Life in Music inspired by Joe Henry

zondag 25 februari 2018

Hear Joan Baez's new album and songs

On March 2nd Joan Baez's new album, produced by Joe, will be released. 

NPR has 'Whistle down the wind' as a pre-listen. So make sure to go over there.
I'll offer you Joan in the studio of France Inter, bringing us 'The President sang Amazing Grace' and 'Last Leaf'.

Buy this album :  http://www.joanbaez.com/.

dinsdag 13 februari 2018

European 'Thrum' tour round-up

It was an exciting experience to see and hear.  

Well, that's a wrap... 
Joe travelled through Europe for almost 2 weeks, and gave every audience a wonderful evening.

Before starting the shows, Joe was a guest at the UK, Americana 2018 Conference. He had an extensive interview with Bob Harris, in the series 'In Conversation with'.

Thank you again to Bob Harris for the ‘in Conversation’ event. Every year we end with an in-depth conversation between Bob and a member of the Americana community. This year it was renowned artist and producer, Joe Henry, and was once again it was a triumph – really special and varied conversation that had the whole room captivated on topics from US politics to secrets of the trade. It was so compelling and flew by, a really brilliant way to end the conference.(source)

The reactions of audiences, everywhere where very warm. In Hamburg it even seems it was a little too hot. I found this review : (freely translated)

...Actually it is not fair to criticize a concert that is performed musically at such a high level and goes on for so long. But it was not perfect. To begin with, Prinzenbar burst out of its seams. With more than 200 visitors it was not only sold out, but unfortunately a little too full. People stood on the stairs and in every small column of the room. This was not only at cost of the oxygen quality, but also the general feeling : Many fans could not even see their star.
On the other hand, Joe Henry somehow embraced the respect for the unapproachable during the concert. at the same time the singer also talked more than once about what he had thought of which song. Henry's aura was friendly but strangely far away. It would have been nice if there had been more seats. Because Joe Henry's, sometimes sizable, but always melancholic folk songs invite you to hug eachother and not to dance. 
But hey, All this is complaining at the highest level ...

I went to see him in Brussels, and wrote the following :

As mentioned before : The Bremen concert has been recorded for a radiobroadcast. The airing date for it is not yet set. But according to setlist.fm this is what we can expect:

Trampoline / Lead me on / After the War / Climb / Believer / Now and Never / Sold / Odetta / Our Song / God only knows / Grave Angels / Short man's room / Hungry / Keep us in song / Eyes out for You /// Love is Enough / For the Good Times

Almost every evening he made small adjustements to his setlist, but it gives you a general idea of what Joe offered us over here.

And on the last evening in Dublin, everyone was treated by Lisa Hannigan who sang along on 'Lead me on'. 


donderdag 8 februari 2018

Rockwood Music Hall recording

On the 11th of December, 2017 Joe and Levon played a set at Rockwood Music Hall.

You can stream the show at WfUV.org .

setlist :

Lead Me On
Our Song
Eyes Out For You
God Only Knows
Keep Us In Song

Joe Henry

Thank you Carmel Holt

dinsdag 6 februari 2018

Ancienne Belgique, Brussels February 5, 2018

Travelling through Europe, while there are temperatures way too low for my personal liking, Joe made his stop at Ancienne Belgique Brussels and warmed us all up again.  It was a small, but attentive crowd. The only one who wasn’t paying attention was a fly circling around Joe. “I don’t want to kill him in front of you, he could be this place’s mascot.”
Someone asked how he knew it was a ‘him’. “Women aren’t so mean” he replied. 

Although he is touring with a new album ‘Thrum’ in the window, he dug in his catalogue ranging all the way back to 'Short man’s room'. Apart from the Thrum songs, I have already heard him perform these songs before, but without exaggerating, never with this kind of energy. While I have these songs in my head with some softness, yesterday they seemed to be stripped from that particular element.

It was like each song wanted to tell us for itself: “Make no mistake: This is what I’m about !”
- "Don’t just love, but love with all you got !"
- "If you have to say goodbye, do it with every grain of emotion you have !"
- "If you want to seduce me, well then pull open the entire register !"

Introducing ‘Hungry’, Joe explained that we all must be Hungry in this world, and the way these songs where performed yesterday, was with an urgency, A hunger, I’ve never seen Joe do before. Even in his movements it seemed sometimes he was squeezing and shaking it all out of that guitar.

It was impossible not to be actively involved as a listener. During ‘Lead me on’ and ‘Sold’ I was so absorbed, I even forgot for a moment I was sitting in a physical space.

Perhaps some of you also missed exit turns once, when listening to music while driving a car...  In that case, you know what I mean.

Speaking of ‘Sold’ (which was next to ‘our song’ my highlight of the evening), the urgency that that performance had, is something I hope you can all witness someday. Being sold… no longer fighting, but accepting things, gives me (maybe you also) a strange mix of emotions ranging from fear of the unknown, helplessness, but also some kind of relief because you don't have to put a barrier anymore. It was all in there.

‘Our Song’, performed on Piano, was presented to us as his ‘personal state of the union’. I got the impression Joe constantly had the state of his country, and his personal dealing with it, in mind while singing it.

this was my country
This was my song
Somewhere in the middle there
Though it started badly and it's ending wrong

Well, this was God's country
This frightful and this angry land
But if it's his will, the worst of it might still
Somehow make me a better man

His Piano playing gave away the strength of emotions in there, and by times I was happy not to be one of the keys.  I’ve never heard him do it like that. It was an exciting experience to see and hear.

Joe, I even think you can go further in this. Insert a jazz-improvisation solo in it maybe. I can even picture you banging it at it’s climax, and then with a click just turn it down again. Yes, I’ll be looking forward to something like that.


Those of you interested in my musings on Thrum, read them over here.