A blog for Joe Henry fans

donderdag 28 december 2017

Random 'Thrum' promo/media

A lot of interviews and performances to promote 'Thrum' are out there. I present here a few ones.

It's always nice to hear Carmel Holt interview for WfUV, and certainly if it is Joe. In this episode he also performs together with Levon henry.  Here is 1 of the performed songs.

On Belgian Radio 1, Joe speaks about how the evolution of the Music industry was 1 of the factors that led to giving up his home studio.
He also talks a bit about 'Classic American Imagery' of things in motion, just like life. As an example there is River floor, where the lyrics, just like waves of water, come and go. And finally he speaks of the, current and past, troubling changes and choices in America.
Off Course the radiohost speaks Dutch, but he mostly translates Joe's words. Enjoy it over here.

The Newyorker has a wonderful interview with Joe, and it can be no doubt Joe is amongst the greatest now, they even made a cartoon of him.

Joe Henry
Illustration by Tom Bachtell

In the mean time Joe has performed some shows.  Here is a review of his show in Vienna,VA

SETLIST : Trampoline / Climb / Believer / Dark is Light Enough / Blood of the Forgotten Song / Bellwether / This Afternoon / Hungry / World of This Room / River Floor / Stop / Now and Never / Keep Us in Song / Eyes Out for You /// Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation / For the Good Times 

2 Days earlier he was a guest for a live stream show for Mountain stage. If you missed it, don't worry, It will be aired in the week after March 2nd.

Enjoy these festive times.

zondag 24 december 2017

Joan Baez : Whistle Down the Wind tracklist

The songs featured on Joan Baez's upcoming album have been released. The title of the album will be 'Whistle down the wind'. (Earlier it was announced that it would be : 'Fare thee well'.)

Whistle Down The Wind  (Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan)
Be of Good Heart (Josh Ritter)
Another World (Antony)
Civil War (Joe Henry)
The Things That We Are Made Of (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
The President Sang Amazing Grace (Zoe Mulford)
Last Leaf (Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan)
Silver Blade (Josh Ritter)
The Great Correction (Eliza Gilkyson)
I Wish The Wars Were All Over (Tim Eriksen)

'Another World' by Anthony is a song I always feel verry strongly about.  What a strong and amazing song that is. 
I offer you here these songs, sung by their creators.
Have a wonderful listen !


maandag 18 december 2017

Ralph Carney 1956 - 2017

Yesterday we had to say goodbye, way to early, to multi-instrumentalist Ralph Carney.
He was a musician whom’s importance can not be over-appreciated. His work still inspires a lot of musicians, and will inspire future musicians.

For the big audience he is best known for his work with Tom Waits during his ‘Frank’s trilogy’ period. Together with artists like Marc Ribot and Greg Cohen : Ralph Carney helped defining the new sound of Tom’s journey on the waves of Harry Partch and Kurt Weill. He continued working with Tom Waits for a long period.
Ralph played together with Joe Henry during their work with Jim White, on album’s like ‘In search of wrong-eyed jesus’ and ‘Drill A Hole In That Substrate And Tell Me What You See’.
he has also worked f.e. with Randy Newman, Elvis Costello, The B-52’s, Allen Ginsberg, St. Vincent, and so many more.

Besides that, he had his personal work that stretched in to contemporary jazz, and classical music.
We wish his family, and everyone close to him, strength.
Greetings, Stefan.

zondag 10 december 2017

Concert @ City Winery, Boston Dec. 7

Joe performed at City Winery, Boston last week.

I received the following message from a loyal follower of this Blog.

Hey, Stefan,
I've been hooked on Joe since the streetnoise in 'Reverie' broke through my synapses.
I wished you had heard that band, it was other worldly. The 'THRUM ' ensemble thrilled. IN REAL TIME!!!
Joe's banter was meaningful and personal. The drummer has insane nuances besides the punches of his sticks. Mean tambourine. The bass and piano were also out of their body- but son Levon plays like a mad genius. Young but his horn squawking has this unsettling undercurrent. Tight unit cried through the night. 
I almost wanted to go to Woodstock, NY to see him in Levon Helm's Ramble Barn. 
Greetings, Blues Mama

Thank you, Blues Mama, for sharing your story and video.

If anyone else wants to share their JH story, or experience. Feel free to contact me.

zondag 3 december 2017

Life in song, or song in life.

In the days before the Thrum tour started with a 3-day residentie in Durham, several interviews with Joe emerged. Maybe even more than previously, I noticed each time the interest in how these songs saw the face of day, What do they mean? and where do they go?
 While with 'Invisible Hour' everyone wrote about it as a poetic approach towards marriage, with 'Thrum' people seem to be checking if these songs are what they think they are ?

As an intro we receive the story of how the song Hurricane, W Va. ended up on his debut album 'Talk of Heaven'.
We learn that it was a roadsign he, and his brothers, crossed travelling through West Virginia, and that he found it a good title.
“When I wrote that song, I was writing something that I was trying to imagine someone like Johnny Cash might record, just to see if I could,”

How do all these songs form an album ? was a question several journalists asked.
"...At a certain point I’m writing songs and throwing them onto a pile. At some moment I understand that there’s a number of them that are sharing vocabulary, emotional weather and intention. And when I recognize that there are three, four, five songs that are inter-related in a way—sometimes I can articulate how I think they are and sometimes it’s a more instinctive understanding. And then I kind of listen to what I think they need to thrive....(source)"
We know, f.e. that the song 'Believer' and 'The Glorious Dead' where written years prior to releasing 'Thrum', and even performed live on occasions. But 'keep us in song' was written during the first UK leg of the 'Shine a light' tour.

In the end, how we interpret all these songs, is up to us: the audience. But for The album 'Thrum' Joe wanted to clear the air, and state that he did not write them as political songs.

