Life in Music inspired by Joe Henry

zondag 15 december 2019

The drop, a few images

On december 12, Joe spoke and performed at the Grammy Museum in L.A. 

Enjoy some images of that event.

Embed from Getty Images

zaterdag 14 december 2019

A year in Music : a playlist

I assembled a list of music that sounded through my year. So if you don't know what to put on, maybe this is something to get you started.

  • Off Course there is Joe's music, and projects he was involved with. (Rhiannon Giddens, Doug Seegers, ...)
  • We've lost a lot of artists this year. Joao Gilberto, Dr. John,... but mostly Larry Taylor got to me. 
  • When I drive home at night, there is a big chance you'll hear classical music and Jazz in the car. 
  • and so much more...

I hope you'll enjoy it, and maybe be inspired by it.


donderdag 12 december 2019

'The Fact of Love' in NY Times' top10 songs of the year.

The New York Times has released its 54 Best songs of 2019. 

On Lucky n° 7 we find 'The Fact of Love' from Joe's latest album : The Gospel According to Water.

The NY Times wrote about this song :
His lyrics are full of perfectly enigmatic quatrains, like the opening verse of a song on the new album, “The Fact of Love”: “My eyes are closed but they are raised/Keeping light both out and in/I will walk this river, dazed/Without a trace that I have been.”

Jason Isbell presented us this song as : Beautifully performed and recorded. Really interesting guitar playing and a smart and tender lyric. 

It's wonderful to see Joe's work so appreciated ! You deserve this, and so much more !

The top 10 :
1. Lizzo : 'Cuz I love you'
2. FKA Twigs : 'Cellophane'
3. Burna Boy : 'Anybody'
4. Tame Impala : 'It might be Time'
5. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds : 'Bright Horses'
6. Angel Olsen : 'Lark'
7. Joe Henry : 'The Fact of Love'
8.  Khalid : 'Talk'
9. Clairo : 'Bags'
10. Angelica Garcia : 'Jícama'

dinsdag 10 december 2019

'There is no other' concert in Belgium (And the fragility of it all)

Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi made an incredible album entitled 'There is no Other'. It was produced by Joe. 

Last weekend the 'There is no other' Tour came to Belgium. It will not surprise you, it was a concert I couldn't miss.

I have seen Rhiannon play a few times over the last few years, and it was again a joy to hear her sing, and see her perform. It was, as always, a privilege to enjoy her music, her storytelling, her wisdom, Grace and joy. Off course this time, I got to see and hear Francesco Turrisi also perform live. The fact that he is an incredible musician is already documented on their (and other) album(s). It is even more incredible to see him perform. You'll never find the Tambourine a simple instrument to play after you've seen this. (And I think Freddy Mercury is verry proud a 'Queen' song made it in to the set).
But besides that, we also got to know Francesco Turrisi, the Entertainer. It was wonderful to hear his stories and funny anecdotes. And Yes! I do hope that projector will be arranged next time you come over. (Just kidding of course).

Jason Sypher exquisitely completed them on Upright Bass. Like Rhiannon told us : "It is not easy to explain a trio in a duo-show".

Anyway, Rhiannon advised us, for our own good health, to take a walk during intermission towards the merchandise table, and off course I'm a good boy...

In my albumreview I wrote about seeing and hearing those songs in a more 'formal' enviroment. Yes, I did got to sit in a soft red seat, and I really had all those lovely people around me. But then the path of reality and fantasy took different directions. And it was a wonderful reality we received. But that evening, that reality, also displayed for me once again, the fragility of live performances. (Whether it is music, dance, theater, .... ).
I deliberately say 'for me', because these are all thoughts that go through my mind. So, it's OK if I've lost you from here on in this post.

The music we received on sundayevening can not be ordened in a specific box. Like Rhiannon also explained us, they try (and succeed) to blend so many forms of music. Not only Popular, but also f.e. Opera and so on.
I'm sure, for an artist, it is important to surround that Art with all those same intentions. Just like trying to give the right surroundings to your children.

And then you go on tour...

You step in to a van, and a part of your Art becomes dependent on the circumstances of the places you visit. Take for example a Chef who spreads his own reccipe around the world, but the final spices are left open to choose by whomever cooks the dish.
It is only those, who truly understand the recipe, and the intentions of the Chef that will choose the perfect spices. That will make the difference between receiving that great meal, and receiving, as if it was cooked in heaven.
I don't think we (I speak in name of my Country) could offer the circumstances to Rhiannon, Francesco and Jason that emphasised their Art on sunday. I'll leave the details of that for when we can talk in real life, but subtleness is not helped with standard services.

