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 !