In an interview Jay N. Miller gave the following interpretation to Joe : "Basically, we’d suggest the songs are about fear and uncertainty, and somehow managing to pilot yourself through those hard times and doubts."

JH : "I’d say the songs are about all those things,............I’d be hard pressed to tell you exactly what the songs meant in some cases, but I think fear and trembling is something we are seeing today, as people, and as a nation. The political moment is part of the moment we stand in, but I’ve never written songs to address a political moment. I don’t want that kind of authority. I’m more interested in looking at what does fear and trembling do to us as individuals? How do we abide and continue in times like these?"
"I always want to write about things that challenge us as human beings,” Henry continued. “How we all try to deal with the inevitable, stand in the moment, and abide it, or don’t.....................
Sometimes songs mean different things to different people, so if some people see commentary in these songs, that’s their right.”

I have written down my view on 'Thrum'. But if I had to say it in 1 sentence : I interpret the album as the climb, both we personally and as a society need to do.... Are doing!

Joe told Rob Beyers what the circumstances where, when and how he wrote 'Keep us in song'. I remember verry wel the overall feel in that period. 4 days after he wrote that song, I saw him perform in Portsmouth. It was a period full of worries for all of us. Knowing what I know today, I think those days marked the verry beginning of a Climb Joe, at first personally, had to face, and turn that in getting us all on board to climb.  I am actually relieved that he wasn't alone touring in the UK, but Billy Bragg was right there with him. Both of them turned those shows in perhaps the most important tour you could witness in the UK, maybe even Europe.Today, we are climbing.  We are on our way up !

Me personally I also had to climb, and f.e. music has helped me with that.

2 Years ago, when ISIS attacked Paris's conterchall Bataclan. Fear struck all the way to Brussels. Venue Ancienne Belgique, closed for several days. It is a venue, similar to Bataclan, so there was actual fear. Trixie Whitley opened the doors again. All those dreadful events made that concert, in Belgium, almost symbolic.  Before it actual started, we all sang along with Bob Marley's 'one love'. The emotions in that room, the statement we made there together where of the utmost strength !

BTW, it's the place Joe himself will perform in a few months.

A few months later, Brussels itself got attacked by ISIS at the airport, and on the subway. It was the period Birds of Chicago toured with 'Real Midnight'. Their song on how we have to look out for eachother, together. Their concert, and my converation with them was another step up the ladder.

Seeing Bill and Joe preached the importance of solidarity in Portsmouth helped us all, together !
Hearing Billy Bragg perform in Antwerp a few weeks ago helped us all, together ! 

And hearing the 'Thrum' songs helps us :

Together !

Well, this was supposed to be a round up of some interviews, but I got carried away again... Perhaps I should title this post something like : Life in Song, or song in Life. I don't know...


sources :

vrijdag 1 december 2017

Rodney Crowell's Adventures in song

Dreamcatcher events and American Songwriter have announced a 'songwriting camp' hosted by Rodney Crowell.

'Adventures in song' is a 4 day event full of workshop, lectures and concerts.

Joe Henry is 1 of the guests.

The event takes place from 16 till 20 July, 2018 in Caramel,CA

Rodney Crowell's Adventures in Song is an event for players and music-lovers of all ages, levels, interests, and taste! Whether you are a master player, a beginner, or just an enthusiastic fan, our four day programs offer activities and workshops for you. Our environments are non-competitive and are strictly about immersing oneself in the joys of music and our lovely surroundings!

In his personal invitation, Rodney Crowell writes he will be 'teaching as will Joe Henry, Lisa Loeb, Allen Shamblin and Brennen Leigh. And there will be guest appearances by the legendary Bernie Taupin and Booker T. Jones. Renowned session guitarist, Don Peake, will be on hand and you never known who else might turn up.'

Register with this link !

dinsdag 28 november 2017

Congratulation Ryan Freeland (and Rose Cousins)

A well deserved congratulations is in order !

Today the Grammy nominations, 2018 have been announced.

Ryan Freeland is 1 of the nominees for 'Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical'. This for his work on the album 'Natural Conclusion' from Rose Cousins. You guessed it: produced by Joe.

On January 28, the winners will be announced.

Good Luck !

zondag 26 november 2017

Lisa, Billy and a few others...

The Colorist is a Belgian band using more classical instruments together with self-made instruments, toys and other items that make sound.  These are some of Belgian’s finest musicians currently out there. They rarely make their own songs, usually they re-arrange another artist’s catalogue, and perform together with that artist. I remember with their previous project, featuring Emiliana Torrini, I told my friends ‘something extremely beautiful’ was touring in our country. That project resulted in an international tour and a record. Even today, sometimes they still perform it.

For the current project they asked Lisa Hannigan to join them. They reworked songs from her 3 solo albums. Indeed; also Passenger, produced by Joe. The song ‘fall’ she co-wrote with Joe, was another 1 that was performed.
It was again a wonderful show in Antwerp, I saw this week. As high as The Colorist set the bar, they can take the jump. It was, in the words Lisa addressed to the audience, "A musical, fairytale spaceship".
Keep an eye on them, because I heard they will be back on the road in April. If you can, go and see them, and have a wonderful evening.

