A blog for Joe Henry fans

zaterdag 22 december 2018

Songs and Photographs

Sometimes things drop in at the perfect moment…

I had an extremely busy last 3 months. When I came home from the last working day before the Christmas holidays, I found in the mail Anthony Wilson’s new record ‘Songs and Photographs’. It was an album I was looking forward to, ever since it was announced. These are maybe the two art-forms I love most. Both by an artist for whom I have a huge appreciation.

Anthony Wilson is a guitar player deeply invested in L.A.’s Jazz scene. Although he is better known as Diana Krall’s guitarist during her last tours and albums, he also performed with Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Aaron Neville, Joe Henry, … But he deserves even more credit for his own work as a front man.

I really got in to Anthony’s work with his previous album ‘Frogtown’. An album that doesn’t get the amount of spins it deserves I must admit. We are taking care of that in the following months for sure!
Soon I discovered he is also an active photographer. Shooting the things he comes across during his daily life, capturing the beauty of simple things. Life as it is, non-staged, a way of looking at things in ways we didn’t see at first.

He has combined his 2 talents in to a wonderful record ‘Songs and Photographs’. 
When I received  it, our family life didn’t offer me a chance to hear it immediately. So, the following morning we dropped the kids of at school, and I ended up home alone, and time alone.

I don’t need more to relax than the combination of music and image. It’s the most complete gift…. OK, I’m exaggerating it’s not perfect. There is 1 thing missing and that’s the coffee. But I realize that logistically it would be very difficult to spread this record with a cup of coffee.

No worries, preparing coffee, is something I can handle.

So, there I was, spending some time away from it all, only jazz, images and coffee. The record even has a subtle physical experience. The artwork is not made from shiny smooth carton, but it has a fine raw structure. It’s something to feel for yourself. The subtle differences in color of the sleeve and box, the imprinted lines in the one, but not the other make the entire set a work of art on its own. It all makes sense for what this album has become.  Kudos to Nina Holland and Little Steidl for this. It is definitely a reminder that I need to find a way to give records like that also their deserved display in our home.

Musically it is, besides the greatness of the music, an honor to witness the collaboration of these fine musicians. It’s like their minds where connected during recording. This is what you get when you put Anthony Wilson, Gerald Clayton, Joshua Crumbly, Patrick Warren and Jay Bellerose in the same room. And this with producers Joe Harley and Anthony himself steering the ship.

This complete work of art has won over my heart, and it will be present over here. (Beverages to be chosen in accordance of the atmosphere going along.)

go get it at :https://anthonywilson.bandcamp.com/


vrijdag 7 december 2018

2019 Grammy nominations

2 Albums, produced by Joe, are to be found among the Grammmy 2019 Nominees.

The Grammy winners will be announced on February 10, 2019.

Already congratulations for everyone involved in making these records !


dinsdag 23 oktober 2018

Rosanne Cash, the 'She Remembers Everything Memory Box'

Rosanne Cash's upcoming album 'She Remembers Everything' is set to be released on November 2nd.

In the wake of the latest tsunami of survivor stories, Cash has had to contend with the fact that much of what she hoped would change across her lifetime really hasn't.  It’s a reality that is reflected in her deliberate embrace of women’s narratives on the new album.  "There is a woman’s real life, complex experiences and layered understanding in these songs," Rosanne says. "I could not have written them 10 years ago—not even close. Time is shorter, I have more to say."

There will be a limited edition for this release called the 'She Remembers Everything Memory Box'.

This box includes personal letters of correspondence signed by Rosanne, and exchanged between her and T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Sam Phillips, Joe Henry, Tucker Martine, and John Leventhal while conceptualizing the album.

Besides that, this special edition will also include :
  • Bird On A Blade illustrated book
  • 8” x 10” printed lithograph featuring an original Dan Rizzie illustration from Bird On A Blade
  • Exclusive Rosanne Cash with Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams Live at SFJAZZ CD recorded at her 2017 Artist In Residency with Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams
  • 180g pink disc vinyl album
  • Deluxe casebound CD
  • Digital download redemption card

Pre-order yours on her website

donderdag 18 oktober 2018

My musings on 'This too shall light'

They all made this Masterpiece !

The difficult part in writing this, is with whom do I start ? There will always be someone’s name to mention first. But there is an entire team who all helped in creating this masterpiece during those 4 days in L.A. You can hear all of them. You might not be able to pin the name to some things, but they are there.

On the other hand, it is very easy writing this, because it all started with someone having the idea of making a record, and asking Joe Henry to steer the ship, and help assemble the crew. That person is Amy Helm.

She made this true beauty, backed up by these great musicians, all of it perfectly mixed and channeled for us to listen. Not only does she have this powerful voice, but it is of a gifted beauty. Something you can enjoy extremely in f.e. ‘Heaven’s holding me’ (co-written with Paul Olsen, Theodore Pecchio and Joe Henry).
All over the album there are other voices to enjoy. Most of the time, people call them backing vocals, but I’m glad they are credited over here as Harmony Vocals. Because they’re not there to back up Amy, but to bring the song up to a higher level. Allison Russell & JT Nero (Birds of Chicago) together with Adam Minkoff (who also plays acoustic guitar) provide that, not to be underestimated, layer.

