C4S3CD3 You might know Joe Henry for a couple of reasons other than his music, he is a renowned producer having produced amongst many, Solomon Burke’s Grammy winning Don’t Give Up On Me, he’s also the Brother-in Law of Madonna and I tell you this only because he’s probably more famous for these reasons rather his music and this is a great tragedy.
This album has a sticker on the front which is an endorsement from Elvis Costello and as Ron Sexsmith can confirm this is usually the kiss of death on a commercial release. Costello seems to try and champion artists that he believes deserve wider recognision of their work but unfortunately I think this has failed with Henry. There are a lot of parallels between Sexsmith and Henry, both are seen by successful musicians as amazing artists and songwriters, both consistently release quality music to critical acclaim, both are unable to gain any commercial success!
Henry’s music is very hard to define and I think that’s half the problem, part Americana, part experimental jazz, part country it doesn’t sit comfortably within any genre and sometimes what an artists need is a label, any label. If I was to try and describe I would say it’s very close to Tom Waits music without the gravel chewing vocals.
I have four Joe Henry albums and I think that’s about half of his output so you can see he’s no fly by night artist. This is the least played of the four only because it’s the newest album I have, and as my music collection has grown I have more music and therefore have more choice and therefore play CD’s less, but I remember playing his Trampoline album virtually on a loop and would have said it was my favourite album but I realise that actually it’s just the one I know the most. This is a great album, understated and I guess best listened to as the sun goes down with a good glass of red in your hand. It’s chilled and deserves to be appreciated in its entirety.
It’s hard to pick out tracks from this album, such is the quality, tracks seem to merge into each other and before you realise the album is finished, but if I had to choose then Sold, and This Afternoon would be my favourites.
Listening to this again I would say Henry’s music lends it’s self to jazz more than any other genre on this album but don’t left that put you off, there is loads to like about Joe Henry and this album.