And then, yesterday, I went to see Billy Bragg perform. Another member of the 'Musical Joe Henry family'. Last year they recorded and toured ‘shine a light’ together.
But let me start with giving Billy’s opening act a deserved place here. Irish folksinger, Paddy Nash, has a wonderful singing voice and brought us songs from his life and dreams, and since he’s opening for Billy Bragg, a little bit on current political and social problems was also presented. I’m sure he won a lot of hearts yesterday.
I need to jump back here a few weeks, because another member of this family came in with a great opening act a few weeks ago. Aimee Mann, who treated us with a great evening, and for my personal nostalgia played several songs from the Magnolia Soundtrack. These songs still stand tall !
But I was writing about opening acts: Jonathan Coulton gave us a humorous view on the world. For example:  check out his song IKEA.
Aimee Mann

Billy Bragg, is a man on a mission! He's traveling around the world, performing to reload his audiences their battery to strive for a better world. The appreciation he gets from the audience, will also surely recharge his.  And so we all help each other, and can make it happen. His mission comes in the form of this tour where he is promoting his album ‘Bridges not walls’. An album with songs he wrote over the last year(s), while he was also touring heavily together with Joe for the 'Shine a light’ songs. Yesterday he mentioned a few times touring and railing with Joe, and how the Current affairs from then, and news reporting about it, affected the concerts from this tour. I have seen 1 of those concerts, (actually: I think, that me and my wife are 1 of the very few Belgians who’ve seen it, if not the only Belgians?). I think I can understand what he was saying there. These words were an intro to Anais Mitchell’s ‘Why we build the wall’, a song that, for me, is turning into an anthem of this era.  It doesn’t loose any power, no matter how many times I’ve heard it.

Billy recharged every battery in the house, and an entire audience went home with a new motivation to be part of more solidarity !
We didn’t want to let Billy end the show, so he came back for a 2nd encore, on the condition that we sang the chorus of ‘A new England’, with which he also saluted Kirsty MacColl, by singing the verse he wrote for her.
An impressive ending, but a little ironic singing those sentences after such an inspiring evening.   But hey,... that song just pushed the battery up to 130%.

maandag 20 november 2017

European 'Thrum' tour + Videoclip

This morning the first shows for Amsterdam and Brussels where already announced.

Now we have info on a full European Tour.

Feb 1 King’s Place : London, UK  
Feb 2 Mackintosh Church : Glasgow, UK
Feb 4 Paradiso : Amsterdam, NL
Feb 5 Ancienne Belgique : Brussels, BE 
Feb 7 Prinzenbar : Hamburg, GER
Feb 8 Quasimodo : Berlin, GER 
Feb 10 Music Hall Worpswede :  Bremen, GER
Feb 11 Grand Social : Dublin, IR

The announcement was made with a brandnew video of Joe performing 'The Glorious Dead' with Levon Henry.

A Video directed by Steve Lipmann/FLIP .

Here are some 'making-of' pictures :

Brussels and Amsterdam show

2 European shows have been announced for February  :
February 4th : Paradiso Noord, Amsterdam
February 5th : Ancienne Belgique : Brussels

I have no info yet, whether it will be a solo show, together with Levon Henry, or with a full band.
(I personally hope the latter.)

Pre-sale for these shows starts on Wednesday, 22 November 10:00h.

You'll know where to find me those days.

zaterdag 18 november 2017

Thrum show added

Those living in or near Freehold New Jersey...

1 Extra Thrum show is added to the calendar : December 10th.
It's an in-studio performance of Joe, together with Levon Henry.

...Concerts in the studio is ?
 It's a simple premise....We host National touring bands and singer-songwriters in my photo studio, with near perfect sound and sightlines, that will forever change the way you experience live music...period. And if that were not enough, immediately following most shows, we do a potluck that has become as legendary as the performances themselves! Shoot us an e-mail for details/reservations (RSVP Required), bring a dish to share, and a friend or two and enjoy. 100% of all proceeds go directly to the artists we host.
3 Jackson Terrace
Freehold NJ 07728
For reservation info:

More info to be find with this link.

Steep Canyon Rangers's 'Out in the open' Release date

The upcoming album by the 'Steep Canyon Rangers', which is  produced by Joe, will be released on January 26, 2018.

The album is entitled 'Out in the Open'.

 Gratefulweb has more info and tourdates  :
In July 2017, Steep Canyon Rangers arrived at Fidelitorium Recordings in Kernersville, NC, an intimate studio facility built, owned, and operated by legendary producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Let’s Active). Having not previously discussed Henry’s plans, the band was surprised to discover that their producer – with the invaluable help of engineer/mixer Jason Richmond – intended to record in classic fashion, with all six members singing and playing in a room with no overdubs. Though Steep Canyon Rangers had some trepidation, they promptly rose to the challenge.

Rollingstone gives us a pre-listen of the single 'Going Midwest'. A song inspired by the Novel The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Sharp, Platt and Ashworth recorded the song in one take that was initially meant to be a dry run. As producer Joe Henry tells Rolling Stone Country, it was clear that they'd nailed it on the first try. “What I heard conjured before me that moment was not only rich, soulful and heartbreaking, but as well, rendered with a simplicity and humility that defies the deft artistry that allows it,"

Some footage while playing this 1-take recording, and some more back info.

Previously, we also could hear the song 'The speed we're travelling'.

You can already pre-order this album. 
Full Tracklist :

  • Farmers And Pharaohs
  • Let Me Out Of This Town
  • Out In The Open
  • Can’t Get Home
  • Going Midwest
  • When She Was Mine
  • Love Harder
  • Shenandoah Valley
  • Best Of Me
  • Roadside Anthems
  • Let Me Die In My Footsteps
  • The Speed We’re Traveling

zaterdag 11 november 2017

Tickets to Win for Joe Henry and Rose Cousins

at relix.com you can win a pair of tickets for Joe Henry with Special Guest Rose Cousins at LPR on Friday, December 8th, 2017.

Enter to Win!

vrijdag 10 november 2017

Adam Whipple inspired by Joe.

Adam Whipple talks about his new record  at The Rabbit Room. He specificly names Joe's work as clear inspiration for his album 'The Broken Seasons'.