The album opens with title track ‘This too shall light’ (MC Taylor, John Kaufman).  You immediately catch the energy of what comes to you through the speakers. You can't stay passive . It lifts your spirits up. No matter how dark and long it sometimes can be,…. “This too shall light”. Jay Bellerose’s drumming builds it up beyond compare. That’s not drumming, that’s energy!  What a great song. I already need to give kudos to Ryan Freeland behind the desk. He ensures the extra greatness of this record. The reverb in this song is just 1 item that displays this. Oh, And who’s idea was it, to end the song in nothing but vocal Harmony ? Brilliant ! This song alone made me happy when I first heard it, and we’re just opening the show.
It continues with 'Odetta' (Joe Henry). Even more than Joe’s original version, this is a worship, a prayer. It's like a street parade that you can't just only watch. You join in. And the further you walk, the more people join you. Rise up !

'Michigan' (Milk Carton Kids), maybe is the most powerful song on the album.
For me, it is a song about the loss of something strong. Somehow you couldn’t bring closure to it.  When my father died years ago, it all went fast. We were expecting that call you don’t want to receive. You have to deal with it, but you can’t.
The more powerful the connection, the more it hurts.

So when she calls don't send her my way
When it hurts most it's the right thing

Michigan's in the rearview now
Keep your hands where I can see them
You took the words right out of my mouth
When you knew that I would need them
What am I supposed to do now
Without you

There where the original displays the sadness, Amy’s version shows you how much it hurts, and after this one, you know how much. What a strong performance !

Allen Toussaint’s ‘Freedom for the stallion’ remains a necessary song in these times. Keep it in mind when you need to choose your leaders. It’s recorded on this album, as if they where standing in a cathedral. Amy Helm’s voice can carry it.  The Guitar playing by Doyle Bramhall II is clear in the mix, just like it is in ‘Mandolin Wind’ (Rod Stewart). 'The stones that I throw' (Jaime Robbie Robertson) remembers us, that our choices, everyone’s actions, can help create a better world. After that we get 'Long Daddy Green' (Blossom Dearie, David L. Frishberg), a very atmospheric song about elements from the past that, at the time, seemed a good thing, but turned out otherwise. Slowly you forget them, but never completely. There is always a moment it’s brought back to your memory. It haunts you, just like this song. It is followed by a wonderful 'River of Love' (T Bone Burnett).

So now, we’re only left with friends in ‘Gloryland’. A traditional arranged by Amy Helm and her late father Levon Helm. A true gospel of saying goodbye to this life.

so weep not friends, I'm going home…


zondag 23 september 2018

Lizz Wright, Turnhout, Belgium 22 sept. 2018

How we are treated over here !

Within 6 months we get to see Lizz Wright perform over here in Belgium.

She visited us with almost the same band as last time in Brussels. (The only change was Martin Kolarides on guitar)
The Musicians played the intro, Lizz walked on stage and gave us a little thing to get used to.  What happened to that wonderful long hair of yours? But, like she told us, "If your grandmother says it's much better that way, who are we to disagree?". But let's get on with the important stuff.

The show opened, just like in Brussels with 'Barley', followed by her wonderful rendition of 'Old Man' (Neil Young). After that the concert followed a different path. While last April, the emphasis was on her new songs from Grace,  yesterday we received a broader setlist of her songbook. It implied f.e. that we got to hear her perform Joe's 'Stop (Don't tell me)'. It is necessary over here to credit Nicholas D'Amato for that fantastic improvisation on Bass he did in this song. And it is only fair that I continue with the entire band : Bobby Sparks on Piano and Hammond, Brannen Temple on Drums, and off course Martin Kolarides on Guitar. Great together, but they also, all had their solo moments in the show, and received a well deserved aplausse from the audience for it. It fitted wonderfully with Lizz's singing. Every now and then, she took the tambourine, to add some more rhythm. And does she have rhythm ! And does she have a beautiful tambourine. I'm serious here, I'm really jealous of that object. If I'm not mistaken, it displays a wonderful seashell ?

The concert gradually build up to its highlights 'Grace' and 'Seems I'm never tired of loving you'. Stunning performances, but  I'll be honest over here, I'm still hoping to hear these songs with a live gospel choir.
After the encore, the houselights went on, and when we were already making our way out, Lizz came back on stage. "I realised I didn't say goodnight to you all"  And with that, she sweetly ended the evening and wished us a good night, and a safe trip home.

Slowly, reports are coming in that she will be back in our regions, again after 6 months. Oh, how we are treated over here....
Don't forget that Gospel choir now.


If you remember from the last time at her concert I wrote a little bit on Smartphone use. We sat verry close to the stag this time, and the seat next to me was empty. As if the Devil himself was involved, as soon as the houselights went off, a more professional (seeing her equipment) came to sit next to me for half of the show, and shot pictures with a lens long enough to hit my head from where she was sitting. click-click-click next to my ear, followed by checking the display if the picture was useful.

zondag 9 september 2018

Writing in Ireland

As you know, Joe is spending some time in Ireland these days. He recently finished producing a record for Rhiannon Giddens, and upcoming there are 5 concerts.

