Titel

A blog for Joe Henry fans


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.



Greetings,
Stefan.

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.


Greetings,
Stefan

woensdag 9 mei 2018

Heath Cullen, Jim Keltner & Joe

'The Industry Observer' published an overview of Australian fundings for Musical projects.

One of them stated :

Singer songwriter Heath Cullen receives ...  to record a new album in LA with Grammy award winning producer Joe Henry and drummer Jim Keltner .

Heath Cullen, was the opening act for Joe's 2014 Australian tour. 
and for Jim Keltner, is there anyone he hasn't worked with yet ? Check his credits at allmusic.  He was for example a musician on Joe's own 'Tiny Voices'.



Some info on 'The Industry Observer'.
The Industry Observer is a B2B news and analysis tool for the Australasian industry.
Helping record labels, artist managers, peak industry bodies and rights-holders navigate the local and international markets with honest, insightful content, The Industry Observer is just as accessible to the local songwriter with international ambitions as it is to a major label chairman.
The Industry Observer was founded in January 2017 by Seventh Street Media, Australia’s largest music media publisher with Tone Deaf, The Brag, Don’t Bore Us and J Play under its umbrella.

I must say, I am a bit disappointed they headline it as 'Free Money for...'.
A lot of people are going to work for that money, and that's just to start with...

Greetings,
Stefan

donderdag 3 mei 2018

Love in War

Today, ‘Love in War’, the new album by Birds of Chicago is released. It follows the EP 'American Flowers', which was released last November.
If you loved their 2016 Album ‘Real Midnight’, you have no other option then to continue their story. Where ‘Real Midnight’ was Chapter 1, 'American Flowers' is the last page preparing you for Chapter 2 : 'Love in War'.

'American Flowers' is musically close to Real Midnight, but addresses already the thoughts from 'Love in War'.
‘Real Midnight’ showed us the need to look after each other, in darker times. ‘Love in War’ has this idea as a starting point. It’s the continuing saga. We live in troubled times, and sometimes we don’t see the love, but it is there. It is people like BOC that show us this.

The song American Flowers is already a seed for that. In true Woody Guthrie style it shows us the good things that are happening in the world.  The things that we pay too little attention to, because it are only the problems which we discus.

I have seen American flowers all across this land
From the banks of the Shenandoah, along the Rio Grande
Do not fear the winter blowing in the hearts of men
I have seen American flowers they will bloom again

Leonard Cohen told us the light comes in through the cracks, BOC show us the flowers growing out of dry land.

Alright Alright is a song that sounds like a spring day, and you’re part of a fun dancing street parade. A song for our Children, their future, a future that our generation is preparing for them. How can and should they take it further ? If we make it alright, then they will be alright.
The EP ends with Allison spoiling us with the gift of her voice, and proofs she is ready to become a great French-speaking Jazz singer.


You can feel it near and far
It fades the moon and blinds the stars
That’s a Super lover
Are you a Super lover ?


'Love in War' begins with a song that expresses the urgency to love, but maybe the most important song on the album is Super lover. What do we need to rise above our current troubled society ? We need a Super lover, Something we can all be.

You know.... I could give you my song-to-song interpretation of it all, but you must discover it yourself. It’s a story about love and life. And it’s packed in a work of Art. I really love the cover design of the album. In fact : I already regret not buying the Vinyl version, for the simple reason to put that stunning artwork on display in the house for every visitor to enjoy.



They already know this, I'm sure of that, but we never say it enough. I really love Birds of Chicago. As a band, but also each of them as a human being. They are the most warmest people you can imagine, and they are currently touring in Europe. I went to see them and had a wonderful evening. An evening full of comfort, laughter, dancing,… Life.  A concert in 2 parts. Before the break, they spread a musical blanket all over us and made us feel at home. And now that we felt comfortable, a more joyeus 2nd part of the show entertained us all. And even lifted us from our chairs.  When the houselights went on again, I saw happy people, going back in the world with renewed spirits.