A few weeks ago I was going down to Georgia and I got this Joe Henry album and listened on the way. He’s produced a couple of records for Over the Rhine. He’s a brilliant songwriter. He has this way of taking groups of instruments that are similar in timbre and making the sound weave in and out of itself. So you’ve got a mandola imitating a guitar or a lap steel sounding like an extension of a piano, horns imitating an organ sound, those kinds of things. I love all of that and decided that was what I wanted to do with this album. I wanted the listener to not even know exactly what instruments are playing because they’re woven together so well.

Adam is trying to fund his project through a pledge Campaign. Go over and support him, if you like it. (as I do).

woensdag 1 november 2017

Some Thrum songs performed Live

Joe performed yesterday in the Paste-studio. It was streamed live on the internet. He was accompanied by Levon Henry. Me personally, I love Levon's playing more each time I hear him.

Listen to songs 'Climb', 'Believer' and 'The Glorious dead'.
Joe talks a bit about these songs, the Album 'Thrum' and his previous 'shine a light' (together with Billy Bragg).

maandag 30 oktober 2017

Producing the Milk Carton Kids

Hello all,

Joe's own album Thrum has just been released.
If everyone has read the press about it, I'm sure you will all already noticed that other piece of info. Last week, the L.A. Times gave us a pre-listen of these new songs. But hidden in the entire story there was this 1 sentence :

“I’m deeply invested in poetry, and I write a lot of it,” Henry, 56, said from Nashville recently, where he’s wearing his producer’s hat yet again, working on a new collection with L.A. folk duo the Milk Carton Kids.

A little while ago, Joe also posted a picture on Instagram rehearsing with them :

Een bericht gedeeld door Joe Henry (@joehenrymusic) op

Recordings seem to be done in the House of Blues studios in Nashville. Singer Lindsay Loubelly posted a picture, recording with Kenneth Pattengale for a new Milk Carton Kids album.

We are witnessing something interesting for the duo Kenneth and Joey Ryan. They are not alone over there! Not only is Lindsay Loubelly singing, but you also see an upright-bass player in the picture. 

And, also:  Joe's there, and during that week "Jay Bellerose was in Nashville making an album."...

I'm pretty sure we are in for a treat.


donderdag 26 oktober 2017

My musings on 'Thrum'

'I know fact from fiction know they are the same, 2 sides of believing' 

Today the new album ‘Thrum’ by Joe is released. It is no surprise to you all, that I’m very thrilled with it. To me, Joe keeps on making some of the most interesting, strong and relevant music out there. Whether it is for himself, or for someone else.

With Thrum, I welcome an album that reflects our times. All the challenges that we face, as a human being, or as a society. It reflects our loves and our fears. I can’t tell if these songs where written and made with these intentions, but it is how I received them. But let me now write about his album. It's up to you to read and be


‘Thrum’ was recorded with Joe’s regular Tribe. Jay Bellerose, Levon Henry, David Piltch, Patrick Warren, Ryan Freeland… In the Liner Notes Joe wrote about Ryan’s part. He did not only mix what he heard, like most previous recordings. No, he manipulated it live and recorded that in realtime. There are songs where it is very subtle, but other songs it is clear where Ryan’s work is happening. It is a different approach then what we are used to from Joe’s work, and
on the other hand : It is exactly what we are used to from Joe’s work. Live recordings with everyone in the room, interacting with each other. This time also Ryan brings in his art in interaction with the musicians. Yes :  Art !  Something I’ve been aware of since a long time, but it can not be overseen anymore with his album. Ryan is almost always labeled as ‘Recording engineer’, ‘Mixer’,… Words that make a connotation to a very practical, ‘behind-the-scenes’, part of recording.  But Ryan Freeland is an Artist. His instruments are Microphones, mixingtables, reverb-units,….
During most recordings it is normally a  one-way communication from the musicians towards the recordingdesk, while the playing musicians interact with eachother. I can only imagine for Joe’s tribe of musicians it was a very natural idea to also interact live with Ryan.

In its entirety ‘Thrum’ feels like a narrative. From prologue ‘Climb’ up to the climax in songs ‘Hungry’ and ‘Quicksilver’, and finally ‘keep us in song’ as resolution.
What is a prologue without an opening sentence ?  “Here lies Billy the kid, here lies his Gun.” But are these really the opening words ? I’m already a few sentences in. Hearing Joe counting off builds up a curiosity, which is only strengthened by the guitarplaying, and then Levon Henry on Alto Saxophone. I don’t know about you, but I want to keep reading!

“All that I loved, loved me back, let me go”. 

‘Climb’ already blows me away. A sad and melancholic song about things that are legendary to us. But now they are gone...
Each character in the song has let us go, but we are unable to do the same thing. The more important something is to us, the harder it is to deal with the moment it decides to leave us. You need it so badly, but all that is left, is your need for it. It’s a sad thought. but the title of the song gives away what we need to do and what we will do.

here lies the best of us,
and here stand the rest of us:
dying, trying not to let on—
a heart surrendering everything
hunger has won

Now let us Climb.

‘Believer’ is a song that Joe already presented us during the ‘Invisible Hour’ tour as a cross between 'Amazing Grace' and 'Let's get it on'. It is an ode to our lovers.
I guess those, in the U.S., who’ve witnessed the Invisible Hour Tour, heard kind of the demo version of this song. I noticed a tiny shift in the lyrics of the last chorus. 2 different words, which create an entire different feel. I find it very interesting, because we can see an artist finishing the last rough edges on his sculpture.

3 Years ago Joe sang :
Oh, my hunger
my revolution,
leading headlong into blue—

the character is displayed as a basic need that takes the lead. The protagonist is dependent of the antagonist.