Besides that, there is also a Masterclass by Joe, Lisa Hannigan and Glen Hansard, followed by the last concert in the region.

Helas, the last show at Burren College is already sold out.

But Joe's work doesn't stop with these things. On top of that, Joe is there to write !

In a radio interview, that is now available as the David Fanning Podcast, Joe explaines that he was invited by Burren College in Ballyvaughan to do a 1,5 month long writing residency.
Follow the link below and listen to Joe talking about it. But keep up, because that showhost can speak mighty fast! (It's also a 20 minutes talk about Joe's influences and work.)


Oh, speaking of writing : Joe announced that a poem of his would be published for the first time in the New Yorker. You can find that one by following https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/09/10/death-of-sound

But now,  how is that writing going on in Ireland?

zaterdag 8 september 2018

Shuffletown on Vinyl

Last week, Joe's 3th album Shuffletown was released on vinyl. Ever since its release in 1990, this is the first time this album is released on Vinyl.

'Why is this one pressed on Vinyl ?', is not the correct question to ask. The question is: 'does it deserve to have such a re-release after 28 ! years?' Joe ,Is it something you need to grab your breath for, for a second ?

... Where did time go ? Sandy Denny already asked that question in 1967.

Shuffletown, and certainly the making of it, is maybe the most important album for Joe Henry. Produced by T. Bone Burnett, it marked the beginning of a journey that, today, still is on-going.
I'm sure there always would have come a 'Shuffletown', but where would Joe be today, if T Bone,  musical genius and mountain was not behind the desk? If he did not step in to Joe's life?

Perhaps it was ment to be ? I mean if your full name is Joseph Henry Burnett, what are the odds your path crosses Joseph Lee Henry...

T Bone presented Joe an other way of recording music. The album was recorded in 3 days, with a band performing the music live. Today, Joe himself is known for using this way of producing. The result of it are all gems for the artists he worked and works for.  All those albums are simply amazing.
Today this is a comfortable way of working for Joe, who sometimes has to convince artists of this method, but at the time of Shuffletown it was a new and nervous-making approach¹ for Joe.

But this, to me, is actually a small practical outcome of it all. Joe himself said he learned that, when recording music  you're engaging something that's already in play and you're trying to abide it.¹
We are only the medium to get this art out there. It is about the songs in the first place. And these songs deserve an honest chance. And when it comes to this, what is more honest then trying to grasp that moment when the musicians play together, and how they play together ? Trying to reproduce take after take after take is not a good idea when it comes to that. That is why T Bone Burnett wanted 'Shuffletown' to be recorded on an analog 2 track, instead of a multitrack. That way he ensured that no one would be able to "fuck with it" later.¹ 

The album was released, but it left Joe without a record deal. On the positive side, Joe could start working as a production assistant for T Bone. Joe had found his mentor, and he evolved in the great producer, and musicmaker he is today.

Shuffletown is a beautiful album. Its cover presents you 2 images. A boy holding 2 pigeons next to a boy holding down another kid. White next to brown/orange... I'll let your mind shuffle with it.

But Shuffletown does really exist. It's a community that grew around 'Shuffletown Dragway'. It's actually a bit cynical that the dragway had to dissapear because people living in the community started complaining about the noise of the dragway (that originated the community).

But back to the music. Everyone familiar with T Bone and Joe's work will recognise the clear sound of all the musicians evolved in this record. I personally am most in love with the mandolin and accordion sounds nestling in my ear. But what else can you expect with such great musicians, backing Joe up. David Mansfield (Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash), Cecil McBee(Wayn Shorter, Keith Jarrett), Phil Kelly, Michael Blair(Tom Waits), Charlie Giordano(Bruce Springsteen), Don Cherry(Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins)  and T Bone Burnett.

Today, it is really nice to hear these songs so fresh on vinyl. It's been a long time since Joe has played them live, but I know his audience sometimes request them. I f.e. remember someone asking 'John Hanging' during a concert. (We didn't get to hear it by the way). It doesn't matter, I'll let Joe choose for what he feels comfortable that evening, because that's the most honest towards the song.

So yes, I do believe this album deserves the re-release on vinyl. 


1 : A life in pursuit, Lloyd Sachs

donderdag 30 augustus 2018

Producing Rhiannon Giddens

The Ghost is out of the bottle....

Photographer Laura Aurora spoke out loud, what all of us were (well I was) hoping...

"Had an amazing few days filming behind the scenes with @rhiannongiddens and @fraturrisi who have just recorded an INCREDIBLE album with @joehenrymusic producing, making magic happen."

This is some of the most exciting news concerning Joe's production work for me. Ever since 'Tomorrow is my Turn', it was verry natural for me that one day, Rhiannon would also work with Joe behind the desk. T bone Burnett is Joe's Mentor, and Rhiannon and Joe have worked together on previous occasions  (Carolina Chocolat Drops, Wexford Carols, Birds of Chicago,...)