Greetings,
Stefan

This evening Birds of Chicago have 1 more show in Belgium, and then it is of to Ireland, the UK and Scotland.

dinsdag 1 mei 2018

'The Nomad' by Guy Pearce


'The Nomad' is the upcoming album by Guy Pearce produced by Joe Henry. It was recorded in the summer of 2016. 


'The Nomad' was an very personal and raw experience for me. It came as a result of my marriage ending in January of 2015. After going on the road to tour ‘Broken Bones’ in February I then started work on new material. As much as it delves into the melancholy at times it does allow for that beautiful ‘silver lining’ that keeps us going in life. It was such a joy to collaborate with my old pal Joe Henry at ‘United Recording’ in LA. What an amazing and historic studio, and working with the musicians Joe invited in was a truly inspiring and uplifting process.


Yesterday Guy Pearce announced that it will be released on July 6th.



On his website you can find the tracklist, lyrics, Credits,...

1 year before recording this album, Guy already shared a version of the titletrack with us.



To celebrate the release of this album, Guy will perform a one-off intimate show at the Playhouse Theatre in Melbourne this 8 July.  tickets 
(source)

zondag 29 april 2018

Filming/Taking pictures during concerts


It was during Lizz Wright’s concert in Brussels that I really got confronted again with the consequences of smartphones during live concerts. For example, in the past I’ve seen people checking their social media during concerts, but it is another thing that I’d like to talk about this time:

Taking pictures or filming during a concert. 


The thing that frustrated me the most was the filming, or taking snapshots using a flashlight. If I’m at a concert I’d like to focus on the stage, not the seats around me. Because that’s what the flashlight does. It illuminates a huge part of the audience and takes away your focus from what’s happening on stage. If someone is sitting in front of you, and is filming, you are distracted by that little screen. What people do during a show is not really my business, but the person in front of me was even showing the clip he just filmed to his companion sitting next to him, and because of that, they completely missed out on the song being performed live in front of us, and it was affecting my experience of the concert. There you had Lizz Wright, singing ‘Grace’… live. You will never be able to have such an experience looking at a screen. You just have to witness it completely live and feel what that does to you!

I decided a while ago, not to do it anymore. Yes, you read it correctly: ‘Decided’ and ‘not anymore’. Indeed, I used to do it occasionally. What was the reason I did it? It turned out to be a question much easier to ask, then to answer. It really got me thinking. I concluded that I did it because, on social media, I liked (and still like) to share my experience of concerts, and with that, I wanted to offer some visuals with it. I am one of those ‘smartphone less’ dinosaurs, so I took a small camera with me, that fitted in my jacket or in my backpack. I was conscience, in advance, that I was going to take pictures. I didn’t do it with every concert. The one concert was dearer to me than the other, and that triggered me to take pictures. So there lays the reason I completely stopped doing it.

If the concert is so dear to me? Why don’t I simply enjoy it? Why am I occupying myself with that device, instead of just enjoying the concert? I truly have a much bigger experience of a concert if I just look at it and am not trying to look at a camera to check the frame.

So that’s me dealing with this issue. I didn’t evolve to stopping with it, I actually decided it at a certain moment. You will read a little further that there still are sometimes events that I am taking pictures. It’s always work related, so I’m not really enjoying a night out, but I’m actually at work. I’m not saying this to look for excuses, I just want to paint the entire picture.

Filming or taking photos during shows is something that happens very commonly these days, but not everywhere. For example in theater it is generally accepted not to use a camera. But theater is, like concerts, a live stage art. Why does it work there, and not in all stage arts? During Classical concerts there is also a bigger tendency to keep the device in your pocket. Is it because these are more formal events? Is it because we learned in school, with such arts, that you should focus on the play in order to experience it all, and not distract artists or other audience members? No one ever told us, the same counts for more popular shows. I think it does.
So why do we do it during concerts? Reflecting on that, the following possibilities came to mind.

