A blog for Joe Henry fans

vrijdag 12 mei 2017

Joe and Billy nominated for the Americana Awards 2017

Joe Henry and Billy Bragg, have been nominated for a 2017, Americana Music Award.

Alongside Drive-By Truckers, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and The Lumineers they are nominated for duo of the year.

Already Congratulions on that.

The Award show takes place in Nashville, on September 13, 2017.

Grace, by Lizz Wright

A lot of details concerning Lizz Wright's upcoming album have been released. The album will be entitled 'Grace', and releasedate is set for September 15, 2017.

There are 2 covers on the album, where Joe also produced the original versions. First there is 'Barley' from Birds of Chicago. And then there is the titletrack by Rose Cousins.

I give you some excerpts from the press release.
Grace was tracked live on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles alongside a standout cast of musicians at United Recording Studios – the sessions feature her nearly 20-year collaboration with Atlanta-based pianist and choir director Kenny Banks Sr., special guest guitarist Marc Ribot, bassist David Piltch, guitarists Chris Bruce and Marvin Sewell, drummer Jay Bellerose, and keyboardist Patrick Warren. An expansive collection of 10 songs and an original co-write with Maia Sharp (“All the Way Here”), Grace is Wright’s testament of devotion to speaking and embodying the fullness of her humanity through music. Her most clear statement to date, Grace finds Wright standing center stage in the complex dialogues of coexistence and interdependence between all walks of life.
The vast landscapes portrayed on Grace are brimming with Wright’s singular translations of music by Ray CharlesAllen ToussaintNina SimoneSister Rosetta Tharpek.d. langBob DylanFrank Perkins and Mitchell Parish, as well as emerging artists Rose Cousins and Birds of Chicago. From a body of about 70 covers collected primarily by Joe Henry, 10 works were selected that mirror Wright’s rural upbringing and the trail of stories and songs that have brought her to the world stage. Having a strong sense of intention to speak of grace from the inception of the project, Wright forwent writing the title track after hearing “Grace” by Rose Cousins – the first title track Wright didn’t compose from her catalogue of six studio recordings. 
Grace opens with “Barley,” a song penned by Birds of Chicago based on the traditional blues format of word repetition. With its sweeping march and repeating phrases, “Barley” has Wright churning an ancestral force of affirmation and encouragement.
Joe Henry’s years of friendship and collaboration with Allen Toussaint brought “Southern Nights” to the pre-studio listening session. Allen’s spirited trail of rural imagery made “Southern Nights” the song that felt like home.

“Lizz Wright and I have been friends for nearly fifteen years; I’ve hungered for the chance to stand in service to her as she sang, so powerful do I find the expression of her humanity. It was and remains an honor to have been Lizz’s scout along the journey of Grace. And in such dark times, we are all as musicians called to answer brutality with wild and inclusive beauty. When Lizz now sings, I am allowed to feel by extension that I am doing something of my part. What a gift that has been to me; what a gift she offers all.”

Joe Henry

Pre-listen to excerpts of this album.

zondag 30 april 2017

'A new Joe Henry album might help'...

 The title of this entry was a tweet that appeared this week. Joe replied to it.

I guess we can say from reliable sources that a new Joe Henry album is planned to be released in October.

Last July, Steve Dawson already asked Joe if he had a new album in the works. Steve Dawson has a serie of great podcasts. Joe was one of the people he interviewed.

 "I like the idea of making a record before this year is out, but I haven't figured out how" was one of the things Joe answered last July. 

Then, A few weeks ago, Joe already let us know, he was recording something in the studio.

vrijdag 21 april 2017

Looking Back, Artist of the decade.

I was remembered today of the most wonderful words, Andy Whitman wrote in 2009, on Joe Henry. It was an article he did for Paste Magazine.

These words still stand, so I'll share them again for you. I wish you all happy readings.