To worsen it all : After the break, 2 loud feedbacks occured through the monitor, within 2 minutes. Just when Francesco started playing the piano, a loud noise shot out of his monitor. For us, it was even loud! How it must have been for him, sitting only 1,5m away from it.... He literally jumped 2 meters back. As if he felt the need to justify his reaction towards the audience, he explained how dangerous that can be for your hearing. But Francesco : "There was no need to explain it. It is indeed dangerous."
(It is only fair to mention that I am working almost my entire professional career now, on the technical side of entertainement, so I have the advantage of that extra knowledge, in comparison to the bigger part of the audience.)

Naturally, when this happen to you, as a musician, you are thrown out of balance. You have to regain your trust in the equipment around you, and the people handling it. It affects your performance. But also the audience itself feels it. We all know technical stuff can provide technical issues, but suddenly we are verry aware of it, and it takes a while to forget about the practical side of shows again. The atmosphere in the room has to be rebuild again...

That's why I think, 'I'm on my way' didn't have the power it can have.
That's why I think we didn't spontaneously jump up, clap our hands, and sing along with the last song.

It is all so fragile.....

Rhiannon, Francesco and Jason : "Don't let it come to your hearts. I am looking forward to seeing you again. You are one of the best !"

With Love,

donderdag 21 november 2019

The Drop at the Grammy museum L.A.

Joe will be returning to 'The Drop' at the Grammy Museum in L.A. on December 12. Tickets are on pre-sale for American Express card holders today.

Regular sales starts at November 23.

Get your tickets !

The last time Joe was a guest for 'The drop' was in 2014.

First Tourdates announced

Keep an eye on Joe's official website. Today 3 dates for solo shows were announced. I assume there will be more coming up.  (Well, at least I hope so).

Feb 20, 2020 / Minneapolis, MN @ The Dakota
Feb 22, 2020 / Chicago, IL @ Old Town School of Folk
Feb 23, 2020 / Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark

woensdag 20 november 2019

Grammy nomination for Rhiannon and Francesco

'I'm on my way', from the album 'There is no Other' is nominated for the grammy Best Americana Roots Performance. 

Not only did Joe produce the album, but he also wrote this song.

The other nominees are :

SAINT HONESTY by Sara Bareilles
FATHER MOUNTAIN by Calexico And Iron & Wine
CALL MY NAME by I'm With Her

On January 26th we will find out who the winner is. 
good luck !

vrijdag 15 november 2019

The Gospel According to Water : Out today

It is hard for me to write about this album, because everything this album does to me, is almost impossible to write in words. Joe has found music to do it, so it is more important to listen to him, than to me.

There is no sound left in these walls,
the hallowed ground and long ago heard it all––
of spirits’ rise, of spirits flown,
just like the one that once I called my own

I remember clearly the moment when I heard of Joe's Cancer-diagnosis. I remember being lost for a while, and simply staring out of the window,... . Famine Walk, the openingtrack of this album, displays perfectly, in music, in sound, in words... how I sat there. It could have been the soundtrack for the mood I was in.

The album was first announced with the single 'Bloom'. This wonderful song was accompanied by a strong videoclip. The camera filming Joe in 1 shot, Close on his face. In an age where we are used to videoclips with an average shotlength under 1 second, we receive here a clip that challenges us as an audience. It is no free toy you get with your fast-food. It demands of you to be engaged, And if you are, you will discover that it can be, not only for Joe, but maybe even more for yourself, a confronting experience. Slowely you flow deeper in to the core of it all.

You look and listen
      You see and hear
            You think and feel

I find, If you embrace it, a wonderful experience. It is poetry !

I expanded my definition of poetry, and see Poetry for Everyone. It is more to me than rhymes and difficult words. Everything that can make me aware of the essence of things, I see as poetry. It makes me Feel.

It could be in the written word or the visual image.
             It could also be in the way words are spoken or sung. 
                           Maybe you hear it in Music ?

Sometimes the unexplainable ... is perfect ... is poetry....

Without naming it that, we all can witness it. It can be everywhere. Sometimes it is just a flicker of a second where everything around me made sense, and I genuinly felt that moment happen.

That is why I can't write about this album.Who am I to give directions? It is your journey, Live it !

This album will strike different strings for everyone, but be sure : 'It will !'  I am sometimes struck by lyrics, then by music, or the whole. Then, suddenly, on 'In Time for Tomorrow' I hear Birds of Chicago sing the backgound gospel, and I'm genuinly moved to tears. It is probably 1 of the most beautiful songs I've heard over a long time. Such beauty needs to be shared.

This album takes me on an emotional journey, that moves like water.

This album makes you feel. It is poetry.  Poetry for everyone !

Much Love,

maandag 4 november 2019

the Path to 'The Gospel according to water'

Yesterday,  Rosanne Cash presented us 'Famine Walk' . A first track of Joe's upcoming album 'The Gospel according to water'.


Today we received the title track via Lucinda Williams.


We received a song each day, for 2 days now. We have 11 more songs to go,... 11 more days until the album is released.  I'm sure we are being guided. Follow the path, which is lightened each day further by Joe's friends to help us in the right direction...