  • You want to give the opportunity to others, who were not there, to have a glimpse of the show. This is something that already existed long before smartphones and social media were invented. Bootlegs have been made ever since music could be recorded. The differences with the past are that bootlegs used to be rare, because not everyone had the gear, and you really had to do it sneaky. If you got caught, you had no taping. Also, the rest of the audience weren’t distracted by it, since it happened sneakingly.
  • Perhaps you just want to take a bit of the experience home with you, to re-live it in the following days. Personally, I don’t think that is possible. You missed an experience during the show, and never can re-live it afterwards.
  • It could be a reflex. We are so used to doing everything with our phone. From the moment we wake up, we are almost constantly involved with it. It becomes hard to leave it in your pocket. It feels weird not using it.
  • Perhaps you were asked by someone else to take footage for them. A position where I find myself sometimes in. Although I’m not a professional photographer, at that moment I’m making work-related pictures. The organization is in these cases informed of what and why I’m taking pictures. But I am aware that I probably am distracting other people.
  • Maybe you just want to show your friends, and the world that you were there, and they missed out.
  • Quite possibly there are other reasons as well….

 How do we need to deal with this phenomenon? I don’t know. The one audience member is more sensitive to it than another, and the same goes for artists. Some artists integrate the use of devices in their shows, others don't want you to use it. An artist can address his audience about it when he prefers that you don’t do it. As an audience member it is tougher to speak up about it. You have a slight chance to piss of the ones who are filming, and completely ruin the evening for yourself, and everyone around you.

There is another element about it. Now I only spoke of shooting yourself, but what with clips you find on the internet, clips other people made? I use them on social media, even on this blog. I am aware these are made in a fashion I just criticized. In a way, these are all documentations of something that happened. You have the ‘official information’ coming from live DVD’s, professional photographers, official live streams…. And then you have the ‘unofficial footage’, and that can also be worth it.
There are events that happen, maybe one time, maybe only in 1 continent, … where no ‘official’ footage exists. (or is released). Yes, then I’m happy someone else filmed it.
Sometimes someone filmed in such a specific angle or view, you can witness something closely that you were normally never able to see: A solo from a musician, an unforeseen moment,…. Yes, then I’m happy someone filmed that.

When I went to see Jack White perform a few years ago, the audience was asked not to take pictures or film during the show. There would be enough good pictures of every show on his website. Off course that didn’t stop people doing it, so now he doesn’t want people bringing their smartphones. I don’t see how you are going to organize that on such a scale. He is sensitive to it, and I think we should respect that. But what would make it possible for people to keep the device in their pocket? …. I don’t know.

All I want to ask or give as a reflection on this phenomenon are 2 things: If you like to film, don’t use flashlights. They are extremely annoying. And secondly, I’d like you to ask yourself: “Why am I filming/taking pictures?  Is it really worth it for me, or others? "

I hope to see all of you at concerts and enjoy it together. And yes, it is true, if you got to shoot something that shows us something of exceptional value, then I’m glad you shot it.
Greetings,
Stefan.

Note: Brussels venue Ancienne Belgique (where I saw Lizz Wright) participated in an audience survey.
  • 30% of AB visitors would welcome a ban on filming with smartphones was 1 of the results.


zaterdag 28 april 2018

Bremenconcert February 10, 2018 is available


(Brussels, 5 February 2018)


On February 10, Joe performed in Bremen, Germany. It was recorded for a radiobroadcast.  The concert was part of the tour to promote his latest album 'Thrum'.

The radiobroadcast is now available as a download.
you can find it on German blog 'Radiohoerer' . the 'Link Zur Datei' leads you to the file. I downloaded it, and faced no problem at all. 'Radiohoerer' seems to be a really interesting blog. It has a lot of great livemusic as a stream or download.
Great discovery !

Anyway, in my humlbe opinion this is an excellent recording, of a great show with stellar performances of several songs. It brings back memories to when I went to see him, although I think his playing in Bremen sounds a little more gentle than what I witnessed in Brussels. No critique at all, every concert is different, and I wished I also could have attended this one. 