Nobody—and yes, that includes the crotchety curmudgeon from Hibbing Minnesota—wrote better songs this decade than Joe Henry. He released four albums in the Aughts:Scar,Tiny Voices, Civilians, and Blood from Stars. They’re all essential. Just buy them. I’d like to think that, in 20 or 30 years or so, when the musical wheel turns and the world reassesses all that has been ignored, these albums will be recognized as the masterpieces they are.
So do alt-country bands like The Jayhawks. So does the supremely gifted Victoria Williams, whose vocals are even more idiosyncratic than Joe's. So does guitarist Marc Ribot, but he plays with everybody. He occasionally employs operatic divas to provide accompaniment for lines like “Because there was no gold mine, I freed the dogs and burned their sled." Good luck trying to find a label for the surrealistic dreamscape that is his music. I'm content to just call it great. As an added bonus, his lyrics also happen to be jaw-droppingly wonderful, and work more often as standalone poetry than those of The Poet of a Generation. His songs are as consistently, restlessly challenging and rewarding as contemporary music gets.
So maybe I’m bitter, sitting here in my coffee-stained T-shirt. I don’t know why the rest of the world doesn’t recognize this incontrovertible truth. Maybe it’s the nondescript name that keeps people from discovering music that is anything but nondescript. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that Joe Henry’s songs don’t fit into an easily defined box, and are too genre-busting to slot within the confines of today’s narrowcasting world. Whatever it is, Joe Henry is the Dylan that scarcely anybody knows.
I interviewed him five or six years ago, right before the release of his album Tiny Voices. He had woken up shortly before I called, and he had just returned from dropping his kids off at school. It was delicious to imagine this dutiful father and devoted family man returning to his notepad after making sure that the kids had their lunch money in hand, jotting down lyrics about widows of Central American revolutionaries, junkies, and rape victims, reveling in apocalyptic imagery involving bombers and tanks and beauty queens and circus freaks selling lemonade. He was writing the kind of shadowy, surrealistic nightmares that Dylan hadn’t explored since “Desolation Row,” and I imagined that he was doing it in his pajamas.
I don’t know if that’s literally true, of course, and Joe Henry wasn’t telling. But maybe that’s because he’s the master of the oblique, of the truth that resides in between the lines on a page, of the indirection that conveys as much in what isn’t said as in the black and white lyrics in the CD booklet. His song “This Afternoon” is a masterpiece of impending dread, of ominous detail piled atop ominous detail, and he never once gets around to saying what actually happens. But you have a pretty good inkling, and it isn’t good.
and during the past 10 years he’s worked with artists as diverse as Elvis Costello, Ani DiFranco, Teddy Thompson, Aimee Mann, Mavis Staples, and Mary Gauthier, and has almost single-handedly revived the careers of Solomon Burke, Allen Toussaint, and Bettye Lavette.
It’s a staggering body of work. Do yourself a favor and check him out now, before the musical wheel turns.
(Andy Whitman)

dinsdag 18 april 2017

Australian Record Store Day

Joe Henry and Billy Bragg will do an instore set during Record Store Day in Melbourne.

Place to be : The Basement Discs, Melbourne. 

We think it’s looking spectacularly good & of course we are particularly chuffed & humbled by BILLY BRAGG & JOE HENRY agreeing so readily to be a part of our very special day.  Both have done in-stores here separately over the years & quite naturally are huge supporters of all things independent (& record stores in particular) , so it was just so perfect & timely that they happen to be in Melbourne for their shows the weekend of RECORD STORE DAY!!

I Don't have an exact hour for Joe & Billy's set. But I'm sure the store has. ;-)


zaterdag 15 april 2017

2017 Summerfestivals

As previously announced : Joe and Billy will perform at the Byron Bluesfest.
 Newport Folk festival ,US : 28-30 July (Performance on the 29th).
Calgary folk fest, Canada : 27-30 July

new announcement :
Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Canada : 13-16 July

To be updated... ?

vrijdag 14 april 2017


Joe made his contribution on the Internet for #WhatJusticeMeansToMe
Since he mentions he's at that moment in Belfast with Billy Bragg, we can date the filming of this clip to January 29, 2017. It where the days of heavy protest against Trump's Muslimban. It was a week where I saw humanity, solidarity and kindness, all over the world, become un-neglectable. A week that moved me to tears to see hope growing.

The 'Justice Project' asks everyone to share their idea of what Justice means personally.

"One of the great truths about the human perspective is that we don’t see the world as it is but as we are. So at THE JUSTICE PROJECT we decided to ask people and invite people from around the world who are old and young, healthy and infirm, free and incarcerated to tell us: “What justice means to me.” In this effort, we don’t expect to corner the truth about justice but to witness it by being an honest witness and honor our mission statement to lend an ear and give a voice. Please take a look and join us. As Scripture would remind us, “We’re not expected to finish the work but neither are we excused from it.”

What Justice means to me ?
- We should all, treat all of each other, as human beings, with the respect for human beings. Only then we will live in a just world. I believe today we generally confuse justice with, 'living-like-we-do.'
Looking at that, has nothing to do with Justice.  Looking beyond that has far more to do with it. Because then, we will look at each other as human beings, and we can find the respect for each other.