So yes, I'm really looking forward to this one.


zaterdag 25 augustus 2018

dinsdag 21 augustus 2018

vrijdag 17 augustus 2018

Read Joe Henry's poetic words on Aretha Franklin's passing.

Yesterday, Aretha Franklin passed away. The entire world mourns, and everyone pays their respects.

I generally don't share the amazing words Joe offers in repsect of those that are hard to honour in spoken language. But this one hit me full frontal.

On his Social Media Joe wrote his goodbye. Its words are strong and beautiful, Pure poetry. The lay-out of it, even shares its beauty. This is how you honor a Queen.

RIP Aretha Franklin, and from here on, I'll offer this space to Joe's words.


I shall say up front that to approach this engagement
requires first that one sleep on rocks, drink
from shoes; become naked
and marked with bramble,
weep bitter tears:

Aretha Franklin is dead.

She not queen for a season or region
but forever and for all, as if by
Biblical prophecy;
she of the storied mountain and too
the train steaming through its most
reluctant and unforgiving chapters;

She like no river so much as the Mississippi
that has run forward and back and has
born upon its shoulders the building blocks
of our confused and bloody history
and spied from the center of rushes lauded cities
in flames ––consumed by our own
unrelenting and misshapen desires;

She of all time and none;

She the winter of ’29, the
spring of ’33 ––the fall of ’63 wherein
churches burned and pilgrims
sank before harbor;
she not only of Sam’s fierce grace and slide
but of Ray’s grim crawl, Georgia to Washington,
carrying red dirt in his cuffs
and fish sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper;

She not only of Martin but of Malcolm;

She of scrubbed hands and tired feet,
the childless and the over-run with children.

She not of industry but of mystical vision:
smokestack, sack-
cloth and ashes; thunder and
chain lightening; she of unmarked graves,
and words beyond ringing words; she of

fire and fury and breathless wonder, the gospel
according to love and loneliness and bound for
no other glory but that of she
who has been

remains ex-

actly what you

first took

be that bright

noon calling
a passing

car the

voice of

herself she



RIP Steve Lippman (Flip)

Last sunday, Steve Lippman (AKA Flip) suddenly passed away. We wish everyone close to him strenght in these difficult times.

Steve Lippman was a filmmaker. He made 2 short movies with Joe. 

- Just last month, Steve's short movie Life Saving, a Short Film in 4 Chapters with Joe Henry was presented to the audience.

- In 2003 they made a film 'Tiny Voices'.

Sleep well,
Stefan & Family


maandag 13 augustus 2018

At Lincoln Center... 'He's a serious guy'

 Embed from Getty Images

Mavis Staples throws a party for our right to fight at Lincoln Center headlines newyorkmusicdaily about last saturday's show.

Her voice has weathered over the years, but her message and presence have not. The heir to a seven-decade, politically fearless soul music legacy is as relevant today as she was in 1962, when she marched throughout the South with the family patriarch, Pops Staples, and put her life on the line.

Joe had the privilege to warm the stage for her.
He’s a very serious guy, choosing his words carefully as he addressed the crowd..... Playing acoustic guitar, using both standard and open tunings, he led his six-piece band through a breezy set of slow-to-midtempo parlor Americana ballads..... He’s the missing link between Leonard Cohen and Wilco. newyorkmusicdaily wrote about him.

 Embed from Getty Images

His set included songs like 'Hungry', Sparrow' and 'Lead me on' (Thank you Sarah for this info).

As a surprise guest, Joe welcomed Amy Helm on stage to sing 'Odetta' with him. It's also the latest single for het upcoming album 'This too shall light', produced by Joe.


vrijdag 10 augustus 2018

3 USA shows added for November

Tomorrow Joe is performing as an opening act for Mavis Staples .

Yesterday, his official website added 3 new solo concerts in November.

November 15 : City Winery, Chicago
November 16 : The Dakota Minneapolis
November 19 : The Ark Ann Arbor

For info and tickets, visit his website.

donderdag 9 augustus 2018

Songwriting Masterclass at Burren College (+ticket info on concert)

More details about Joe's concert at Burren College of Art. (October 13th) are available.  Tickets are also available as of now.

We already knew Lisa Hannigan and Glen Hansard will join the stage, but that's not all.

Joe, Lisa and Glen will lead a songwriting Masterclass that day for 25 people.
Also the concert has a limited number of seatings of 100.

You get it : no time to loose, and book your tickets.

It doesn't surprise me that the concert will be exclusive for 100 spectators, seeing the outsides of the venue....

I  hope you manage to get your tickets. Enjoy it all !

dinsdag 7 augustus 2018

Aspen Ideas Festival

Joe's lecture during the Aspen Ideas Festival is online. Enjoy it !


Earlier on we already received Joe's story on Harry Belafonte during this festival.  

Thank you David for finding it.

maandag 6 augustus 2018

Amy Helm on her new Album

In a little more than a month 'This too shall light', the new album by Amy Helm will be released. The album features musicians Doyle Bramhall II, Tyler Chester, Jen Condos, and Jay Bellerose, as well as a background vocal section consisting of Allison Russell, JT Nero, and Adam Minkoff.(source)


Amy Helm did an interview with Chronogram and naturally, one of the Subjects was this new album and working with Joe. But the article brings you up to date with her entire career. Make sure to read it !