Playlist :
from this year's tour :
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
From his 2014 concert in Bremen : 
Invisible Hour / The Man I keep Hid / You can't fail me now / Monkey(cut off)


But I went to see him perform in Brussels, this was my experience.


woensdag 18 april 2018

Grace, Lizz Wright & Brussels




Yesterday morning, the newspaper reported of a Gay-couple who have been attacked in the center of Brussels on Monday night.... I hope I didn't scare you away now, but I wanted to start with the knowledge that I'm not naive in it all. We live in a world we all have things we don't understand. A group of people don't want to open up for things they don't understand, and within that group there are people who want to aggressively scare away, the things they don't understand. A few months ago, there was a wave of organized vandalism in the city. It wasn't the first and it won't be the last reporting of such things. No, I'm not naive in it...

But on Monday evening I was in that same Brussels to go and see Lizz Wright perform. I saw a different reality. It was real because I witnessed it, so it's also reality. One that doesn't make it to the newspapers.

It started when I stepped off the train and found my way towards the exit. A refugee addressed me, like he probably tries to address as many people as he can to try to make his family make it through today (to start with). As a farewell he said: “Thank you for looking at me."
With that 1 sentence he explained the most important thing when we don't understand each other. Don't turn away, open up, listen and look at each other.

I had some time before the concert started, so I strolled through the center in that beautiful evening with spring in the air. I witnessed a community full of different people. Ethnical, religious, interests, .... But everyone enjoyed the evening together, made fun together, listened to music and performed together. 2 cyclists bumped in to each other and people cared, helped and comforted. There was no fear at all in the air. Those of you who have been following me a bit know that a couple of years ago I wrote with a different tone when I was here. Also, the center of Brussels is a huge construction site currently. The 4-lane street, that cut the center in 2 is being adjusted to walking space, with water and green elements in it. Small narrow stairs to the subway station are opened and widened. Big ugly, old, empty buildings are taken down, and suddenly beautiful places are connected again. Light is coming in.

It was a wonderful appetizer for Lizz Wright's concert. She presented us a concert of older songs, and songs from her latest album Grace. She opened with 'Barley', followed by an amazing rendition of Neil Young's 'old man'. The evening went from one fantastic experience to the other. What an amazing voice she has. And!... What a talented band accompanied her. Chris Bruce on Guitar, Bobby Sparks on the Keys, Nicolas D'Amato on Bass and Brannen Temple on Drums.
The only thing I missed were those wonderful backing vocals on songs like 'Grace' and 'Seems I'm never tired of loving you'. Wouldn't it be amazing if suddenly a curtain opened behind her, and an entire Gospel Choir was there? The place would have exploded!  A well filled Ancienne Belgique embraced her and the band, and had the most wonderful evening. Several people tried to take that feel home with them on their smartphone, but we all know that is impossible. What we did all hoped for as being possible was that the concert lasted longer. But hey,... the time spent can't be taken away.

What more can I say, then the honest fact that I hope everyone can witness such an evening,

Greetings,
Stefan.

dinsdag 17 april 2018

All the things that I did & All the things that I didn't do

By extending their language to a band and reimagining the boundaries around what acoustic-centered two-part harmony can sound like, "All The Things That I Did and All The Things That I Didn't Do" carries listeners down a river and out into the open sea.(ANTI records)



'All the things that I did & All the things that I didn't do' is the title of the upcoming new release by the Milk Carton Kids. It will be released on June 29, 2018 on ANTI records. 
Today they launched their renewed website, with this info. You can pre-order the album on the site.

