Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

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Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby The Fish » 24 Mar 2015, 17:31

A few years earlier and Joe Henry would probably have been saddled with the dreaded ”new Dylan” tag. As it is he’s done it the hard way. Never a household name, but acquiring a cult following and releasing a succession of albums gaining critical acclaim and a growing following along the way.
I first became aware of him following the inclusion of Trampoline in the MOJO end of year list. I took a punt and soon bought everything else available. I have of course bought everything since and can honestly say just about every album he has released has met or exceeded my expectations.
I’m guessing there are those on BCB who have never heard a note, so what to expect. Well the voice certainly isn’t conventional, not nasal like Dylan but strangely guttural I suppose for want of a better word. I find it however a thing of wonder and it is very much at the forefront of things. There are no strumming guitars here or standard drum/bass/guitar line ups playing “the song” Instead we get marvelous soundscapes and textures. In short musicality. It is no surprise that Joe Henry has found a lucrative second career as a producer.

A couple of examples......





His latest album Invisible Hour was definitely my album of the year last year and I was certainly pleased to see it on Guy E's list, especially as I was starting to think it was just myself and Spec who appreciated his work. Anyway two tracks. If you get bored of the second one then clearly it isn't for you (9 minutes with no chorus) but stay for the ride and listen to the words and hopefully you will be rewarded. I have been just mesmerised by this track since I first heard it.





Any other fans with anything to add ?
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby sloopjohnc » 24 Mar 2015, 18:06

All I know about him is that he's married to Madonna's sister.

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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby jimboo » 24 Mar 2015, 18:13

Civilians is a fantastic album , thanks for the reminder . Songs such as wave are like mini movies , wonderful songwriter and singer.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby TG » 24 Mar 2015, 18:28

I have the Tiny Voices and Scar CDs and this is as good a reminder as I'm likely to receive that they need a proper relisten. His records are always entertaining. His production work with the likes of Solomon Burke, Mose Allison, Costello/Toussaint and Bettye LaVette are all stellar jobs.

I remember when he was just Madonna's in-law. He's found his way out of that shadow.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby hookfinger » 24 Mar 2015, 19:39

I was always worried he would get lumped in with Tom Waits, which would be a huge disservice to Henry. I agree that the new one is indeed excellent and I like the inclusion of the demos for comparison. Saw him at WCL once. Pretty sure I have the setlist at home. Will give a look this afternoon.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 24 Mar 2015, 21:42

I thought it said "Journey"
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 25 Mar 2015, 13:20

(sorry - hope I didn't kill the thread)
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Spec » 26 Mar 2015, 11:38

I also started with Trampoline and have bought everything else before and since.

Scar is my favourite followed by Trampoline and Tiny Voices. But a beginner could start almost anywhere (from Trampoline onwards).

I like when he tries to blend jazz into his music.

A couple of favourite tracks:




There is a nice story online somewhere about him writing Richard Pryor and getting permission for the song.

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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Six String » 26 Mar 2015, 15:25

I think I learned of him through Scar which has Ornette Coleman on a few tracks. I was attracted to his songwriting and his musical style. Sometime after that release circa 1999 he played a local club and I caught it and he blew me away. He had brought a bunch of studio cats/friends along for the band. I remember the drummer being this rather large dude that played well. The next time I saw the drummer he was on the Grammys playing behind Elton John and then later became McCartney's drummer which is still his gig. He's never been back sadly but I pick up his albums when I run across them as I did a month ago when I picked up Fuse. I don't even know how many albums he has but I've liked everything I've heard. His sister-in-law recorded one of his songs but picked up the tempo and turned it into a dance number.

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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Guy E » 28 Mar 2015, 04:01

Joe Henry's latest album is his best.

I've always liked the guy a lot. His first album was on the Portrait label and then he was on Coyote, a label run by a friend. I did the logo artwork. It was a typical ego thang with the owner... he had to name the label after himself. So it was either Fall On Records (a play on his name, Fallon) or Fish Head Records cause some people thought he had puckery fish lips, or... Coyote Records because he'd been crouching in his bathtub at 7:00AM after a long coked-out party and was howling like a coyote. The nickname kind of stuck. I was doing artwork for the first few Coyote releases and needed to know the label name, but he was hemming and hawing. When he told me the three options I immediately visualized the Coyote logo and ran across the street to my apartment and dashed it off on a scrap of mylar. I took it back to the club and Steve was pissing himself, he thought it was hysterical... SOLD! That was now the official name and logo.

