A blog for Joe Henry fans

donderdag 28 augustus 2014

1 Year ago today

1 Year ago today, Joe performed for the first time in Ireland. To be more specific it was on August 28, in Dublin. The venue was Whelans. But that's not really the reason for me to do this '1-year-ago' post.

For me, living in Belgium, that was quite a trip. There are not many artists for whom I jump on an airplane.  There are musicians I take some serious journeys for. Yes, by car or by train..... But flying around to see them ? 

But also that is not really the reason to do this post.
The real reason is, it was this concert that made me think to, perhaps, do something more with my love, my curiousity, my respect  for this man's work. And here we are, typing an entry for the blog that came out of it.
                   The seed for this blog was planted in Dublin on August 28, 2013. 

Back to the concert. 
Joe was accompanied on stage by Ross Turner, John Smith, Lisa Hannigan and Gavin Glass. 
I got the impression most people came to see Lisa Hannigan, and didn't know Joe's work really. But he sure did win some hearts over there.

At the time I wrote a review of my trip. (Wonderful pictures by Aisling Finn)

Courtesy of Aisling Finn
I had to wake up in the middle of the night to get my flight. Meaning I also arrived verry early in Dublin, too tired to do some serious sightseeing. So I kept it to a few shops, and sitting in a bar to read a little. When I finally could check in my hotel in the afternoon, I first went to sleep for a couple of hours. I was a complete zombie.
After that I had 3 things to do: Grab my first guinness, eat something, and go to the concert.
The Guinness I got in a dark pub, where 5 or 6 locals where at the bar, but for the rest it was empty. No tourists around, (except for myself). I liked that. After that I went to a restaurant where they said they only worked with fresh biological products. And after the dinner, I believe them. I got the most beautiful piece of porc bacon, you can’t belief. Wow! Crispy on the top, soft inside. Beautiful color, great taste. Excellent sauce, and a great white wine to go with it. (I already start drewling after typing this.)
Off to the Venue then. The concert was at a club/bar called whelans. It’s not so big, and in front of the stage they've put 5 rows of chairs. I think maximum 150 people could go and see this concert. So it was really small scale. I chose to sit on 1 of the chairs. Excellent view, and excellent acoustics, (but I didn’t know that then yet). Joe Henry: 3m in front of me.

Awaiting for the show to begin, I talked with my neighbor.
-“You’re not from around here?”
-“No, I’m from Belgium.”
-“On Holiday in Dublin?”
-“No, I’m just here for the concert, I arrived this morning, and fly back tomorrow morning. “
-“WOW, and they think I’m crazy, driving 1 hour to see this show”
-“hehe, now you can tell them, I was sitting next to a guy……..”
He didn’t know JH really well, he was more there for Lisa Hannigan. 

Joe Henry started with the song “Sold”. And halfway through it, it was exactly what I felt …..I’m already sold…… And I think that was the case for everyone in the audience. When this 1th song was over, somebody in the back said, in that juicy Irish accent: “That was mighty beautiful Joe!”
You should have seen the smile on Joe’s face. Whenever he needed to take in the applause, he seemed genuinly shy, saying thank you in a verry soft voice. At the very end it even seemed he wanted to look everyone in the eyes to say thank you.
The concert was announced as Joe and very special guests. 1 we knew: Lisa Hannigan, she was the entire concert on stage. She and Joe go very well together, not only their voices, but also in playing music. There was a 2nd guest, who came on stage for a couple of songs, and that was Gavin Glass. Gavin has worked together with Lisa and Joe in the past. 

It was a very warm atmosphere, it felt more like an evening amongst friends, and a few of them started making music. It was really nice. We heard songs from over his entire career, although I think he played nothing from ‘blood from the stars”. They also played some new songs. It wouldn’t surprise me if a new album is on the way.
Joe sang most of his songs, but a few of them where sung by the guests. Also Lisa sang a few of her songs. Then With Joe's “You can’t fail me know” they all took a chorus. This song was the highlight for me. Shivers down my spine.
Joe announced it: “The next song was done by Loudon wainwright III and last year by Bonny Riatt, It’s strange for me to sing it myself again”
It was really beautiful. 

The concert was one that didn’t need to stop for us (the audience), they could have played for hours and hours and do Joe’s entire song catalog. But unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. At the last encore, everyone screamed out song titles, and the majority was for ‘God only knows’.
-“If there was a piano, I would play it”
Joe turns “Oh, .euhm, if I knew you would ask this one, I would have studied it. I’m sorry”.
During the concert someone asked if he wouldn’t come more often to Ireland. Jokingly he answered “Well, there is a little problem, my booking agent is English”. And then, I kid you not, he said: “But we are going to Belgium”.
???!!!!??? “When?” I yelled. But he didn’t went into it, and started another song.
We’ll see if it really happens. It would be absolutely great, but I don’t think it‘ll be the same as what I witnessed yesterday. 

Joe Henry was already way up there for me, with this concert, he even climbed a few steps higher.

Courtesy of Aisling Finn
Well, today, 1 year later. We did get a new album, and he did come to Belgium. And yes, the Dublin experience is still special.

Read a more 'professional' review at lonesome highway


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