Apparently Joe almost mixed an album for Levon Henry ! Well how about that.

...Recorded quickly and with a minimum of fuss with Grammy-winning producer and musician Joe Henry in Los Angeles, it has a looser, palpably spontaneous feel that fits its artist well. "Making this record felt liberating," Amy enthuses. "I'd already met Joe and I was a big fan of the productions he'd done for Bettye LaVette, Allen Toussaint, Susan Tedeschi, and other people, and I really wanted to work with him—when Larry Campbell and I were coproducing Dirt Farmer for my dad, we'd actually talked about having Joe mix it, but that didn't work out. So I was more than happy to surrender to his direction, and we did the new album totally live in the studio in four days, without belaboring anything. My band just threw our shit in the room and started playing, Joe set the compass from there, and it was amazing. I pulled in some songs we'd been doing, and he chose some really good ones for us to do, too."

Besides the reflective title track, which was written by MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger and Josh Kaufman (Bob Weir, Josh Ritter), This Too Shall Light's standout cuts include covers of the Milk Carton Kids' "Michigan" and, interestingly, "The Stones That I Throw (Will Free All Men)," a lost, gospel-tinged single recorded in 1965 by Levon and the Hawks during the brief period between their leaving rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins and hooking up with Bob Dylan en route to becoming the Band. "I've always really loved the whole vibe of that song," Amy says. "It's just a great, straight-up rock 'n' roll dance tune."(Chronogram)

Not mentioned in this interview is a cover of Joe's Odetta.

woensdag 1 augustus 2018

Studio version of the 'Shine a Light' songs.

Hey all,

Well, did I almost choke in my coffee this morning....

I was reading an interview in Hot Press with Gavin Glass, And there I read :

The studio he’s talking about is the rightly-famed Orphan Recordings, where he’s steered a myriad of Irish and international acts. “The Eskies, The Young Folk, The Sprockets, anyone and everyone. My favourite is probably Billy Bragg and Joe Henry. They toured America doing field recordings, Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly songs, but they couldn’t use it so they re-did the whole thing in one day in Orphan, facing each other over two microphones.

Have we all been fooled ?... I couldn't believe it !

What is it, that we are actually hearing on that album? Real field recordings? or a manipulated studio recording?  3 People can answer that question, and I asked 2 of them : Joe himself and Ryan Freeland.

I can now say, that the words in that interview are (not a little bit) misleading. Joe and Billy did indeed record all those songs again in a studio, but the versions on the 'shine a light' album are all really recorded during the trainride.

In fact, the recording in the studio happened near the end of the U.K. leg of the 'shine a light' tour.  That implies that : While Joe and Billy were recording these songs in the studio; the 'shine a light' album was already on sale for months.

So, why make these studiorecordings ?

JH :
It was recorded in case a use presents itself for the songs without the travel noise. 
If and only if....

Today, there are no specific plans on the horizon for those versions. 

Well, now I can close my eyes, finish my coffee, and imagine I'm at a railroad station. Don't you just love that background noise ? 

Edit August 2nd : 
Today, apologies have been made towards the artists, and a promise for necessary changes has been done. As for now, the article is not anymore available to everyone, only to subscribed readers. 

dinsdag 31 juli 2018

Glen Hansard joining Joe on stage

According to author Phil Hanrahan, Joe Henry will be joined on stage by Glen Hansard at his gig at Burren College of Art. (October 13th)

If this info is indeed correct, it's a wonderful favor-in-return, from Glen towards Joe. A few months ago, Joe was a guest at Glen Hansard's concert in L.A.

...And I think this is the Towerhouse...

Edit August 1th 
This info has been confirmed. Also Lisa Hannigan will be on stage during that show.

zaterdag 28 juli 2018

Mid-summer update

A Short Film in 4 Chapters

A few weeks ago Steve Lippman released his short movie : Life Saving, a Short Film in 4 Chapters with Joe Henry.

Steve Lippman also directed some videoclips, which where used as promotion for 'Thrum'. It looks like this new Short Film has also come out of these sessions.
In this wonderful poetic film, you'll find Joe, together with Levon, playing some songs from 'Thrum' plus a narrative spoken by Joe. All these combined with the wonderful images. I usually seek words to describe what art does to me, but I'm going to limit it this time to explaining that this film blends in perfectly with everything I have already thought about, experienced around, and heard from 'Thrum'.

Steve Lippman accompanies the release of this clip with some musings on the time that has passed since he met Joe. A 'Mosaic of his memory' he calls it.  Make sure to read that.

I first met and collaborated with Joe Henry in the autumn of 2003, directing a short experimental film, Tiny Voices, featuring music from his album of the same name and fragments of hard-boiled monologues Joe wrote and spoke....continue reading.