According to ANTI recordsit's not just the addition of the band here that creates something new. National politics left Ryan feeling disoriented and mournful. Pattengale’s relationship of seven years ended, and he found himself unexpectedly needing surgery for cancer. (He is cancer-free now, and accidentally broke his cigarette habit in the process.)
Though they didn't approach the new album conceptually, a theme of shattered realities began to emerge out of the songs that sparked to life. Recent events provided a bruising background for the record, yet the project is somehow bigger than any personal grief. Two-part harmonies ride acoustic guitars high above the haunting landscape created by the presence of the band, as if Americana went searching for a lost America.
If previous Milk Carton Kids productions recall plaintive missives from a faraway hometown, these songs sound more intimate, like a tragic midnight knock at your front door.
The album ricochets between familiar styles and experimental songs. "Just Look at Us Now" rejects easy sentiment, suggesting that hindsight only reveals how badly things have turned out. "It's a terrifying place to be," says Ryan, "when everything seemed to be going fine." The stunned "Mourning in America" holds up an atmospheric Polaroid from the Midwest—as Ryan explains it, "what it feels like to live in a country you thought you knew."



They already have 1 song for you to discover on their Spotify page.



Make sure to read at NPR's 'all things considered'  why they released this 10+minutes song, which is epic in length in comparison to their previous work.
The article also learns us, that the album will feature 12 songs. Other songs include :

one of their biggest departures, "Nothing Is Real," neither of The Milk Carton Kids plays guitar. Describing the recording session for it, Pattengale says, "That was one of the days we had maybe ten people in studio. The way that I connected to the song was by playing it on the piano. When we were in studio and having trouble figuring out the angle, I thought, 'Why don't we use the piano, and assign each person a part of what I'm playing?' That song used my piano part almost as if we were writing an arrangement."
Inside the theme of shattered realities that wires the album together, even elliptical songs somehow become direct. The lyrics for "Blindness," when set to music, acquired an unnerving undertone.
Western influences on "Younger Years" gallop over a snaking clarinet and under vocals looking for something to salvage from sorrow ("Love inside our hearts / is the only kind of savior we've been sent"). "You Break My Heart" features Pattengale's solo vocals. Harmony turns "I've Been Loving You" into visceral grief. "For much of my life I've avoided that kind of intimacy and immediacy in my own writing," says Pattengale, "but you have to leave your blood on the page. It's wonderful, but it can also be a terrifying thing."
"Big Time" brings the energy of their live performances into the studio. "The goal was actually to record this one with a string band," Ryan says. "So everybody was in the room together. Lyrically, this one deals in the most hopeful way with some of the themes of the record."
The atmosphere on much of the album is both lush and spare, like waking up at night to find yourself on an ice floe that has drifted far from shore. "A Sea of Roses" traces its narrator's burial wishes, while "Unwinnable War" went through a metamorphosis as it developed. "If these are the sides we're staking out, no one side or the other can win," says Ryan. "We lose sight of the damage the battle does."
The title track, "All the Things…" presents a ledger of the countless tiny moments in a relationship from the vantage point of its passage into memory. ("The story of how the end came to be. How you became you. How I became me.")
(ANTI press release)

 NPR has some words from Joe as well.

  Joe told me(NPR) in an email that he's "been witness to the pan of their shared camera from wide cultural observance to a tighter focus of introspection. Even when gesturing broadly to our national traumas ('Mourning In America,' one fine example). And as they have sharpened their focus, Kenneth and Joey have expanded their sound — opened the fences to invite in fresh characters who throw shade and new depths of color, placing smaller stories within broader frames — acknowledging greater range while amplifying the intimacy inherent to their essential duet.
Joe Henry went on to say that there is "nary a better example of this balance than 'One More For the Road.' We feel the storm gathering. But though this road is dark and perilous, it doesn't go on forever."

And to be complete : 1 more musician is mentioned, that you can't find on yesterday's post.




maandag 16 april 2018

The Milk Carton Kids & Band

A while ago I already posted some little insights on the fact, that a new album by The Milk Carton Kids, produced by Joe, featured also other people then Kenneth and Joey alone.

Over the last few weeks they teased us a bit with short clips on their social media. Today they gave us a small video from in the studio, presenting us everyone around.