Today we can hear :

Oh, my witness,
my revolution,
marching headlong into blue—

Now there is no difference in status anymore between the poet and his/her muse.
One can’t be without the other.

‘The dark is light enough’, starts with anger. A bitter song about seeing that your biggest fears seem to be happening, and somehow you will have to deal with it.

I stood at the window
like what I feared might be outside.
My cage, it has betrayed me
holding neither time nor love,
but letting in a dark I know
must still be light enough

There is another verse in this song that deserves your attention. These musings did get a little out of hand, so I've written that in another entry. Go and read it !

‘The world of this room’ is such a wonderful ballad! It reminds us that, in difficult times,  we should never forget the good things we have.
‘The Glorious dead’ is another highlight on the album. Do you remember, at the big steps you’re taking in life, how it all feels ? That excitement in the mix of letting go, and looking forward. The wonderful confusion ? It is beautifully displayed in this song.
Confusion is something that we are confronted with a few times in this album, just like we are confronted with it in everyday life. ‘River floor’ is a song that literally makes us see things from the opposite angle. When you first hear it, it confuses you, and that confusion opens new insights. Another song that gives us confusion is ‘The world of this room’. Just when you think how short this song is, it wakes you up and carries on. These are wonderful portrayals of the confused times we live in, and at the same time they do what needs to be done. We need to be confused to see things differently! Where in ‘The world of this Room’ It is confusing us over the endings. ‘River floor’ Confuses us on the questions and stories we hear. It shows us for example that sometimes the answers we seek, simply lie in the questions we ask.

Oh, come let us be hungry in the world,
together we’ll be hungry;

With everything going on in today’s society, ‘Hungry’ asks us to change direction before it is too late. Our world we live in, whether we talk about our climate, our society, our freedom and peace. It is all under pressure. Let us all together remove that pressure ! Let us be Hungry in the world, together….
Because, what do we see when we put a mirror in front of us ?  Where are we today ? A question raised in ‘Quicksilver’. 

We’ve made a ghost of hours
surrendered every war,
until even God must laugh and nod
At just how free we are;
but the saints grow tired waiting out
the tidings of our sea,
As we spill all of our will
between us, you and me

‘Now and never’ is such an amazing beautiful song. A song about truth. What is it ? In general and for me personally. and what are the elements that I still need to discover? Let it not be just words. I know :  at times truth can be scary, but maybe there is a degree of understanding and acceptance that is still yet to come to us….

Acceptance,…. is something that we find in closingtrack ‘keep us in song’. ‘Song’ as a metaphor for wathever it means to you. Life, society, this world, us, … I guess the same metaphore was made in ‘Blood of the forgotten song’.  The forgotten song, meaning the parts in our history we don’t remember. But we must remember, we can’t cut it out.  How can you separate present, past and future ? Everything we are today, comes from our past. It will lead to our future… It’s all connected.
‘Keep us in song’ teaches us an important lesson. It is about discovering the fact, that as an individual, we can’t grasp everything. It is about understanding that it is together, with those around us, that it will work.

Last night I lay thinking
I’d dropped the last thread
that stitched every dream
to the top of my head;
they’ll all fly and leave me
but I’ll get along––
with yours here beside me
to keep me us song


'Thrum' is released on 27 October 2017, available on Joe's Website.

I know fact from fiction

In ‘The Glorious Dead’ (from the album Thrum), between each sentence : there is just enough time left, to build an idea in your head. I see here a master songsmith at work. Because it offers you so many layers in a verse. Let me explain how it enters my mind with, with what I find, the strongest words in this song, perhaps on this album.

I know fact from fiction,
Hearing this sentence, I get an unmistakable critic to the leaders who are selling every inconvenient truth as fiction, and each desired fiction as truth. Off Course Trump in front of them all. You hear an anger in the line, it’s statement against these people.  The line is followed by

know they are the same
And now I’m confused. I expect an explanation, and I know it will be there in the next line.

two sides of believing
And here we arrive at a huge and complex situation in today’s society. It exposes a difficult question : What is truth ? (BTW a question also occurring later on the album in ‘Now and Never’) When we approach it, as our view upon the world, you can not deny there is no 1 truth, everyone has his own. How you look at the world, with everything that has shaped your live, is a very personal thing.
But let me pick a specific situation in the world : Climate change. There is scientific evidence enough that it is happening. Now that’s a truth. But we notice that it is not enough to act on it. You have those who believe, and those who don’t. I can imagine it is much easier to disbelieve, because then there is nothing to act on, so for your own peace of mind, you can turn a blind eye. But climate change is an evolution effecting us all, so we need to act with the full population.
What’s at stake ? Does this earth’s future is one where humans will be a part of, or will we disappear ? It’s scary to even think about it, but we must !

I know fact from fiction,
know they are the same
two sides of believing

in the singing of God’s name

Now another sentence in, and we are facing another challenge in this world. Our approach to religions we are unfamiliar with. But if we broaden the horizon, and use the term 'God's name' as a metaphore for anything sacred to us, wether it is religion, culture or other rules, ways of live,.... we are opening up this song to every challenge we are facing.

that knows itself in hunger,
These are the things that feed our view on everything,  they are a part of who we are.

the never-ending fight
It are all strugglings existing for so many centuries. And it doesn’t look like we will find peace in them.

the kiss that lives between us
Let us not forget that aside from these differences, there can be a connection between us.

where the dark keeps all the light
But we hardly see that, because we only look at the differences.

8 lines, but they made me think about our entire universe.....

I know fact from fiction,
know they are the same—
two sides of believing
in the singing of God’s name;
that knows itself in hunger

the never-ending fight—
the kiss that lives between us
where the dark keeps all the light 

click to read my entire musings on 'Thrum'.

woensdag 25 oktober 2017

Pre- listen Thum


A few days before the official release these songs are out there.

