Life in Music inspired by Joe Henry

zondag 28 juni 2015

Extensive interview : Joe Henry discusses songwriting.

Last week, Joe was interviewed by Paul Zollo for 'songwriters on songwriting LIVE!', a program hosted by  the songwritingschool in L.A.

Paul Zollo on Joe Henry :
If Kurt Weill worked with Willie Dixon, what you’d get might be close to songs Joe Henry writes. Although the songs of songwriters who become producers for hire sometimes suffer, his haven’t. His time in the trenches making miraculous albums with artists such as Mose Allison, Aimee Mann, Elvis Costello, Solomon Burke, Madonna and Ornette Coleman seems only to have emboldened and enriched his own music.

Many of his songs marry emblematic T.S. Eliot-tinged poetry with the organic soul of Son House. These are songs alive with finely etched human details, revolving around mythic, Biblical elegance, the spacious cadences of Beat poetry, and the reverent rhythms of American folk and blues. His tracks are dimensional; engaging our aural depth perception by mixing close-up, clean sounds with mysteries in the distance, like Lightnin’ Hopkins playing “Lonesome Road” a capella at a truckstop as a poker game transpires nearby. Lyrically, his work’s as solid as a Muddy Waters classic, where no words are wasted, like folk songs smoothed and polished for decades like stones in the sea.

In over 2 hours Joe speaks about songwriting, and performs a few songs. The event is online, and divided into 8 parts.
There are some hick ups, in the recordings, but dont let that spoil your listening pleasure. It is worth your time.I have summarised for each part what to expect.

Part 1 : intro
Part 2 : look under the 'Joe Henry' section
Joe speaks about being genre free, how the audience and industry deals with that. His first musical experiences.
Personal writing versus writing in character
Knowing in advance about what you write versus discovering it in the proces
Writing alone or together,
Creative thinking versus analytic thinking,
His own writing proces,

Part 3 : (technical error)

Part 4 : to quote John Cage
On the mystery of what music you like or don't.

Part 5 : Working like a blind man in a dark room
On expanding his capabilities in musicmaking and working with musicians,

Part 6 : You're giving away the whole store
Find out what a recordproducer does in 1 sentence .
He talks about Richard Pryor


Part 7 : Winter or December ?
On Poems versus songs, referencing other songs for songmaking, or not ?
Songwriting the way we understand it now, and can it evolve ?
Recording the bright mississippi part 1

PERFORMANCE : After the war

Part 8 : What is going to happen tomorrow ?
Recording the bright mississippi part 2
Writing 'the man I keep hid'.
Madonna, The History of 'Stop'.
Choosing projects, and his recordingproces,    

PERFORMANCE : The man I keep hid, Stop, Trampoline

The entire interview is to be found here. (EDIT : interview off line)

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