A blog for Joe Henry fans

woensdag 30 november 2016

Dorado (SotVR) out february 17

Son of The Velvet Rat's album Dorado  will be released on February 17.

  1. Carry On
  2. Copper Hill
  3. Blood Red Shoes
  4. Love’s the Devil’s Foe
  5. Shadow Song
  6. Surfer Joe
  7. Starlite Motel
  8. Sweet Angela
  9. Tiger Honey
  10. Franklin Avenue

woensdag 23 november 2016

Here it is : First 'Son of the Velvet Rat' Single

A couple of weeks ago, we received more info on the Album by Son of the Velvet Rat, that Joe Produced.  (Entitled Dorado, and will be released Early next year)

Here is a first single : "Blood Red Shoes".(With Victoria Williams)

dinsdag 22 november 2016

Shine a light in the UK, it was welcome !

The shine a light tour has passed through the UK like a warm breeze in these cold times.

Me and my wife had the pleasure of seeing the show in Portsmouth. You can read my musings on that show at the entry : Portsmouth, Why we build that wall ?

Tom Langford

I followed their journey a bit on social media, and I found a lot of praise and love for both Billy and Joe. Off course, Billy is already a big star in England, but Joe has won over many hearts. I didn't count the amount of tweets,  (or people I heard in Portsmouth) in the likes of : "I never heard of Joe Henry, But he's great !" 

It was a bit of a sad 2 weeks for musiclovers. Some great people passed away: Leonard Cohen, Leon Russel, Sharon Jones, Allison Mose...
This period reminded me of a quote T Bone Burnett made, when he adressed the press on the re-launch of the Fair Play, Fair Pay act. He spoke about the loss of Prince, Merle Haggard, Glen Frey, and David Bowie. and then he said :
...And this will be happening at a faster rate, as the Golden age of Music comes to an end....

Joe has written some lovely tributes for these losses on his FB page. With Mose Allison he had a closer relationship. He produced Mose Allison his last official album The way of the World .
In the sad news of his passing, Various media had also some acknowledgement for Joe.
 Allison’s final studio album, “The Way of the World,” was released on the British independent label Anti- in 2010. Produced by Joe Henry, who had coaxed him out of semiretirement, it finds him in an autumnal but still trenchant frame of mind, despite plaints to the contrary on the opening tune, “My Brain.” The title track, set at a saunter, has the bittersweet resignation of an old man taking stock of what he’s seen. (Nate Chinen, New York Times)

In an Interview with Mose Allison in 2010, Allison spoke about  Joe :

  • MA: ...I met guitarist-producer Joe Henry in Dusseldorf, Germany. He said at the time that he wanted to record me. I hadn't recorded in about 12 years and I didn’t figure on making any more records.
  • JazzWax: What changed your mind?
  • MA: Joe kept at me and mailed my wife and so forth. I kept putting him off. Finally, I said to myself, Joe has a great reputation as a producer and he’s also a great musician. I eventually came to the conclusion, "Why not?" We recorded at his studio, and I like how it came out. [Pause] Never underestimate the power of relentless persuasion [laughs]. 

Back on the road...
...Travelling around, They visited Stocken Prison and donated some guitars for the Jail Guitar Doors program.

...It all starts with Wayne Kramer, guitarist for the legendary punk pioneers the MC5 and onetime prison inmate. His time behind bars inspired The Clash to write  “Jail Guitar Doors,” which in turn inspired British rocker/activist Billy Bragg to start the charitable organization named after the song, which brings musical instruments into prisons for use in rehabilitation...

While Joe was in Europe, It became clear Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States. This, off course, was something that had to be adressed during the concerts. I noticed a lot of tweets passing, of a quote that Joe made during the concerts. That means people embrace that thought. And it is an important one. Not alone for the US, but all around the world. Because it seperates the person who has to endure it from the evolutions we are going through : "This is not who we are, it is where we are"

To end this post

Joe and Billy did an Acoustic Guitar Session. Enjoy it over here. 


zondag 20 november 2016

Joe and Billy record "If we make it through december"

Christmas period is arriving.

On November 22,Amazon music will feature a new playlist entitled acoustic Christmas.

Joe and Billy recorded their verison of Merle Hagard's song "If we make it through December". A song that reminds us, that Christmas is not for everyone a happy period. but it can be, in fact a verry tough time of the year to go through. It was recorded at Levon Helm's Barn.

Listen to it in 'avant-premiere' at Folk alley !

If we make it through December
Everything's gonna be all right, I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the falling snow
If we make it through December
Got plans to be in a warmer town come summertime
Maybe even California
If we make it through December, we'll be fine

Got laid off down at the factory
And their timing's not the greatest in the world
Heaven knows I been working hard
Wanted Christmas to be right for daddy's girl
I don't mean to hate December
It's meant to be the happy time of year
And my little girl don't understand
Why daddy can't afford no Christmas here
If we make it through December
Everything's gonna be all right, I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the falling snow
If we make it through December
Got plans to be in a warmer town come summertime
Maybe even California
If we make it through December, we'll be fine

dinsdag 15 november 2016

Shine a light : Portsmouth, November 12, 2016

Joe Henry and Billy Bragg are on the road, bringing their version of American folk standards which address the railroad. They recorded these songs during a train journey they made together and bundled them on an album Shine a light. During the show Joe suggested to listen to the original, and other memorable versions of these songs through history, and find out the need for such songs in every generation. I assembled for you a playlist to begin with

Portsmouth, Why we build that wall ?