Go over to the LA Times.

The 5 essential John Prine songs

WfUV Asked Joe to give us John Prine's 5 most essential songs.

In truth, I’d be hard pressed to just choose the five most essential off his first album alone. And though I’ll play along and invite you to pretend right with me that such a smattering might possibly be suggestive of the whole of his wide-arcing story, this will never really do....

Discover, and read about Joe's choices at WfUV .

In the meantime : enjoy Joe himself perform John Prine's 'Stormy Windows' together with Birds of chicago. And these last ones, I discovered, have their upcoming European tourdates on the site. Mark your calendars !

vrijdag 13 oktober 2017

Joan Baez on her last album and tour.

Variety has an interview with Joan Baez. Joe is producer of her upcoming album, which will also be her last album.

CREDIT: AGF s.r.l./REX/Shutterstock

She speaks about the songs she has picked for this album, and doing a last bit of touring next year.

“I’ve done something from Antony & The Johnsons, two from Tom Waits – ‘Last Leaf’ and ‘Whistle Down The Wind’ – Josh Ritter, one from an unknown, Zoe Mulford, brilliant. Twelve songs and they’re done. There’s one I might redo, Steve [Earle’s], because it has too much instrumentation and you need to hear the words.”

“Next year is my last year of formal touring,” said Baez. “There will be four different tours, one month each, and then that’s it."

zondag 8 oktober 2017

upcoming Steep Canyon Rangers

As mentioned before, Joe was involved in a new Steep Canyon Rangers album.

They've performed the song 'The speed we're traveling' for Pre-war Guitars Co.

They mentioned it was a song from the band's forthcoming album that will be out in January 2018. 

Edit : It is confirmed that Joe is producer of the upcoming album.  

woensdag 27 september 2017

A first 'Amy Helm' Glimp

Listen to a sample of the upcoming Amy Helm album, featuring Allison Russell and JT Nero from Birds of Chicago.  At the same time you get a look from the recordingsessions.

Oh, and don't forget to book tickets for the fundraising concerts !.

zondag 17 september 2017

AmericanaFest round up.

AmericanaFest2017 is walking its last steps. Joe and Billy Bragg where nominated for the 'duo of the year' award, for their Shine a light project. They didn't go home with the price, but their presence at this years addition will not be forgotten.

Embed from Getty Images

Following it all from across the ocean, let me try and give you an idea of Joe's contributions.

The people sing !

It started with an evening called 'The people sing' : An event To bring to life extraordinary history of ordinary people engaged in struggles for freedom and justice. As a first clip for this entry I need to start not with Joe, but by the act who opened this evening : Blind boys of Alabama. They did an amzing rendition of 'Amazing Grace', to the tune 'House of the Rising sun'. A must see !

Joe himself performed a few songs. Together with Billy Bragg he performed Woodie Guthrie's 'Ramblin Round'. and solo, according to nowplayingNashville Joe's powerful take on “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” the so-called anthem of the Great Depression. was 1 of the highlights.

I wish I could share it with you, but I haven't come across it yet. But what I can share is another highlight, where Joe is backing up Rhiannon Giddens on guitar for her 'Mal Hombre' with which she slammed the house I guess.

To end the night, all the artists joined in a sing-a-long of Guthrie's 'This land is your land'. Joe had the honor of getting it started.

Award show

Traditionally the award show will be aired as a special Austin City Limits broadcast in a while. I'll keep you posted on that one.

Joe and Billy performed together 'Gentle on my mind' in honor of John Hartford and Glen Campbell, and Joe presented the lifetime achievement award to Larry Sloven & Bruce Bromberg.

Songwriting Worksop

The AmericanaFest Calender lists a panel consisting of Rhiannon Giddens, Rodney Crowell and Joe Henry to discuss songwriting together. But following the pictures presented it seems not Rodney Crowell but Dirk Powell joined Joe and Rhiannon for this talk.
Embed from Getty Images

Some Quotes by Joe found on Twitter :
- "Being a songwriter is like jumping in an ocean & if you're really good at it sometimes you can swim in it."
- "Any song is equal parts hope and equal parts despair."
and my favorite : 
- "Listening is not a passive activity."

Solo Performance :

Joe did a soloshow at the Downtown Presbyterian Church. He was the opening act for Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynne.
There is a wonderful photocollage of that evening made by NEWs in Pics.

Joe dug in his back catalogue as well as presenting new songs from his upcoming Album Thrum. nowplayingnashville writes : Highlights included “Believer,” from his new album “Thrum” due Oct. 27, and his back catalogue “Our Song,” as he took a turn on the piano.
Also on the setlist was : 'Odetta' 'After the war'

But me personally, I'm already a smiling person seeing Joe together with Allison and JT from Birds of Chicago bringing this version of John Prine's 'Storm Windows'.

If you enjoyed one of these events and like to share your story, or fill in the details missing here feel free to leave a comment, or send me a message.


woensdag 13 september 2017

Happy Releaseday 'Grace'

Words escape me to explain my appreciation for this album. How can I use an alphabetical vocabulary, to explain this musical masterpiece. You should simply listen to it, and let this album, these musicians, this voice cradle you in its warm arms.