Circling around this clip we discover two things to look forward to : In his musings, Steve Lippman writes :   "He(Joe) became part of the creative team of an ambitious project of mine not yet made."
And also : Joe's son, Levon. informs us that "Joe will be more publicly poem-ing in the near future..."(source : Facebook)

Ireland Performances


In the beginning of the month, I already discovered that Joe was performing a show in Ireland. That turned out to be just 1 date out of 5. Info and tickets about these dates you'll find on Joe's official pages.

I remain tempted to cross the waters over there, but it's a period for me that looks like it will not offer any time for such a luxury. But I'll keep that door open.

Apart from these 2 items there is not a lot of news to tell. The only thing that you can discover regarding possible productional projects, is a reply from Ryan Freeland to Joe on FB saying : "I'm all yours in 2 weeks". 

Greetings to all,

donderdag 5 juli 2018

Performance in Ireland

1 more before we leave for the holidays.

According to http://bluegrassireland.blogspot.com/ Joe will be performing on september 15th at Leap Castle in Ireland.

Veteran promoter Tom Stapleton sends this message to all patrons of his shows at Leap Castle (above), Co. Offaly, between Birr and Roscrea, Co. Tipperary:

Lucy and myself thank you for support and interest in Leap Castle gigs and hope you continue to enjoy them. We are taking a break for the summer and will return with the great Joe Henry 15 Sept. Have a lovely summer.

Enjoy the Holidays,
I'll be back in a few weeks.

zondag 24 juni 2018

Producing Rising Appalachia

Joe has spent his time at Stinston Beach SF, taking again the producer's seat. This time for Rising Appalachia

Led by the collective voice of sisters Leah and Chloe, and joined by their beloved band – percussionist Biko Casini and bassist/guitarist David Brown – Rising Appalachia is a melting pot of folk music simplicity, textured songwriting, and those bloodline harmonies that only siblings can pull off.
They bring to the stage a collection of sounds, stories, and songs steeped in tradition and a devotion to world culture. Intertwining a deep reverence for folk music and a passion for justice, they have made it their life’s work to sing songs that speak to something ancient yet surging with relevance. Whether playing at Red Rocks or in rail cars, at Italian street fairs or to Bulgarian herbalists, this fiercely independent band has blazed a unique and colorful path across the globe. 11 years into their movement, Rising Appalachia believes that the roots of all these old songs are vital to our ever evolving soundscape.

Here are some words from Rising Appalachia about this recording : 

There is no one we could have been more thankful for or inspired to work alongside. He listened to every take with cunning ear, sat through over 70 hours of live tracking, called forth the absolute finest in each of us, made room for the muses, & just generally held the role of “mystic” in the BIG seat of “producer” (NOT an easy task to combine those roles. Nor are we an easy band, full of our own headstrong madness and prowess!). And PLUS he out-dressed all of us for a whole week

We were cautious, nervous, unsure if we would feel like we “sold out” to an industry we have, by design, resisted. We courted the process slowly, and up until the last second we were skeptical about what this person would actually DO to our rustic, raw, and rebellious sound.
We were not an easy sell.

Joseph Lee Henry, a hat tipped off to you & a deep bow. You wrangled perhaps the most beautiful work out of us up to date & we incredibly inspired by the process you evoked. 

It took us many many MANY years to welcome another soul into our creative process. 13 to be exact exact...13 years where Chloe and I have conceptualized, produced, mixed, mastered, arranged, designed, tracked & touched EVERY single step of our recordings. We have taken deep pride in that laborious and mired process; the intense love & labor of birthing new work into the world. This time we opened our doors tentatively to a “producer”... a big wig in the studio with us. An outside ear to help guide and steer our song-babies. We were cautious, nervous, unsure if we would feel like we “sold out” to an industry we have, by design, resisted. We courted the process slowly, and up until the last second we were skeptical about what this person would actually DO to our rustic, raw, and rebellious sound. We were not an easy sell. 👁 👁 👁 Meet Joe Henry: in fact a legend, a true genius at his craft, some strange combo of John O’Donhue, Duke Ellington, Rasputin, & Tom Waits...with the soul of Billy Holiday & the eye of Frank Sinatra. He is an actual wizard! There is no one we could have been more thankful for or inspired to work alongside. He listened to every take with cunning ear, sat through over 70 hours of live tracking, called forth the absolute finest in each of us, made room for the muses, & just generally held the role of “mystic” in the BIG seat of “producer” (NOT an easy task to combine those roles. Nor are we an easy band, full of our own headstrong madness and prowess!). And PLUS he out-dressed all of us for a whole week 🎩 Joseph Lee Henry, a hat tipped off to you & a deep bow. You wrangled perhaps the most beautiful work out of us up to date & we incredibly inspired by the process you evoked. Glad to be joining your ranks of greatness alongside : TBone Burnett, Joan Baez, Solomon Burke, Bonnie Rait, Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville, Meshell Ndegeocello, Salif Keita, Ani Difranco, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Madonna, Rambling Jack Elliot, Betty Levette, Liz Wright, and so many other proud musicians who have called you into their process. You are a wild legend. @joehenrymusic #risingappalachia #newalbumintheworks #joehenry
Een bericht gedeeld door Rising Appalachia (@risingappalachia) op

vrijdag 22 juni 2018

This too shall Light

Rolling Stone has more info on the Upcoming Amy Helm album.