Enjoy the Journey,... be surprised, warmed and loved....

Love, smile, cry,.... LIVE !

Much Warmth,

woensdag 9 oktober 2019

Joe's 115th Dream at Big Ears Knoxville

Well the last I heard of Arab he was stuck on the side of a whale
That was married to the deputy sheriff of the jail

During Big Ears festival in Knoxville (26/03 - 29/03) next spring, Joe will follow Bob Dylan's world and bring us his own 115th Dream.

The 115th dream is a song by Dylan in which we follow a surreal dream about a sailor in service of 'Captain Arab' . The (also) satirical song takes us on a voyage through America, with references such as Moby Dick, the discovery of America,...

115th Dream from takefive on Vimeo.

Knowing this, that evening could go all directions, but if it will be as fun as Bob's lyrics, you will have a great night !

Big Ears itself states it has asked Joe to put together a Dream band. Joe assembled his band and he wil be performing with Jason Moran, Marc Ribot, Jay Bellerose, David Piltch and Levon henry.

Joe names it his 115th Dream... I'll leave you with your own conclusions for that one...

The exact date of Joe's show has not been anounced yet, but I assume it will be in the beginning of the festival, since Jason Moran (according to his itineray) is playing over here in Belgium  March 29.

The last time Joe played at Big Ears was also together with Marc Ribot. Joe also wrote an essay for a photobook on the festival. A book made by Kate Joyce. I ordered it last year. It's a must have if you love music, festivals and photography, even if you've never been specifically to Big Ears (like me).

Anyway, I already love the idea : bring it to Europe !

zaterdag 28 september 2019

The Gospel according to Water

I guess those, who know already the way to my writings over here, already received the exciting news a few days ago. Don't worry; I did to, but Time is a lion.... So only now, I can sit and write.

Joe has officially announced a new album entitled 'The Gospel according to Water', to be released on November 15th. 

Dit bericht bekijken op Instagram

COME NOVEMBER Announcing a new album: The Gospel According To Water Come 15 November, I will be releasing a new album ––my 15th studio offering as a solo act. The album is called The Gospel According To Water. It was recorded over two days this past June ––and fairly blind-sided me, when I thought I was merely making reference demos of thirteen new songs ahead of forgetting them. All but two of these songs were written between Valentines and Fathers Days; all having flowered from the black earth of recent experience ––namely a cancer diagnosis late last fall that left me reeling ––though, as well, set into motion many wild blessings and positive shifts in my life, along with an unprecedented songwriting flurry. With only a handful of friends playing in support, I entered the studio and tore through these songs with determination and joyful abandon, then went home. I had let nothing clutter or distract me from their essential and true heart; and upon waking the morning after, I understood that something significantly more had transpired ––that the songs as articulated had sparked an ember that somehow remained bright and alive before me, moving beyond my expectations. I unexpectedly heard the songs as complete, and vividly so; and knew that the casual circumstances had not limited my expression but in fact liberated me from the cloying aim for posterity that can make weighty any session, and landed me instead in a place both unencumbered by the past and unattached to futures. Though they have all grown out of darkness, I don’t believe any of these songs themselves to be “dark” in nature, nor about the circumstance that prompted their discovery. In them, I hear the re-accessing of my imagination and its greater invitation; hear deep gratitude, and a compassion toward self that I don’t always possess; an optimism I did not know I’d allowed to flourish. These recordings are raw and wirey and spare because the songs insisted they be. But I believe them to be as wholly realized ––as “produced” as anything I’ve touched, as well as being deeply and fundamentally romantic: in love with life, even when that life founders and threatens to disappear; lustfully a
Een bericht gedeeld door Joe Henry (@joehenrymusic) op

A first single has also been released

Bloom : a beautiful song about when we are faced with a new reality, and seeing it as such. for Joe facing a cancer diagnosis last year.  "To carry on from here...."
(on a side note : The intro reminds me a lot of  'Lead me on' .)
I am deeply moved and humble seeing how Joe faced his new reality. With such Grace, strenght and humanity.

On Joe's official website you can pre-order the album in various formats. If you place your order before November 1st, it will be a signed copie. So Joe : start exercising your hands and wrists !

But that's not all : You can also buy a few signed photoprints made by  Jacob Blickenstaff  during Joe's concert in L.A. last July. (I have my favorite picture, not simply for Joe, but more for its total esthetics. A true artits you are, Mr Blickenstaff).

And off course : A new album, new songs,... they long to be performed live. So on the day of release (November 15th) you can hear Joe at Largo at the Coronet, L.A. performing these songs,.. And I'm sure many more.