We can see :
Paul Kowert from the punch brothers : Double Bass
Dennis Crouch : Double Bass
Russ Pahl : Pedal Steel Guitar, Mandolin and Electric Guitar
Brittany Haas : Fiddle and Mandolin
Pat Sansone from WILCO : Hammond Organ, Mellotron and Piano
Nat Smith : Cello, Octave Mandolin and Hammond Organ
Jay Bellerose : Drums
Levon Henry : Reeds

And off Course : Joe Henry with Ryan Freeland behind the Desk .
In my earlier post we also saw Lindsay Loubelly singing with them. On the musicstand in front of her, a song entitled 'Big Time'.

We are expecting 'The Milk Carton Kids + band'. That's for sure now.


maandag 9 april 2018

Bremen concert to be aired on April 14.

Joe's concert in Bremen last February was recorded for radio Bremen. (They also recorded his concert when he toured with Invisible Hour a few years back)

You can listen to it on saturday, April 14th at 22:00h (European time).

You have on the webpage a button 'Jetzt anhören' . That is the livestream of the radiostation. So click that next staurday at 22h.


vrijdag 6 april 2018

The Amy Helm album is on the Horizon.

So far, we had little insights on the upcoming Amy Helm Album that Joe produced.

Poughkeepsie journal gives us the following info.

Helm’s second annual Woodshed Residency Tour comes as she is gearing up to release a new record produced by musician Joe Henry. The album is scheduled for release in 2018. 
Helm and Henry during their own performances dig deep. They share with their audiences a nuanced framework of artistic expression that roars with passion.

Underscoring it all is musical momentum that relies on sharp attention to detail. A project that features Henry and Helm should offer many dimensions. And you can get a sense of it all beginning this weekend.


Update :Timesunion tells us, it will be released in September.

On her new album, slated for a September release, Helm placed control in the hands of Joe Henry, a producer noted for his work with Billy Bragg, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez, Aaron Neville and Allen Toussaint.
"I wanted this to really be a Joe Henry record, so I was very happy to hand it over" Helm said. "He has his own environment he creates sonically. I was drawn to how specifically connected he is with the singer; he has a way of letting a voice ring.
"We did the album in a very different way," she said, noting that its 13 songs were recorded live with no overdubs over the course of four days. "None of this was familiar; it wasn't the Barn, it wasn't Woodstock. It was a completely new thing at a studio in L.A. It challenged me to dig in."

vrijdag 30 maart 2018

'God only knows' in the eyes of P. Otten

On this Easter weekend, I'm sharing someone else's thoughts on Joe's song : 'God only knows'

I came across this text this week, and I wanted to give the opportunity to the non-german speakers, a chance to read it. So I made this translation.
You can read the original version on theosalon.blogspot.


This is a song that lures you to look at life with mercy. Because Mercy says: The world is better with you than without you. About "God Only Knows" by Joe Henry.

- By Peter Otten



A friend brought this song to my attention, and after several listens, I thought: it fits wonderfully in these times. In how long it is no longer black against white, lie against truth, fake against news, me against you, yes against no, all these things that are defined against us. We are somehow in a time of sharp contours. No place for the in between. No room for pastel. No resonance space for intermediate tones. "We'd almost lost the heart to know" sings Joe Henry. " How to keep our best in mind."

'The best of me'. At first, I had to think about what that is for me: ‘the best of me’ - It's nice that someone is singing it. I nearly would have forgotten about it. But what is the best of me? I could list all kinds of talents now or things like that. However. Joe Henry seems to be on a different level. The best of you is the ability to look with Mercy to the world.

Mercy is a strange, antique word that we do not use in everyday life so often. I know it from movies about knights: where a warrior swings his sword over someone vanquished and decides in the next second whether victory plays out his power and takes the life of the vanquished, begging for mercy. In movies, It always implies power changes. A warrior lets his power go. And by letting go of his power, the other is left in dependency. He owes the other man that he is well. That he lives on.
But it actually means something else. Mercy is that extra that someone gives without him having to. Without hidden motives. Out of an inner exuberance, a positive mood, feeling of affection. A love for life, creation, or an other person. Mercy comes from an attitude of love for life, love of life, affection for other creatures. Mercy means: The world is better with you than without you. And I want you to be well, that you live well, that you have all the life you need. I want you to have your luck. No matter who you are. In French there is a term gratuité. It’s not so easy to translate, but it describes much better than the German term gnade, what it is about. Gratuité means that extra that someone gives that’s not at all necessary, that extra that no one releases, gives, puts in the bag - not to buy another one, or to prove his power to him. Gratuité is the more without hidden motive. It is the unnecessary more that no one can simply expect, but that has only one purpose, namely, that you fare well. Your well-being makes the world a better place.