It will be entitled 'This too shall light', and it will be released on September 21st.

The album will  feature originals alongside covers of songs by T Bone Burnett, Allen Toussaint, Blossom Dearie, Rod Stewart and even her late great dad Levon Helm's old group the Band.

'Recording took four days in L.A. , with no vocal overdubs and two takes or less on almost every song. To keep things fresh, Henry even went so far as asking Helm not to get to know the songs too well before the recording.'

"He (JH) did not want me to get too familiar with them," Helm says. "He wanted it to be undiscovered, and he had a very specific thing he wanted us to emulate – Delaney & Bonnie's album Motel Shot, which is very loose and live. That was our true North."

Listen to the title track:


woensdag 6 juni 2018

A few new live dates solo.

Joe announced 3 new solo performance dates : 12, 13, 14 July in Seatle, Portland and San Fransisco.

Check his website !

update 14 June.
Joe + band will be the supporting act for Mavis Staples during Americana Fest NYC on August 11th.
This is a free event. Seating is first come, first served, and gates open one hour prior to the performance.

vrijdag 1 juni 2018

Big Ears Knoxville (Book project)

Exciting News !

Photograher Kate Joyce is working on a photobook with photo's made during the Big Ears festival 2014-2018.

The book will consist of approximately 90 photographs, a download card with a selection of audio recordings from performances at Big Ears between 2014-2018, and essays by Rachel Grimes and Joe Henry.

The photographs were made under the influence of music. The book is a distinct visual experience that developed out of, and exists precisely because of, Big Ears.

More than 200 artists and bands have performed Big Ears between 2014-2018. During the five years that I traveled to Knoxville for Big Ears, I photographed some of the people on this list, but not nearly all of them. Of those I photographed, just a few will be in this book. I heard many of the performances, many were memorable and a few were life changing. I photographed during some of these performances, but most of them were un-photographable (better heard than seen). Sometimes I only photographed a sound check or rehearsal.

During my time at Big Ears, I also walked around Knoxville, leaving the theaters and clubs to make pictures on the streets. As I wandered, my mind remained tethered to the musical event.(Kate Joyce)

Find all the info on her website : https://www.kate-joyce.com/big-ears-knoxville-2018

In 2016, Joe Henry performed at the Big Ears Festival together with Marc Ribot.  

woensdag 23 mei 2018

Joan Baez, Brussels. 21 May 2018

When Joan Baez made her breakthrough, and became one of the important people in music, I wasn’t even  born yet. As a matter of fact, by the time I was 10, There was already a 2nd autobiography. Yep,  I’m just a 41 year old kiddo.  Off course, over the years you learn about her, what she stands for, and how important she is, and so there I sat Monday evening in Brussels BOZAR to see her perform. Unlike the most of the audience, I didn’t have a long history with her Music, or some kind of nostalgia. But if there is 1 thing the evening has proven, it is that you don’t need that history to enjoy her show.
At 77 (you read that correctly) she can sing beautifully, her guitar playing is so clear and she stands on that stage with strength, integrity and grace. A lot of today’s and tomorrow’s popular acts can only humbly bow in respect for that. If you see her perform, you understand why she is the legend, why she is that statue she became.

Joan entered the stage on her own for a few songs in a ‘Woman and guitar’ style. After a few songs she got backed up by, what she called, her Big Band consisting of Dirk Powell on strings and Piano and her son Gabriel on Percussion. She embraced her audience with warmth, and even put herself in a more difficult situation by trying to address the audience regularly in French. She sometimes had to think and search for her words, but it showed us how comfortable she is on stage. Most artists wouldn’t dare to do that, I’m sure. The audience appreciated this big time, and the first time they heard here speak French, it was welcomed with a big applause. It even got better when a music stand was brought on stage, and she asked us to wish her luck. And then she gave us a wonderful version of George Brassens’s 'Chanson pour L’Auvergnat’. A song dedicated to people who help out those who are treated as outcasts.

But it wasn’t over with baffling us in understanding our culture of French Chansons. As a matter of fact, it seems it baffled her as well. Near the end of show, during a 1th (of 3) encores, she started singing ‘Le temps des cerises’, a song dating back to 1866 written by Jean Baptiste Clément. She didn’t say what she was going to sing, she simply asked us to help her out. When she sang the first few words, she literally had to step back 2 steps to take in the overwhelming sound of a sold-out Bozar singing along immediately.  It was no surprise to me that something like that would happen. If I want my mother to sing a long with something, I just have to put on this song, and she’ll start singing it from th heart. This is part of our cultural Heritage. The song was inspired by a trip of Clément in Flanders and coming across a house surrounded by cherry trees. It was a controversial song at the time, since it was also interpreted as a metaphor for the ongoing Revolution happening in Paris at the time.