Some more details : 

tracklist : 

Famine Walk
The Gospel According To Water
Orson Welles
Green Of The Afternoon
In Time For Tomorrow (Funeral For Sorrow)
The Fact Of Love
Book Of Common Prayer
Gates Of Prayer Cemetery #2
Salt And Sugar
General Tzu Names The Planets For His Children
Choir Boy

Musicians :  
Joe Henry – vocals, acoustic and electric guitar
Levon Henry – tenor saxophone and Bb clarinet
John Smith – acoustic guitar
Patrick Warren – upright piano and additional keys
Special guests: David Piltch – electric bass / Allison Russell and JT Nero (Birds of Chicago) – backing vocals

I truly am looking forward to this new album. Maybe more then ever, learning the backgroundstory of how this album came to be.

Humbly I greet you,
Much love, and more than Ever...

dinsdag 17 september 2019

AmericanaFest award show 2019

Joe was one of the many musicians (Brandi Carlile, Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, I’m With Her, Delbert McClinton, Lori McKenna, Maria Muldaur, John Prine, Amanda Shires and Mavis Staples, along with present-day buzz generators Jade Bird, Mark Erelli, Ruston Kelly, J.S. Ondara, Our Native Daughters, Erin Rae, The War and Treaty, Yola...) during this years Americana award show.

He performed, in Duet with Rodney Crowell, 'Girl from the North Country'. At the end of the show he participated in an 'all-artist' sing-along of  'I'll fly away' 

The award show will be broadcasted on November 23rd as an episode of Austin City Limits on PBS.

woensdag 21 augustus 2019

Anna Tivel discussing Joe Henry's Civilians

Episode 52 of RecordsRevisitedPodcast discussed Joe's Civilians.

The guys (Ben and Wayne) are joined by singer songwriter Anna Tivel to discuss "Civilians" by Joe Henry. Plenty of other discussion like Voodoo Donuts, Fluff and Gravy, Minneapolis, Americana Festival, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Mays, Bonnie Raitt, and trying to decipher Joe's lyrics. 

Song by song Ben, Wayne and Anna discuss Joe's music and lyrics. I was curious for the discussion, especially when I heard Ben didn't connect to Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones.!? (I mean, Really ?)   
During the podcast they give a score to each song, which  creates a top 5 from these 3 people at the end of the episode. I'm personally not into giving scores to songs. How one responds to songs is a verry personal thing. In the podcast, they also admit sometimes : "I love it more, then my score shows." or "I feel bad about my score.". That makes it even more strange for me. But that's me.... 
Don't let that hold you back for reliving this album.

1 of the discussion was about "3 dogs at a party on a boat at night"... About that :

Allthough the discussion only starts after approx. 30 minutes, make sure to listen from the beginning. You will get to know Anna Tivel and her work. 


zondag 18 augustus 2019

6 September Largo at the coronet

On september 6th Joe will be performing (again) in Largo at the coronet (L.A.).

Allthough, on his official website, it is placed under Solo Performances, we received word that this will not be the case.

Joe announced through Social Media an entire band line up.

Those of you who will be going will get on their plate (besides Joe) : Patrick Warren, David Piltch, Levon Henry, John Smith and.... 'another guest too tall to mention'.

Patrick, David and Levon are regulars in Joe's band, and also John is no stranger when it comes to performing with Joe.
John toured with Joe Henry and Lisa Hannigan in 2012. In 2013 I have seen them on stage in Dublin (together with Gavin Glass, Ross Turner and Lisa Hannigan) and over the following I am in doubt, but I think John also performed with Joe when opening for Mavis Staples last year? You will need to correct me if I am wrong in that last one.

John Smith, Joe Henry and Lisa Hannigan

And about that tall person.... We'll see.


dinsdag 9 juli 2019

News about the Heath Cullen Album

It's little over 1 year since there was news of Heath Cullen making an album with Joe as producer.
We found out the news because Australian fundings had been made public.It was presented as a project of Heath Cullen with Joe Henry and Jim Keltner.

A few months ago I asked Joe what the prospects where for this project.
Heath and I continue to look for an opportunity of time that works for us both. As well, we collectively have some grand ambition for this project, and a number of very particular people (Jimmy Keltner not least of which) who we are still figuring how to get all in the same room together.

Since a few days, you can help in a crowdfunding campaign (Pozible) to help and make this possible. A record to be called 'River Caught the Flood'.
Remember : Public fundings help, but don't cover it all.

I’ve been working hard to save my pennies for the last couple of years to make this dream come true, and I’m grateful to have the support of The Australia Council of the Arts and Create NSW to help a little ways towards this project.

BUT.. I still need a helping hand from my Pozible people to get this dream together and out into the world. I have no record label to pay for this stuff, no people behind the scenes pulling strings for me. My hope is that enough of you want to hear this record as much as I want to share it with you.
(Heath Cullen)

It seems like Jim Keltner will not be on board, but Joe's regular tribe will be there : Adam Levy, Jay Bellerose, Jennifer Condos, Patrick Warren and Levon Henry.  And I assume Ryan Freeland will be there also... ?
The recordingdate is set : July 15th in L.A.
And to give you and idea, there is a first song co-written between Heath and Joe.