But the world is not like that, Joe Henry knows that. It has an angry face. People are acting unforgiving. The use of will and power does not automatically give you the right, neither yours or our freedom. Automatically nothing works here.

But what should be done? Joe Henry grabs an image. He describes a loving couple who may be embracing down the street. Both lovers create a retreat, "a full retreatment", a retreat, a kind of space capsule. In a sense, the two of them create a secluded, mild perspective on each other - and with that : on the world as well. “The worst of life looks beautiful as it slips away in full retreat " The world is beautiful when viewed from a hideaway. Out of a kind of space rasp, which creates the view for what is actually necessary : that people can be happy.

So this song asks for your refuge, your retreatment, your space capsule.

Perhaps it is the space capsule of the togetherness that attracts people to the exuberance that mercy also contains. Being together, being safe in one another, love - maybe this retreatment - whatever it is – it seduces people to do more.

Sometimes this ‘more’ is no more than just letting go of your own personal interests. Not to overlook one's own weaknesses or weaknesses of others, but not to make one's own attitude the sole standard. Sometimes it's just that: let the joy of life just take you, no matter where.
This is a song that entices you not to forget the best of you: to be gracious to the world, to look at life, yourself and me and others. All this with an attitude of gratuité, that uncalculated More. With generosity. With an open view. Friendly. Honored. Mildly. Not immediately surmise and see restrictions where there are none. This is not a song for the discerning, but a song that sings of generosity. Because even the God over whom Joe Henry sings, can only be imagined generously, not as a whiner. “God only knows that we mean well, God knows that we just don't know how.” Even when it doesn’t always work.

Now isn’t that a comforting Easter image.  Sing if you can : “But I'll try to be your light in love, and pray that it’s enough for now”.

That’s enough. That’s Gratuité,  that’s the best of you.

zaterdag 17 maart 2018

Mountain stage performance online

Last December Joe performed on NPR's Mountain stage radio session.

Backed up by Levon Henry, Patrick Warren, Jay Bellerose, David Piltch he performed the following songs :
Climb / Believer / River Floor / Keep us in song / Trampoline.

It is available now online  : NPR's Mountain Stage Podcasts .
Or in the Mountain Stage Archives.

I loved it !. It's a great recording of Joe and band performing these songs.


If you had Carte Blanche...

Last month, Belgian online magazine enola, had an interview with Joe. He was at the time touring with his album Thrum in Europe.

They asked him who he would like to produce, if he had Carte Blanche.

"Sonny Rollins, or Bill Withers. I even think I already wrote both of them, or talked to them.

Sonny has retired, and I don't think he'll make another record. I believe around 8 years ago, I wrote him a letter to say it was a dream for me to work with him. He was verry friendly and he wrote me back, saying he was verry busy. His wife passed away recently at the time, so my dream had to wait. 


They also asked him for which album he would like to be remembered.

"Tough choice. For more than 1 reason it could be Allen Toussaint's The Bright Mississippi. I am verry proud of the way we worked on that one, and I really loved him. 
Another one I'm verry proud of, is Don't Give up on Me (Solomon Burke). Maybe because it came so early in my producing career. I'd only produced two other artists at the time, so the fact that I got the job was not a safe gamble for him. It was an important album for both of us."

(freely translated. Original interview by Bjorn Weynants for Enola)



coincidentally, on twitter, someone suggested a collaboration with Bob Dylan, and if time travelling existed : Edith Piaff.

