Joe Henry; Civilians (Anti/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

 |   |  <1 min read

Joe Henry: You Can't Fail Me Now
Joe Henry; Civilians (Anti/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

With a small band, and guests Bill Frisell (on guitar) and Van Dyke Parks (piano), the much ignored Henry continues his singular path which owes a little to a less grumbly Tom Waits but remains properly in the singer-songwriter tradition with nods to folk and the blues.

Here are classically-framed ballads (You Can't Fail Me Now) and songs with social and political resonance (Civil War, the lament-filled Our Song), and Henry adopts a more direct lyrical and musical approach than some of his previous outings.

He might have taken that step back from angularity, but nothing here feels like a compromise of musical intelligence. And as always his lyrics draw you in to some unusual perspectives or odd narratives.

This is an excellent entry level to Henry, who spends much of his time these days a producer (mostly recently for Elvis Costello, Solomon Burke).

In Parker's Mood he sings "God is in the details" -- and that is true of this quietly exceptional album.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Howe Gelb and a Band of Gypsies: Alegrias (Fire)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Howe Gelb and a Band of Gypsies: Alegrias (Fire)

The enormously prolific Howe Gelb (interviewed here in depth) is behind the Tucson band Giant Sand (from which Calexico became a more commercially successful split-off) and has also recorded a... > Read more

Rolf Lislevand: Nuova Musiche (ECM New Series)

Rolf Lislevand: Nuova Musiche (ECM New Series)

The clue here is the record label, this is on a long-running subsidiary imprint within the famous ECM jazz label which is specifically for classical music, although not "classical music"... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . WILD MAN FISCHER: Psycho street singer and shouter

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . WILD MAN FISCHER: Psycho street singer and shouter

Given Frank Zappa's proclivity towards oddball performers and different musicians -- Captain Beefheart, the GTOs, the Shaggs -- it's hardly surprising he should be the one who brought Wild Man... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Mike Nock

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Mike Nock

Really, where do you start when introducing Mike Nock? Composer, pianist, teacher, collaborator, musical explorer, jazz legend, New Zealand finest jazz export . . .? Nock's life was covered... > Read more