So go and contribute to this. Visit : https://www.pozible.com/project/new-album-produced-by-joe-henry/


dinsdag 18 juni 2019

Sound is the artform

Ever since performances were held indoor, people have been trying to control the light for their shows. But many people consider Adolphe Appia(1862-1928) as the founder of Lighting Design. His approach towards this element of stage play changed the game forever. He didn't use lamps only to make something visible. No, he used the light itself as a scenographic element. It was not (only) the items that were shined upon that were important. It was the light itself... 

Adolphe Appia - Orphée et Euridyce de Glück

“I don’t want to make the same record over and over again,” Rhiannon Giddens said to Rolling Stone Magazine about her latest album with Francesco Turrisi. 'There is no Other' is indeed something else. To say even more : It stands out !

Like all of the new albums I buy, I also listen to this one now mostly in the car. While driving I noticed something peculiar started to happen. When traffic was easy, I noticed there were parts of the drive I hadn't been aware of, because of the music. Well now, for traffic safety it is probably not OK, but it actually proofs how deep I'm sucked into this music.

I don't really listen to these songs separately, don't really focus on the lyrics, but I am deeply absorbed by the music itself. Music that is defined by each sound you hear, and it is so well stored on tape for us. That's amazing...! As if the energy of those days in Dublin has been recorded. With different energy, we probably would have had a different audible experience.Rhiannon and Francesco have created their universe with this album.

Just like Appia made light itself the expression,
...Like poetry can be defining by the words itself
...Like so many dancers with whom the movement itself is more exciting then the total choreography,
 I received an album where each sound is more defining my experience then the whole... I received an album where sound itself is the artform.

It is therefore that this album stands out. I enjoy it the most when there is nothing to distract me. I am going to listen to this one in the dark one day I think, with nothing else but sound, as if it is being played in my living room. It can only be better with Rhiannon and Francesco being really in the room, and nothing distracts me...

'There is No Other' deserves to be performed with the grace of a classical performance, on the program these wonderful songs.

There goes the bell to take your seats. Do you hear it ?
Parterre, seat D22,
and I slight in to my soft red seat, with all these lovely people around me.

Lights go out...
We forget the world around us for a little while.

Total dark, and then there is sound.
Gently a lightbeam becomes visible, and leads me to hands moving on an instrument. Oh to see these subtile human movements.

A beautiful voice from somewhere...
"Ten Thousand Stories..."
And slowly that voice gets an equally beautiful face.
Each expression, movement, note, sigh,... We are in that world.

Rhiannon and Francesco's world.

zondag 16 juni 2019

2017 Americana Music Conference

Did I already post this clip with 2 amazing performances by Rhiannon Giddens ?

It comes from a songwriting workshop she and Joe did together with Dirk Powell at Americanafest 2017.
The clip starts with Joe explaining Rodney Crowell's absence, who was announced to be there also.

Dirk Powell co-produced together with Rhiannon her album 'Freedom Highway'

Here is another clip of them together.

maandag 13 mei 2019

An evening to remember in L.A.

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times

Joe Henry performed last weekend in L.A. .It was a first show, after several cancelled shows these last months.

During the show he revealed that he had to deal with a stage 4 cancer diagnosis.It was a period of dealing with the shadows of life.

"You don't examine a shadow by shining a light on it," He explained to his audience. 

As a symbol for it all he put a top hat upside down on stage, while he walked on stage hatless...

“There are times in life when a wind knocks the hat off your head and you have to chase it down the street, dust it off and reset it.” We can read in an article in the LA Times

But he is OK now, his treatment seems to be doing what it was designed for, and during the concert he presented some new songs that came from that period. 

Just like it is for everyone, the news shocked me, and left me also a little numb. I am glad everything is falling back in to place. It is a tougher chapter in this book we call life. I think Joe knows how much warmth I am sending him and everyone close to him. (I truly wished I could have been with all of you at Largo at the Coronet last saturday.)

Paul Zollo, who was in the audience wrote the following : 

Wit Love,

zaterdag 11 mei 2019

My first listen to 'There is no other'

What you will be reading is actually an experiment. I am typing my stream of thoughts during my first listen of this album. I also feel it honest to not edit too much of all this. You will be able to read this within the hour after I have done listening to it. 

This could possibly become one of my strangest posts, but I was thinking, that maybe there is no more honest way to write about a record. 

OK, here we go.  

With high expectations it is only right now that I'm hearing this album for the first time. 'Ten Thousand Voices' has just begun, and I'm immediatly struck by the clarity of the recording. It genuinly sounds like Rhiannon and Francesco are standing in front of me, but strangly and in contrast with that fact : Rhiannon's chanting takes me away in to an imaginary reality.