Just before our departure, news of the passing of Leonard Cohen reached us. Although we knew it was coming, it still felt as a shock hearing this news. With that we started our journey in a sad mood. 1 day later, in Portsmouth, Joe would dedicate ‘All Blues Hail Mary’ as a memory to Leonard Cohen.
From the mountain comes a soul
And the stones grow up like trees
Leonard Cohen : A giant of humankind, beauty and art has passed away…
I found it almost symbolic after the victory of Donald Trump that Mister L. Cohen died. Wednesday morning I woke up and heard the news of Trump’s triumph. I think, for the first time I couldn’t honestly comfort my children by saying that everything would be all right. We are facing uncertain times, and it comes as no surprise that politics was a subject that had to be addressed during Billy and Joe’s concert. Maybe today even more than ever. We had an evening full of emotion, and so many songs (if not all) had a relevance concerning today’s society.
(In the heat of writing this review, I wrote my view on it all, the words kept coming. I hope you are willing to read them at this link)

Joe and Billy performed only with their guitar and voice. The concert had the following structure :

Joe and Billy together - Joe's Solo set
- Intermission
Billy's Solo set - Joe and Billy together

In the reality of today’s world we saw 2 very emotional, and even more powerful artists on stage. This is absolutely the concert that people need to hear. A touring statement for more warmth in our society. The message of these people, of this tour is so important! A wake-up call for what’s happening these days. A reminder that we have to stop making the same mistakes as in the past.
That is the most important thing I can tell you about this concert. They played off course wonderful together, and there was also lots of time for good laughing. Their voices filled each other wonderfully, but the magic of that evening, was the emotion in all of it.

Since I am hosting a blog dedicated to Joe Henry; here's for the record :  Joe’s soloset consisted of Trampoline, After the war, Lead me on, All Blues Hail Mary, and freedom for the stallion. That last one, off course, in memory of the late Allen Toussaint, who died 1 year ago.
Freedom for the stallion
Freedom for the mare and her colt
Freedom for the baby child
Who has not grown old enough to vote.
Lord, have mercy, what you gonna do about the people who are praying to you?
They got men making laws that destroy other men,
They've made money "God"
It's a doggone sin,
Oh, Lord, you got to help us find the way.
After the intermission it was Billy’s set, and from the first notes, my wife and I looked at each other overwhelmed with the amazing reaction of the crowd. The energy that was in the room ! Wow ! An entire auditorium ferociously singing these protest songs. It was with Anais Mitchell’s ‘why we build that wall’ Billy slammed everyone to silence with (again) the relevant questions that these lyrics ask us. That was a very strong moment.
After that, came the last song of his soloset,’There is power in a union’.  people not only sang loud with him, but some of them also raised there arm and clenched their fists ! Yes, there really is power in a union. That energy was really contagious, and I figured : “Let him go on a little longer, and we all will go out and start a protest march through the streets for tolerance.” That powerful music can be, 1 man, 1 guitar and a message so important !
Who do we call the enemy?
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That's why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free
An amusing moment came when Joe came back on stage, almost on his socks and shyly he mentioned :” Well, euhm…. I don’t have songs like that.” That was a very funny moment. It’s true I think, that Joe has different kind of songs, but that don’t make them any less strong. With his songs and words, he reflected warmth, beauty and compassion to everyone, and I’m quite sure, that everyone will take that warmth home, and spread it towards their family, and that’s something we can build on. That’s why it is so important you must witness this show. During the concert the warmth was already working both ways. The applause Joe got for his songs and words must have been very comforting to him also.
The set continued with songs from the ‘shine a light album’. I don’t think I can give you an accurate setlist of the entire show. The entirety of the evening had more power then it’s units apart. Now how’s that for symbolism...

Oh, and afterwards, there was the moment me and my wife ended up in a 'Billy-Bragg-Fanclub-Group picture'. I must admit, that felt a bit weird, but it was nice to be around such lovely people. And hey, Joe ended up in that same picture.

Time to go home, and be with our kids,

P.S. I had songs in my mind, writing all this. So here is the accompanying soundtrack.

woensdag 9 november 2016

Byron Bay Bluesfest

Joe Henry and Billy Bragg are announced at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia for Monday April 17, 2017.

What an amazing line up this festival has, next to Joe and Billy, I see Neil Young, Rhiannon Giddens, Patti Smith, Trombone Shorty, Bonnie Raitt, Mavis Staples, Gregory Porter, Booker T. .....

wow !
get your tickets !

vrijdag 4 november 2016

Natural Conclusion; Rose Cousins

Rose Cousins will release her new album, in February 2017.
It will be entitled : Natural Conclusion.

Cousins is full of praise for Henry, noting in a label bio that “Joe is a poet, a thoughtful, contemplative writer. That poetry and thoughtfulness transfers to his approach in production. It’s about the right life for the song and the right musicians to make that happen.” (source)

Here is a first song : Chosen

dinsdag 1 november 2016

Dorado; Son of the Velvet Rat

The Revue has more info on the upcoming album by Son of the Velvet Rat.
Edit November 2nd : Some of the info on The Revue is not correct. Lucinda Williams does NOT appear on the album. It is another Williams : Victoria Williams. 

The album will be entitled Dorado, and is expected early next year.

The founding members (vocalist Georg Altziebler and his wife, Heike Binder) now live in California, and their new album, Dorado, is due out early next year. It features their frequent collaborator, American folk legend Lucinda Williams.  (the track) “Blood Red Shoes”, with Victoria Williams as guest artist, is full of aching tenderness that will appeal to fans of Leonard Cohen and the raw edginess of Tom Waits. This music begs for an uninterrupted listening session, perhaps in front of a fire while sipping a fine whiskey. (source)

You can stream the songs on their soundcloud. I will leave you with "Blood Red Shoes"
P.S. : I'm officially excited