Quand nous chanterons le temps des cerises
Et gai rossignol et merle moqueur
Seront tous en fête 
(When we sing of cherry time
and the happy nightingale and the mockingbird/mocking blackbird
all be celebrating)

Monday evening was an evening full of old songs and new songs from her latest album. We received a wonderful ‘The President sang Amazing Grace’, and an impressive ‘Whistle down the wind’. I say impressive, because since I heard Joan Baez do this, I identify this song completely with her. As if T. Waits wrote it for her, before he even knew it. Those who know me personally, understand this is a big thing for me to say.
From the latest album, the song ‘Another World’ originally from ANOHI, proved how songs still can grow after they have been recorded. In resemblance with the album version, this was a much stronger performance. The soundman put a reverb on the microphone, so you’d litteraly could hear the words disappearing. (Or where that reflections coming from the acoustics of the room ? I was sitting under a balcony.) Anyway, it fits perfectly with this song. “I need another world, this one’s nearly gone" she sings. It’s a song originally about taking care of this earth, because we are destroying it. But when someone sings it at this moment in a life, it easily becomes a song about mortality.
Diamonds and Rust’, a song about her relationship with Bob Dylan was performed as a duet with a fantastic strong voice by Grace Stumberg. The lighting was set, so that we could see 2 huge shadows in the back. It was like the song was sung by 2 ghosts from the past. It only strengthened the already strong version of this song. At a moment Joan started laughing out loud, and explained the need to change the lyrics from ‘10 years ago’ to ‘50 years ago’.
The entire show was build up with strong performances of the songs, very early on we received 'Deportee (Planewreck at Los Gatos)' (Guthrie) A song about deported Mexicans, who’s plane never made it to Mexico. They had no names, they where just called Deportees. It got the house quiet, and I must admit, when it was done I kept myself from standing up to applaud for it. It’s a song from 70 years ago, but still so relevant. Especially over here, where we live in a hardened atmosphere against refugees. A couple of days ago a van full of refugees, was shot by the police. A 2 year old child died…..

“They where only refugees”

This is an atmosphere that hangs in the air with a big part of the population around here, and it angers and frightens me. I guess it also did with a lot of others in the audience. Only for that song already I thank you Joan Baez.

'Imagine' from John Lennon, was the first encore and became a sing a long. A few more songs to go  and then she came back a last time and signalled us she needed to go to sleep and so did we. 

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living in peace

There are so man reasons to thank her for this concert. Everyone will have their reason. It is clear now, that no matter if you’re old or young, this is a must see concert. So go out and enjoy her music live while you can. Because this is her :

Fare thee well tour.


Setlist : 
There but Fortune / God is God / Farewell, Angelina / Whistle Down the Wind / Silver blade / It’s all over now, Baby Blue / Deportee (Planewreck at Los Gatos) / The things that we are made of / Diamonds & Rust /  Me and Bobby McGee / Another World / Chanson pour l’Auvergnat / The President sang Amazing Grace / Joe Hill / Seven Curses / Silver Dagger / The House of the Rising Sun // Imagine / Le Temps des cerises // The Boxer // Swing Low Chariot

zaterdag 19 mei 2018

'Love in Wartime' : what it does to me

In my last post about this album I didn’t give you a huge description of this album. You had to discover it yourself.

I wrote that after I went to see Birds of Chicago in Den Bosch. That’s where I purchased the album, and I listened to it a lot since then. You still must discover the album yourself, but I want to give you here my personal reception of this album. What it means to me.

The title of the album ‘Love in Wartime’ is a very accurate choice for a title, and after you have heard the title track, there is no way that love didn’t reach you. It is such a warm song. The album is also full of musically strong songs. 'Lodestar', for example, has a wonderful build up, and 'Baton Rouge' is a worthy praise of this city. It’s a place full of history and art, but at the same time it has its social difficulties to deal with. When you get to see BOC, this is 1 of those songs that will lift you up. It will make you start to dance and dream. Hearing this song live, is going to be one of your long-lasting memories.

The album’s first words are making sure you understand what you are going to receive in this album. In a nice up-tempo 'Never go back' we are urged to act now, and start to love. 
“I’ve come here today
To give you the news
There’s time for it all
But no time to lose”
So let's get on with that. 

'Try' is 1 of those songs that show us what great singers BOC are. It sounds like a profoundly cry-out to ask us to find that lost spark in ourselves. That spark that gave us the energy to fulfill our dreams. Dreams of a better world. Somehow down the road we gave up on that.
"I don’t think that I can carry
This heavy load all on my own
But man if you’re still in game
You and I can carve our names
In hidden caves and giant oaks"

Vocally, Musically and lyrically they touch you when you hear it, and I’m sure we all can see that spark after hearing this song. Do we answer it, or do we ignore it ?  There are so many people I personally like to address this song to.

"you used to swim against the tide
Now you use your intelligence to justify giving in"

'Roisin Starchild' is maybe my favorite song of the album. First of all it’s another example of what a great singer Allison is. But even more important is the notion that I can’t think of another song that is so heartbreaking and at the same time extremely hope-giving. How do you do that ? It’s a gift if you can write and sing like that. There is not 1 time I listened to it, without becoming a little emotional.

And then we end at the core of this album. ‘We need a superlover’. And we all can be that. The song gently rocks you like a little baby. But it doesn’t rock you asleep. It rocks you into a ………

 you know the answer.