These songs are taking me, like a Gypsy, around the world. It is the untouchable proof that there is beauty all over the world, and if all this beauty comes together, magic happens. It truly is overwhelming ! If you sit down with this, and listen actively, then "Where are we ?"  Yes, I am sitting in my livingroom, and I know this was recorded in a studio. But these are physical facts. Where in this world is my mind ? A word of advise : Close your eyes when you listen to this record. It will put a spell on you.

I don't know how close these recordings are to the ideas Rhiannon and Francesco had, but it feels so genuine, so true! I believe every sound I hear.

Wow ! 'Pizzica di San Vito' is shaking me out of my mindstream. I didn't see that one coming. It feels like a I'm being pulled into a dance, where my bones are not yet accustomed to. Neither can I resist it. The same thing happens with the piano in 'Black Swan'. I just thought I absorbed that song, and then that Piano happens. It's amazing.

I really love these Arabic influences. You know something ? This album is really hypnotising me. How do you do that Ryan and Joe ? How do you put this atmosphere on tape ? And I know you'll say something like : "It takes musicians like Rhiannon and Francesco, and magic happens !" . But how do you channel that magic in my livingroom, in my mind ?

Oh wait, 'Little Margaret'. The fullness of that sound.... I'm letting it all come in, but that sound is going through my entire body. It has something to do with the frequency of the instrument that is interfering with the vains in my body. It's making them tremble. I already had that with the first single 'I'm on my way'. That song is the authority walking in the room, and you can do nothing else then accept it.

All that is left is Amen in 'He will see you soon'.

What have you recorded back in Ireland ! Were all the elements of th Universe exactly in place those days ? This is amazing !

It's quiet in the room now, but not in me. It doesn't let me go.

maandag 29 april 2019

New Rising Appalachia single (featuring Ani DiFranco)

Listen to this wonderful new single from Rising Appalachia's upcoming album.

The single is entitled : "Speak Out", and was Premiered at brooklynvegan.com

The song features Ani DiFranco.

"Our all-time favorite righteous musician/activist/hero/babe Ani DiFranco textured it perfectly with her anthemic and potent voice, and brought our full vision to life here.”
Rising Appalachia 

Rising Appalachia's album is coming out this friday the 3rd.

Full Tracklist:
I Believe In Being Ready
Speak Out (Featuring Ani DiFranco)
Love Her In The Mornin’
Shed Your Grace (Featuring Trevor Hall)
Make Magic
Sunny Days
Indigo Dance (Featuring Maurice Turner)

donderdag 4 april 2019

Solo @ Largo at the Coronet

After some cancelled shows, it seems Joe has been preparing something special if you live around L.A.

Casting a cold eye on Life,
on Death 

He will be singing old and new songs. A few weeks ago, Joe told me he had written some new songs, so possibly you will be hearing some of those.

Get your tickets....

woensdag 27 maart 2019

Mavis Staples & Friends (in L.A.)

In May there will be 3 special shows to celebrate Mavis Staples'  80th Birthday.

3 Shows : 1 in New York, 1 in Nashville and 1 in L.A.

Joe has announced that he will join the stage in L.A. (May 22nd.)

Joe performed as an opening act for Mavis last August.

vrijdag 22 maart 2019

There is no Other

Oh Yes I'm excited !

Have you heard the first single I'm on my way from the upcoming Rhiannon Giddens &Francesco Turrisi album ?

It sounds impressive !
Really :  Rhiannon, Francesco, Ryan and Joe; What a powerful sound ! song !

I can't wait to hear the rest of the album entitled 'There is no Other'.

It will be released on May 3th, and is already available as a pre-sale.

Listen to a conversation with Rhiannon and Francesco on the label's website : www.nonesuch.com/

And now, you can find me knock-out somewhere in a corner. 

woensdag 20 maart 2019

5 Years of blogging, 5 open endings.

Today, 5 years ago, I started building the Time is a Lion blog. Since I am a sucker for marking such passings of time, I'm offering exactly that in this post.

Looking back at it all, I posted some stories where we don't know how it evolved further on. Stories with an open ending.
It seemed a good moment to try and offer the follow-up story, and there was only one person who could offer such insides..., I'm gratefull Joe was open for the idea.

Will you finally read the closure of these stories ? Who knows, but maybe new doors will open...

  • Signature Guitar.


In oktober 2014 I asked Joe a few questions regarding Vintage Guitars. At the time, there was talk of a 'Joe Henry' signature.

"It is still in the design phase, but Tony (Klassen) and I are working on a model together based on a Regal guitar from the mid-30s, but with variations based on my favorite Gibson guitars –most notably a short-scale."