I'm all for it.

dinsdag 13 maart 2018

Guest Appearance at Glen Hansard show



Glen Hansard performed with and without the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall on Sunday.

Joe Henry performed 'Keep us in song' during that show. 
read the review at presstelegram.com

Joe and Glen worked f.e. together on his EP drive all night



zondag 11 maart 2018

We have 1 more song for you, from the great Joe Henry...




The broadcast from the previous episode of live from here with Chris Thile, ended with a cover of Joe's Our Song.

The episode featured as guests : The Wood Brothers, Phoebe Bridgers and Bobcat Goldthwait.

Enjoy the entire show, and off course especially the verry ending. It's worth your time !


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'. 

Greetings,
Stefan.

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 :

Trampoline
Believer
Climb
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.



Greetings,
Stefan.



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

zaterdag 27 januari 2018

JH on Acoustic Cafe

without mortality, there can be no morality


Joe was a guest on radio showcase Acoustic Cafe.



He played some songs from his latest album Thrum live. Besides talking about that album he, also spoke about producing the Steep Canyon RangersHarry Belafonte,... about meeting Joan Baez, and hearing her perform on of his songs for the upcoming album Whistle down the wind. On that album you will find Joan Baez bring Joe's 'Civil War'.

Listen to this episode following this link.

maandag 22 januari 2018

Natalie Duncan opening for Joe in London.

On his Facebookpage, Joe Henry announced that Nathalie Duncan will be opening for him at kings place in London.

when i am asked to name an album i am particularly proud of having produced but may also have been significantly overlooked upon release, it is one called "devil in me" by natalie duncan that frequently springs first to mind.
recorded at peter gabriel's Real World studio near bath, england in december of 2011, natalie's inaugural lives in that rarified ether where also dwells the first albums of roberta flack...the mid-70s recordings of nina simone.
she's that heavy.
and i am proud to announce she'll open the show for me febraury 1st, at King's Place in london. don't miss her.


Tickets still available.


woensdag 17 januari 2018

Bremen Concert broadcasted + tickets info

Joe will perform in Bremen, Germany on February 10. Just like during the European Invisible Hour Tour This concert will be aired on  radio Bremen.

The airing-date is not set yet, I'll keep you updated on that one.

 
Tickets for this concert are still available.

zondag 14 januari 2018

JH on Poetry

Read a wonderful talk with Joe Henry about Poetry on lareviewofbooks.org

Henry recently “outted” himself in the press as a lover of poetry, whose blues-inflected songs grow directly out of the verse he reads. Until now, he has not spoken in detail about his poetic passions and influence. read more

New released tracks from Joan Baez & Steep Canyon Rangers

Accompanied by an interview with Rolling stone magazine, Joan Baez released the titletrack of her upcoming album : 'Whistle down the wind'.




Has Tom Waits ever specifically written a song for you?No, I've just found his music and I know that if I scratch the surface, I'll come up with something. I wish he would write something for me, but he didn't have to write "Last Leaf" for me; it was just there. It's a song about the timing in my life and it makes me laugh. But also, I am the last leaf on the tree for lots of folks.(rollingstone)
(Make sure to read that entire interview.) 




The Steep Canyon rangers released 'Let me out of this town' from their album 'Out in the open', which will be released in 2 weeks.
At tasteofcountry.com they say about it :

"Recording 'Let Me Out of This Town' required patience, keeping the horse on a tight rein until, by the end, you can’t hold back any longer and hell has broken loose!" vocalist and banjo player Graham Sharp says.

Full tracklist :
1. "Farmers and Pharaohs"
2. "Let Me Out of This Town" (listen)
3. "Out in the Open"
4. "Can’t Get Home"
5. "Going Midwest" (listen)
6. "When She Was Mine"
7. "Love Harder"
8. "Shenandoah Valley"
9. "Best of Me"
10. "Roadside Anthems"
11. "Let Me Die in My Footsteps"
12. "The Speed We’re Traveling" (listen)