zaterdag 9 september 2017

Joe Henry presents us Thrum

When the songs that make up Thrum began to arrive, pair off and multiply
––when I could hear within them a common vocabulary of shared
intention–– I began to imagine not only the cast of musicians that might

best articulate them, but as well a recording method which might bid
welcome the unknowable and mercurial in each, and conjure them wholly,
sparking into the room. And as I did, I went to my friend and longtime
engineer, Ryan Freeland, with a proposition concerning how I might make
an album that could allow for bold manipulations without forsaking the
alligiences inherent to our spontaneous, performance-based ethos....
I pitched Ryan the notion that I would assemble a room of trusted brothers
(one of them also a son); and as we offered up takes of each song, he
would respond to their cumulative weather pushing through the control
room speakers -- not as a dispassionate stenographer documenting all for
posterity, but as one making tonal movies on-the- fly: contorting, mixing, and
printing the results to 1/2" stereo analog tape in real time as we played.
This scheme would, of course, prove feasible and advantageous for me
only if Ryan and the other musicians found the invitation inspiring and not a
hindrance to their collective creativity, upon which I have grown to so rely;
and fortunately for me, they did to a man, and to them each I am grateful.
As such:
We convened twice, for two days each gathering, at United Recording in
Hollywood (its studio B being my favorite recording space in all of Los
Angeles, its crew the kindest); and with each song emerging in rotation, we
played to hear in collaboration its fundamental impulse; and as the song
took shape, Ryan made decisions about how to frame it all as a visceral
and singular listening experience. Ryan was, thus, a band member
–essentially playing all of us as we played each song.
I had described to Ry and the fellas something of what I imagined, sonically
––referencing, for example, a particular Ray Charles album recorded live at
the Olympia Civic Theatre in Los Angeles in 1964, wherein his voice
throughout threatens the authority of the audio equipment employed to limit
its dynamic volatility. When he sings low, the sound relaxes open like a
dilated pupil, saturating with intimacy and color; and when Ray becomes
fierce and pounces, it flares like a bulb being fed a wild surge of unmetered
electricity, distorting like a fine line of ink being pulled into fuzzy bloom by
thick and fibrous paper; and in truth, I wanted every sound to argue
containment and speak like a living soul breaking out of a flat, still
photograph and into vivid animation; wanted everything with its holy
fractures in view.

I instinctively felt and still do feel that these songs could flourish no other
way than being thrown headlong into the proverbial sea that would both
toss them high and then pull them under into depths from whence none
would emerge without 'the bends' that would leave them disoriented and
walking oddly though steadfastly forward. The songs, after all, each initially
surfaced to tease my reach like shadows in a fever dream: all of them
naked and asking after succor –all of them reconciling not only light in
darkness, but the light within darkness; of it: yielding what light itself shall
never; all of them wanting not only for love, but to be fairly seen without
judgment ––as every prodigal son and daughter longs to be.
And I embrace them here and all; am liberated, and accept that though of
my own invention, these songs nonetheless will survive as they do, and
well outside of my control, wild imaginings, and inevitable misgivings. So
may it ever be.
They will, alas, break my heart, somehow; and in so doing, make me
whole, I want to believe. Like the endless party in the apartment upstairs,
they are noisy and unnerving to me even now; and by morning will leave
empty bottles and un-mated shoes in their wake.
And in this way I shall follow them on.



Produced by Joe Henry
Recorded and mixed ‘live’ to stereo tape by Ryan Freeland
at United Recording, Studio B; Hollywood, CA
February 21 and 22; March 29 and 30, 2017

Recording assistance provided by Monique Evelyn
Mastered by Kim Rosen at Knack Mastering, Ringwood, NJ

Joe Henry – vocals and acoustic guitar
Jay Bellerose – drums and percussion
Levon Henry – all reeds, raw and cooked: alto and tenor saxophone; B-
flat, alto, and bass clarinet; whistling
David Piltch – upright and electric bass
John Smith – acoustic and electric guitar; backing vocals
Patrick Warren – piano, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer electric piano,
Chamberlin; String arrangement for “Keep Us In Song”

The Section Quartet
Eric Gorfain - first violin
Daphne Chin – second violin
Leah Katz – viola
Richard Dodd – cello

Asa Brosius – pedal steel

Joey Ryan – backing vocals

All songs by Joseph Lee Henry and published by Deal Notes/Plainspeak
Music (ASCAP), except “Now and Never,” by Joseph Lee Henry and
Kenneth Pattengale: Big Deal Notes/Plainspeak Music/Dr Caulwell And Co
(ASCAP). All rights administered by Words & Music, a division of Big Deal
Music LLC
Cover photography by Michael Wilson: "Marilyn's Hands" / "Tendril" (2016)
Portrait of JH by Glen Hansard; Co. Kildare, Ireland (May, 2017)
Design by Anabel Sinn

Management: David Whitehead with Brian Hultgren for Maine

Visit Joe's renewed official  website : Joe Henry Loves You Madly

vrijdag 8 september 2017

Thrum tour announced + pre orders.

good news....

Joe's website marks (also) the releasedate on October 27. 

We know the album is coming, but now a U.S. tour is announced !
For the moment 2 solo shows, and a list of full band shows are on display.

Solo Shows

Sept 14 – Nashville, TN @ Americana Fest (together with Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer.)
Oct 28 – Franklin, TN @ Franklin Theater(supporting the Milk Carton kids)

Full Band

Dec 2 – Durham, NC @ Baldwin Theater
Dec 3 – Charleston, WV @ Mountain Stage
Dec 4 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater (With special Guest Rose Cousins)

For info : Joe produced Rose's last album.

Dec 6 – Vienna, VA @ Jammin’ Java (With special Guest Rose Cousins)
Dec 7 – Boston, MA @ City Winery (With special Guest Rose Cousins)
Dec 8 – New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge (With special Guest Rose Cousins)
Dec 9 – Woodstock, NY @ Levon Helm Studios (With special Guest Rose Cousins)
Jan 13 – Los Angeles, LA @ The Sanctuary at Pico Union

Get your tickets !

And secondly you can pre-order the album. And this time also on Vinyl. (Invisible Hour wasn't released on Vinyl).
Enjoy the first song : 'Believer'

vrijdag 1 september 2017

Amy Helm's Fundraising Weekend

You can help Amy Helm with funding her upcoming album produced by Joe.