After that, we never heard anything anymore about it. Today it is totally off the radar. What happened to it ?

post : joe-henry-on-vintage-guitars

JH : This is still an idea that Tony and I kick around; but essentially, I believe he became so busy meeting customer orders (New Era is a one-man operation), that investing time into a new design ––which typically could require the completion of numerous prototypes–– has not yet been feasbile. but I am still open to the process. I love both the guitars he has built for me, and Tony is as well an exceedingly kind man.

  • Vinyl Records

In an interview in 2015 about Vinyl records, Joe explained that 'Invisible Hour' didn't get a Vinyl release because it was too expensive at the time. We are only a few years later, and both 'Thrum' and 'Shine a light' received their Vinyl release, both with an exquisite artwork. What changed in the meantime ?

post : thoughts-on-vinyl

JH : From my vantage point, what has changed the field a bit is that vinyl records are now significantly out-selling CD's; and as more labels and artists are making vinyl availability a priority, more manufacturing facilities are opening their doors, thus making an LP option less expensive, and requiring less lead time to produce. Not very many years ago, there were only a couple of manufacturing plants in the whole world still pressing music into vinyl grooves, and they were servicing every label’s demand, big and small; and as such it was a pricey proposition. It took a great deal of time from delivering a master to receiving vinyl refs for approval. and some of us just couldn’t reconcile the money or the time.

Is there still chance 'Invisible Hour' is going to be released on vinyl ?
JH : I would sincerely love to have issued “invisible hour” on vinyl, and would still like to. I happen to think it is sonically quite a beautiful recording. Ryan Freeland did exactly what I asked him to do: Catch all the beauty in the collisions of string interplay, and the warmth of our friendship ––and let’s not f... any sounds up just for the sake of doing so. let’s be unabashedly beautiful, if we can manage it.Yes, I’d still love to. but given that I released that record on my own label (in partnership with my management 'Work Song'), it would require an investment from my camp of resources that I’d sooner see going to recording a new album.

Frankly ––the lion’s share of songs for such having already been written, I think.

The growth of the 'Vinyl industry' happened indeed quickly these last years. Even your album 'Shufletown' got released on LP.. 

JH : Well, I had absolutely nothing to do with the reissue of ‘shuffletown’ onto vinyl.  In fact, I didn’t know it had happened ––or was even being discussed–– until someone (No idea who that could've been) posted on social media a new physical copy. I still don’t have possession of one…haven’t heard its remaster, nor a single pressing ref. 

OK, I'll make you an offer you can't refuse : Next time you are in our regions, we must listen to it together.  
All kidding aside, such issues bring me to the following dilemma. Take for example a listener like me. When I buy music, I'd prefer that the money I invest, is fairly shared towards the artists who made it. Off course musicians, but there is also artwork,... What do you think, is the best purchase to do ? A legal download or streaming format, CD, LP, ... ?

JH : There isn’t a quick answer to this, given that none of us can know, when buying/streaming music, just what deals might be in place for any given artist that might best insure that the revenue stream flows as close to the artist as possible; but I am of the belief (and it is based more on instinct than on research) that vinyl is more typically instigated directly either by an artist and/or in partnership with. 

  • Heath Cullen

It is almost a year ago, when the fundings for musical projects in Australia where made public. One of these projects was a record by Heath Cullen, Joe Henry and Jim Keltner.

post : heath-cullen-jim-keltner-joe

I was wondering, if it was already recorded or planned.

JH : It is a project I still dearly hope to do. Heath and I continue to look for an opportunity of time that works for us both. As well, we collectively have some grand ambition for this project, and a number of very particular people (Jimmy Keltner not least of which) who we are still figuring how to get all in the same room together. We could do it in pieces, of course; but both Heath and I feel committed to at least trying to go for some real-time alchemy, if we can manage it.

  • Steve Lippman

A Couple of months ago, unfortunatly Steve Lippman passed away.   

"He (Joe) became part of the creative team of an ambitious project of mine not yet made." 

post : mid-summer-update-2018

JH : The sudden passing of Steve Lippman was and remains a shock to those of us who loved and admired him. Beyond the work he did for me around “tiny voices” and “thrum,” we had been in conversation for years about his desire to make a documentary film around Judy Garland’s seminal appearance at Carnegie hall in 1961. He was interested in me writing the score and curating the period source music. I think Steve’s vision was to not only look at Garland’s powerhouse performance on an historic night, but to look as well at the times surrounding it...  that provided its context. It’s a project that was dear to Steve’s heart, and I believe he had every intention of realizing it, no matter how long it took.

Do you think you, or someone else, might do something with the idea in the future ? Perhaps to honor Steve ?

JH : I can’t imagine this ever being undertaken without Steve. It was based on his vision, and a fundamental and wholly personal belief in the transformational aspects of that performance from Judy. Like a poem never written by a particular poet: No one else can step in and imagine its weather system.