I'm sure Joe Henry is glad he didn't consider signing to Fish Head Records.
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I always thought it was a good logo... you can't wash the wild out of rock n roll.

I basically copied the coyote from the back of Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
Last edited by Guy E on 17 Jul 2015, 17:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby hookfinger » 28 Mar 2015, 15:04

First I ever ran across the Coyote label was the Luxury Condos comp. Cool story, Guy.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Six String » 17 Jul 2015, 06:25

I'm on a Joe Henry kick these days. In recent weeks I've picked up Reverie and Tiny voices and I've really loved them. i've had Scars, Fuse and a compilation for years and I try to remember to look for his stuff when I go into a shop. The problem is there aren't to many titles floating around these parts.

I saw him shortly after the turn of the century I believe and he and his band were great. I'd go see him again in a heartbeat.

I really like the instrumentation on Tiny Voices. Bass Clarinet! Along with piano, trumpet, tenor sax, clarinet (reeds by jazz great Don Byron) plus the usual bass, drum, guitar. I love the bass clarinet but it isn't even real common in jazz so hearing it on a rock album (if you can call it rock) is real surprising and much appreciated. It adds an interesting texture unlike anything else.

He's playing for free at Prospect Park Bandshell on July 18th!
Also Toronto at High's Room the 19th.

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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Hightea » 17 Jul 2015, 15:31

Yes a Fan of Joe Henry.
Saw him a few times over the past 10 years.
In regards to his albums I've got a few but tend to put on Civilians when I'm in the mood for him.
Entertaining guitarist and I like his lyrics.

Will see him tomorrow at Celebrate Brooklyn.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Guy E » 17 Jul 2015, 17:37

Six String wrote:I'm on a Joe Henry kick these days. In recent weeks I've picked up Reverie and Tiny voices and I've really loved them. i've had Scars, Fuse and a compilation for years and I try to remember to look for his stuff when I go into a shop. The problem is there aren't to many titles floating around these parts.

I saw him shortly after the turn of the century I believe and he and his band were great. I'd go see him again in a heartbeat.

I really like the instrumentation on Tiny Voices. Bass Clarinet! Along with piano, trumpet, tenor sax, clarinet (reeds by jazz great Don Byron) plus the usual bass, drum, guitar. I love the bass clarinet but it isn't even real common in jazz so hearing it on a rock album (if you can call it rock) is real surprising and much appreciated. It adds an interesting texture unlike anything else.

He's playing for free at Prospect Park Bandshell on July 18th!
Also Toronto at High's Room the 19th.

You should track down his latest album, Invisible Hour. His son, Levon Henry did the horn arrangements and plays on the album. There's something distinctive about his approach; really evocative and effective, but spare/judicious. I really look forward to the moments when his playing comes-in and I rarely feel that way about horns and woodwinds on an album by a singer-songwriter.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Six String » 19 Jul 2015, 04:55

Hightea wrote:Yes a Fan of Joe Henry.
Saw him a few times over the past 10 years.
In regards to his albums I've got a few but tend to put on Civilians when I'm in the mood for him.
Entertaining guitarist and I like his lyrics.

Will see him tomorrow at Celebrate Brooklyn.



I saw on his web site that he was playing the Prospect Park Bandshell for free. Sweet! I'm jealous.

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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Six String » 19 Jul 2015, 06:39

Guy E wrote:
Six String wrote:I'm on a Joe Henry kick these days. In recent weeks I've picked up Reverie and Tiny voices and I've really loved them. i've had Scars, Fuse and a compilation for years and I try to remember to look for his stuff when I go into a shop. The problem is there aren't to many titles floating around these parts.

I saw him shortly after the turn of the century I believe and he and his band were great. I'd go see him again in a heartbeat.