On 29/09 and 30/09  she will be doing a fundraising concert at the Levon Helm studio; Woodstock,NY.
and the next day (october first) It will be a brunch with performance, conversation and cocktails at the Barn at Cucina; Woodstock, NY.

Buy your tickets for 1 night, or more at her site !

Een bericht gedeeld door Amy Helm (@amyhelmmusic) op

AmericanaFest 2017 performance

Additional artists have been confirmed for Americana Fest.

And yes, Joe is 1 of them.

On Thursday September 14, Joe will perform in the Downtown Presbyterian Church from 6:00 PM until 6:45 PM.

dinsdag 29 augustus 2017

Americana Fest Award show

AmericanaFest has confirmed the artists who will perform during the awardshow.

Joe Henry & Billy Bragg are among them. They are nominated as 'duo of the year' for their project 'Shine a Light'.

maandag 28 augustus 2017

Lauralee (with/for Andrew Combs)

A little while ago Joe Co-Wrote the song 'Lauralee' with (and for) Andrew Combs.

And with that : a new segment of this virtual universe is made. A page with the songs Joe wrote (or helped to write) for others.

I used to love to watch the wind 
Fall and lift again 
Your flowing hair
All I could do was stare 

That whispering quiet sound 
When it all came tumbling down 
Your skin all bare 
It just isn't fair 

Cause I still feel you in the air somehow 
Just like you were here, but you're not here now 

A word with wings 
That's all the wind sings

The bed that you once shared with me 
Lies there like my enemy 
Such a clever thief 
To steal my sleep 

Open windows, open eyes 
But the wind don't sing no lullabyes 
All I hear Is a voice, so clear 
Asking where in the world did you go 

After all my questions, 
I still don't know 

donderdag 24 augustus 2017

Kenneth Pattengale's History with Joe

I was incredibly influenced by Joe's work as a producer. It explains a really special time in musical history, one where we should be verry proud of. It doesn't feel as distant in the past as the other things that have that affect on me. That was happening 15 years ago.
(Kenneth Pattengale)

Steve Dawson had Kenneth Pattengale as a guest for his Extraordinary podcast Musicmakers and soulshakers. A Podcast that already featured several JH Aficionado, including Joe Himself and Ryan Freeland.

In this episode (n°45) it was half of the Milk Carton Kids, Kenneth Pattengale's turn.

Listen to his musical path. And at the end of the almost 2 hour episode he explains how his relationship with Joe started and grew.  (starts at 1:34:30)
Listen f.e. to an excerpt of his 2009 duet with Joe entitled Big Time, but also maybe his biggest Horror story. ;-)

Thrum Details

Amazon has Thrum online as a pre-sale.

They list the releasedate on October 27, 2017.
We also get the tracklist.

1. Climb
2. Believer
3. Dark Is Light Enough
4. Blood of the Forgotten Song
5. World of This Room
6. The Glorious Dead
7. Hungry
8. Quicksilver
9. River Floor
10. Now and Never
11. Keep Us in Song

The People Sing!

On september 12th the event 'The People Sing!' will take place.

An event To bring to life extraordinary history of ordinary people engaged in struggles for freedom and justice.

It's a gathering that takes place on openingnight of Americanafest 2017. Presented by AmericanaFest, War Memorial Auditorium and Voices of a Peoples History of the U.S
Invited by Allison Moorer, Joe is 1 of the participating artists next to Hayes Carll, Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, Alice Randall, Teddy Thompson, Otis Taylor, Elizabeth Cook, Shelby Lynne, Blind Boys of Alabama, Rhiannon Giddens, Billy Bragg, Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and more. 
It's not the first time Joe performed for 'Voices of a Peoples History'. In 2014 he performed on their 10th anniversary celebration.
And don't forget that Joe and Billy Bragg are nominated for duo of the year.
This summer I myself became verry emotional concerning 'ordinary people engaged in struggles for freedom and justice.'
I read Flemish Author Stefan Hertmans book 'Oorlog en Terpentijn' (War and Turpetine). Stefan Hertmans his Grandfather was a soldier in the frontlines during the first World War. He wrote down his lifestory. 
I've been taught about the WW's in school, I've seen movies, documentaries, read books, but it's this one that had the biggest confrontation of what it must have been to live in a war. It's a stunning, shocking and heartbreaking book, about how a beautiful person's life has been overthrown by this war.
For our Familyholiday we went to flanders fields this year. Everything that I absorbed  on my Holiday lead me to write the following.

Out there in these Flanders Fields….
A generation of young individuals. These men and women, these heroes… Their lives chattered by mightier men, more powerful men who wanted more of the same thing.

A generation of beautiful people, forced to live in a disgusting world….
Everyone has heroes, people you look up to, and dream of grasping just a little spark of their talent. But the people who fought in the great war are part of a higher Heroism. A Heroism of which you do not want to have the littlest part of. I’m pretty sure, that even most of these soldiers in the frontline wished they had a normal youth. Wished they didn’t have to carry afterwards all these ghosts from the past with them.
4 Years in Hell. Without a choice… Wait, … No, they had choices: refuse to fight, and be executed as a traitor, fight and die, or fight and by strange ways of how things go: survive… physically.
4 Years forced in the frontline, by men, behind comfortable desks, who maybe only have seen the trenches when the battle was already done. Trenches they lived in, … Trenches they dug themselves lying down... Because standing up, was an open invitation for a bullet. Day after day after day.... Living between their own human dirt and the rats. No warm food, because the smoke of heating it, would give them away. Only the constant fear, that it could be over the next minute. Day after day after month, after year…
Out there in these Flanders Fields.
With the biggest respect,