  • Writing in Ireland

So Joe, you had a writing residency in Ireland. Now how do we have to imagine such a residency ?

post : writing-in-ireland 

JH : When my wife Melanie and I were on the west coast of Ireland to celebrate our 30th anniversary, in may of 2017, we spent part of our time in the small seaside village of Ballyvaughan, where we happen to have a dear friend living. While there and in a pub one evening, I met the dean of the local Burren College of Art; and he invited me to think about my coming back there for a writing residency. He explained it to me over time that I would have no real obligations other than to show up with whatever it was I was interested in writing, and just…doing it there; be a presence on campus, where I might interact ––as much or as little as I cared to–– with the young art students. In exchange, the school would provide me a studio space at the school, a rental cottage for me and my wife, right by the sea.

Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity. I had an office in which to write, and I showed up there monday through friday, from roughly 10AM until 5:50PM, for a month; and I wrote. a lot of poems and several songs that I think will serve me well. I also did a lexture one afternoon for the students (mostly visual artists) about how I engage with the creative process. and then on the last weekend there, I invited in from Dublin both Lisa Hannigan and Glen Hansard to do a songwriting workshop with me, and then a shared performance that evening, as a benefit for the school.

Never underestimate the power of (creative) people around you. I personally believe that everything that happens in your live is important for your further evolution.  It is impossible to measure, but at the same time unpayable. I'm sure your presence had an important influence for those students.

JH : If my presence at the art college in Ballyvaughan had any lasting impact on any student, it would be without my realizing it ––and well beyond my means to quantify its value. I’d like to think it meant something to someone other than me that I was there; but i don’t think I could ever know it.

That is also an aspect of something unmeasurable. The entire trip sounds like a wondeful experience.

JH : It was one of the great autumns of our lives, both Melanie and I agree.



maandag 11 maart 2019

Rabbit Hole, Rosanne Cash

Rabbit Hole is a song by Rosanne Cash. It is featured on her latest album 'She Remembers Everything.'

She wrote this song for her friends Joe Henry and Billy Bragg.

After a serious operation in 2007, it was a struggle for her to return to the stage. Seeing Joe and Billy perform helped her through it.

She wrote this wonderful song for them. A great song about the power of friendship. Cherish it !

I just want a road that bends
A love that wins
An honest friend
I just want a night of peace
A blessed relief
I want to make you see

That you in your crumpled splendor
When you sing to the farthest rafter
With your big life full of love and laughter
Can pull me up from the rabbit hole

To show me the road that bends
The love that wins
You're an honest friend
And you'll give me that night of peace
Blessed relief
You can make me see

That you with your light and glory
With your old dreams and epic stories
You seal all the darkened doors
And pull me up from the rabbit hole

I just want a road that bends
A love that wins
An honest friend
I'm looking for a night of peace
Blessed relief
You could make me see

That you, with your soldier's honor
You kind man and plainsong scholars
You sound like a million dollars
You pull me up from the rabbit hole 

P.S. : A limited release of the album 'She remembers Everything' features letters exchanged between her and Joe (and a few more)

zondag 10 maart 2019

'Demon Seed' by Doug Seegers

Listen to the first single of Doug Seegers' upcoming album 'A story I got to tell'. The album is produced by Joe Henry.

Here is Demon Seed

The album will be released on May 31. You can already pre-order it.

Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi

Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi recorded an album last summer, produced by Joe Henry.

They are currently touring in Ireland and have given some info for this record in a few interviews.

Photo : Karen Cox

The duo have a forthcoming album, recorded with Joe Henry at Windmill Lane, and it is a musical voyage of discovery from Africa and the Middle East across to Europe and the Americas. They discovered a shared creative ground after their paths crossed a few years back, spanning gospel, jazz, blues, country and folk, but this is their first nationwide tour of Ireland.(source)

What we can expect from this voyage we can read in another interview. In this interview they speak about the current tour.

"We’ll play an Appalachian ballad with an Iranian frame drum normally used by Sufis for trance,” Turrisi says, “but you know, there’s almost a trance element to the ballad singing and the resonance of the large frame drum gives a kind of a drone effect. And we have a minstrel tune on the banjo with a Sicilian tamburello [an Italian tambourine]. And an old time American tune connected to a Brazilian forró sound. They seem to go hand in hand: we’ve discovered improbable connections that somehow work.”

further on in the interview Rhiannon explains :

I’m discovering so much about how invisible, othered and dismissed the Islamic world is, in terms of the massive effects it had on European music and culture,” Rhiannon continues. “For example, the massive impact it had on the African continent, the number of Muslim enslaved people there were in the Americas: way more than people think. It’s a really huge topic and we’re barely scratching the surface. But even having some of the rhythms and modes that Francesco has been working on through his music for so long match up so well. The way that both of us approach music is very similar because we’re both very educated about where the music is coming from. But when it comes to playing, we’re both just playing what we feel.

The interview for the Irish Times announces 'an' album for the coming month of May.
I must admit.
I'm intrigued by all of this, and looking forward to it.