I really like the instrumentation on Tiny Voices. Bass Clarinet! Along with piano, trumpet, tenor sax, clarinet (reeds by jazz great Don Byron) plus the usual bass, drum, guitar. I love the bass clarinet but it isn't even real common in jazz so hearing it on a rock album (if you can call it rock) is real surprising and much appreciated. It adds an interesting texture unlike anything else.

He's playing for free at Prospect Park Bandshell on July 18th!
Also Toronto at High's Room the 19th.

You should track down his latest album, Invisible Hour. His son, Levon Henry did the horn arrangements and plays on the album. There's something distinctive about his approach; really evocative and effective, but spare/judicious. I really look forward to the moments when his playing comes-in and I rarely feel that way about horns and woodwinds on an album by a singer-songwriter.


I have every intention of getting Invisible Hour but I want to hear more of his earlier work first if that makes sense. I don't feel like I have to be perfectly sequential but I want to watch the growth a bit. I don't do that with every artist, especially one with a discography like Joe. That's a lot of albums. Do I really want them all? No, I don't. But I DON'T WANT TO MISS THE GOOD ONES! :D I read your posts over in Hoffman land too.

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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Guy E » 19 Jul 2015, 20:00

I went to the show in Propect Park last night. The tattooed heavy metal soundman pretty much sabotaged Joe Henry's set. I mean, from watching the drummer's movements and the percussion instruments he was playing, it looked like he was an interesting player. But since I couldn't hear much other than the thundering stand-up bass, Joe's vocals and Joe's acoustic guitar, it was hard to tell. I'm exaggerating a bit, David Mansfield, Marc Ribot and son Levon Henry were audible most of the time, but it was probably the worst, muddiest live sound I've heard this century. Abysmal for most of the set... it started to improve slightly during his last two or three songs.

And then, miraculously it sounded great from the first note of Rhiannon Giddens performance. She was really fantastic. What a voice! And what a wonderful musicologist's muse she's exploring. Fantastic use of cello, 19th Century banjo (which sounds like a baritone banjo or something) lots of wild castanet playing that would put the likes of Ginger Baker to shame... it was a marvelous concert.

I'm really glad I went, but I was very frustrated during Henry's set.


:
Last edited by Guy E on 19 Jul 2015, 22:00, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Guy E » 19 Jul 2015, 20:10

Six String wrote:I have every intention of getting Invisible Hour but I want to hear more of his earlier work first if that makes sense. I don't feel like I have to be perfectly sequential but I want to watch the growth a bit. I don't do that with every artist, especially one with a discography like Joe. That's a lot of albums. Do I really want them all? No, I don't. But I DON'T WANT TO MISS THE GOOD ONES! :D I read your posts over in Hoffman land too.

I think Henry kind of dismisses his early albums. I like them and am especially fond of Shuffletown, which was produced by T-Bone Burnett and features a fabulous cover photo that was taken by my friend Sharon Guynup (not to mention a nostalgia-triggering appearance of Guy E's own Coyote logo!). The other Coyote album Murder of Crows was produced by Anton Fier (who I know) and it features Mick Taylor on guitar, but I wouldn't really recommend it. The two albums that followed on the Mammoth label are solid.

I think Henry feels he turned a corner with Trampoline, which I highly recommend, and then hit stride with Fuse in 1999. The next two, Scar and Tiny Voices are fantastic and then the next three kind of bleed together in my mind... Civilians, Blood From Stars and Reverie. Honestly, I probably haven't listened to them enough, but his latest, Invisible Hour really captured my ear from the first.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Six String » 20 Jul 2015, 05:42

I have Trampoline, Civilian and one other on their way to me as we speak. I'll probably post my critique here.
That's a shame about JH's sound. I'm sure he was aware how much his sound was sucking and beng kind of powerless. Oh well, can't beat the price. The other artist sounded really interesting (in a good way ;) ).

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Re: Beyond the 130 - Joe Henry

Postby Six String » 23 Jul 2015, 20:33

I got the album he recorded with some of the Jayhawks yesterday and listened to some of it on the way to work. It's more raw in both execution and SQ compared to his others. The drums in particular sound poorly recorded.