article here.

The cincinnati Pop Orchestra has indeed such concerts planned in January, but no further info is available.

'God is in the details' renewed.

Blog God is in the details is totally renewed.

David Kennedy, who started a Joe Henry Blog in 2009, and build it up to a fantastic haven for Joe Henry fans, has renewed his Blog.

"......In 2014, JH has established his presence on Facebook and keeps us up to speed on many of his current projects.  However, it is my hope that the blog still provides some value to the die-hard Joe Henry fans around the world.  It has been my great pleasure to hear from many readers and share out mutual admiration for one of the great – and under appreciated – recording artists of our time.  It has been no small surprise and thrill the receive the support of Joe’s management and Joe himself in this endeavor.  Over the past few years, I have received too many kind emails to count. In the spirit of continuous improvement, it is my hope that you will find this blog easier to read and follow,.........."

Very humbly yours,
David Kennedy
Bellaire, Texas
April 2014

The 'God is in the details' site has been the biggest inspiration for me to start my own blog. If one day I reach only to his ankles, I'm a happy man.

zondag 13 april 2014

Wild edges : reviews

CVNC (an online arts journal in North  Carolina) has a review on the first night :

read it here.

according to this review, an album is pretty certain : 
".....This concert and the repeat are being recorded for a live album release, and we can only hope that the endeavor will inspire future collaborations....."

some quotes from the interview :
"If Greenwald was the night's Diaghilev, Joe Henry was Stravinsky, who claimed that the show was something "like a play."

"From the program's opening, "Los Lunas," (inspired by Johnny Cash's macabre "Delia's Gone"), the magic of the musical combination was obvious. Bolstered by Jay Bellerose on drums, Jen Condos on bass, and Levon Henry (son of Joe Henry), reeds, the music came alive, evoking at once nostalgia for a musical America that never really existed, and delighting in the sound of contemporary, original music. Every aspect of orchestration was perfect: the choice of singers, the varying instrumentation, the variety of styles, tempos, keys, modes. "Los Lunas," for example, featured three guitars plus pedal steel, plus bass, drums, reeds, and mandolin/piano. I don't think that exact combination occurred during the rest of the night, making for a sort of folksy Pierrot Lunaire grouping."

"Are they songs or are they prayers?" That question drove the entire evening.  "

indyweek.com :
".......The microphones on stage were perfectly balanced. The musicians switched instruments in silence and traded lead roles with humility and reverence......"

".......Each song was like a treacherous tight walk for the voice. The more precarious that balance, the louder the enraptured crowd burst into applause. Backing players Levon Henry, Jen Condos and Jay Bellerose kept careful cool behind it all, but Over the Rhine’s Karin Bergquist proved to be the most valuable vocal asset, layering harmonies and taking lead with utmost ease. " 

".....The encore allowed a moment to celebrate each act’s individual projects. They started with a devastating version of Milk Carton Kids’ “Michigan.” Joe Henry sang of “Odetta.” Over the Rhine closed with Bergquist, Henry and Joey Ryan gathered around the microphone: “All my favorite people are broken/Believe me, my heart should know,” they sang. “Some prayers are better left unspoken/I just want to hold you and let the rest go.” It was a transcendent close for an already-gripping night."

God is in the details 
" Almost every song had something unique to offer.  Henry’s “The Glorious Dead” certainly sounded like something lifted directly from his own songbook, but, as Linford Detweiler pointed out, sounded like “an unearthed hymn.”  “Dangerous Love” was a swinging tune on its own merits, but Levon Henry’s wicked saxophone solo that capped off the performance wrenched it off its foundations..."

"Followers of these acts are most likely the type of music fans who hold dear the notion that music is more than mere entertainment and can occasionally achieve transcendence.  My guess is that all who bore witness to these miraculous two nights of music walked away with that assumption both intact and fortified....."