Thursday, November 22, 2007

Some free Joe Henry downloads

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I’m halfway between L.A. and Phoenix, on my way to do the family thing.

Won’t let that interfere with my FREE MP3 compulsion, though.

Two days ago, in mentioning Solomon Burke’s album “Don’t Give Up On Me,” I neglected one salient fact: It was produced by Joe Henry.

Come to find out, Joe Henry is hot stuff in a recording studio. He has worked with Elvis Costello, Ani DiFranco, Loudon Wainwright III, Aimee Mann, and soul-music legends like Allen Toussaint, Mavis Staples and Billy Preston.

Joe Henry has also been out there as a singer-songwriter for more than 20 years. He released a new CD in September called “Civilians.”

If you follow this link to Joe Henry’s website, you’ll see that he’s giving away full-length MP3 downloads of four tracks off the new album: “Civilians,” “Time Is a Lion,” “You Can’t Fail Me Now” and “Our Song.”

If you listen to “Time Is a Lion” streaming on my Vox blog (click here), you’ll see why Joe Henry’s biggest boosters compare him to Tom Waits.


Russell said...

Thanks for profiling the great Joe Henry. I was going to add a few things to your entry but the link to the article you provided does a much better job than I could. Just pick up a copy of CIVILIANS people.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Were you gonna add that he's Madonna's brother-in-law? Actually, as a fan, you probably hate that factoid because it's so irrelevant.

russell said...

Don't hate that fact and wasn't going to add it, but, now that you mention it, I realize that may have been the 1st article about him not to have mentioned that fact.

BTW, just to be a language geek, "factoid" actually means "not a fact". Thanks CNN for putting that into the national lexicon!

Undercover Black Man said...

Dang Russell... between you and dez, I got language police all over me! ;^D

But your background info on the word "factoid" was unknown to me... and a useful little factette.

S.O.L. said...

I will not be out factoid-ed

Not only is Joe Henry married to Madonna's sister but he has the distinction if you want to call it, of having gone to grade school with Madonna and Jeffrey Dalmer.

I profiled Joe in the L.A. Daily News back in his early days. Saw him and Loudon Wainright III last week in L.A. at the El Rey -- a great concert in part because they were surrounded by an impressive group of studio musicians, all of whom played on the new CD's by both men.

"Civilians" as as you mentioned is Joe's disk and Joe and Loudon did the soundtrack for "Knocked Up" called "Strange Weirdos" which is really excellent.

David if you dig this new record, I recommend "Fuse," "Scar" and "Trampoline" as other Joe Henry disks worth exploring. You can really see in his work over the last say, 15 years or so, how he's developed his current sound.

And he has the coolest cover art too. And he once got the word "chifforobe" into a song, which warms this writer's heart.

russell said...

I'm actually not much of a language PO-lice, "factoid" is just one I always remember. s.o.l you give a lot of good recs on Henry's discs but I have to say I his new one and TINY VOICES which immediately preceded it are my personal favorite-oids! ;)

Undercover Black Man said...

S.O.L.: Cool. I know that prideful feeling when you write about a talented artist early.

Thanks for the recommendations.

S.O.L. said...


You get no argument from me. I haven't stopped listening to "Civilians" since I got it last month. I believe it to be his best album to date. I haven't listened much to Tiny Voices, but returned to it recently and like it a lot. My recommendations were more of an overall this is who Joe Henry is vibe, showing his growth over the last 10 years to the artist he has become.

Have you heard his really old stuff? Shuffletown? Short Man's Room or Kindness of the World? He did the latter two with help from the Jayhawks, who were basically his backing band. They're "Americana" slash roots music, midwest style. A lot of indications of where he was headed but more spare and much more twang.

I've always loved how well read he seems to be. His lyrics have always been evocative, singularly American to my ear and somewhat influenced by the few years of his childhood he spent in the South (his family moved from Detroit to Atlanta I think).

I could talk about him forever as you can see. He's one of my desert island requirements.

Russell said...


Yes I have KINDNESS OF THE WORLD and like it a lot but don't listen to it much. I picked up SHUFFLETOWN recently but have barely spun it. I understand I need to get SHORT MAN's ROOM one of these days.

Joe's family actually went from Atlanta to Detroit. Where he attended high school with Madonna (in the same grade) and his now betrothed Melanie. My wife teaches 3rd grade in South Pasadena where their son passed through and their daughter still attends. We once attended a dinner party with them and they were simply lovely people.

We went to the LARGO show the Friday after CIVILIANS came out and it was truly a great show.

As David points out in the article to which he linked us, Joe is much like Tom Waits in that he continues to develop as an artist album after album. I'm happy that he has a viable professional career and a flourishing artistic career.

BTW I'm not sure if you've read any of his "essays" on his website (about the MLK Day parade, Ray Charles' death, Lorne Greene) not to mention the fantastic "liner notes" on the new album but he's quite a writer on the page as well as on the musical scale

S.O.L. said...


Thanks for correcting me -- I knew he spent some time living in the south and I forgot which way that went. Yes, Short Man's Room is pretty amazing. I highly recommend it.

I actually wrote my first novel while listening to Joe Henry's early CDs. When I interviewed him back in the mid 90s, we talked a lot about books and writers (he was reading Eudora Welty at the time I think) and I've always looked forward to his essays, which as you say, are as compelling as his songs.

I wish he'd post his lyrics on his website, though. I bought the new CD off iTunes and no booklet included. Looks like I'm going to have to go out and buy the actual CD too.