NPR : World Cafe

Filed Under:

Joe Henry On World Cafe

Since his 1986 studio debut Talk of Heaven, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and producer Joe Henry has defied convention. Known best for his country-inspired work, Henry reinvigorates each new release by injecting hints of soul, blues, jazz and funk. He's produced albums by Aimee Mann, Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint, and House star Hugh Laurie.

Henry's latest album, Reverie, ventures even deeper into new musical territory. He recorded and produced the album in his South Pasadena basement studio, aiming to forge a "raw, raucous and messy" sound. He left his windows open — with microphones attached — to capture the sounds of passing traffic and shouting neighbors. With a backing band that included T-Bone Burnett's drummer Jay Bellerose, Tom Waits' guitarist Mark Ribot, pianist Keefus Ciancia, and guest vocalist Lisa Hannigan, Henry granted his players free license to let the music come as they felt it should. The result is a stripped-bare blend of blues and folk, its sonic naturalism starkly contrasted with Henry's nuanced musicianship.

Today's session of World Cafe showcases Henry without the street noise — he performs a solo set of four songs from Reverie with just his voice and acoustic guitar.

Copyright 2011 WXPN-FM. To see more, visit http://www.xpn.org/.

NPR

Villainous Scheme Makes Dozens A Few Minutes Late

A 40-foot inflatable "minion" — the yellow, unintelligible sidekicks from the Despicable Me movies who recently were given their own spinoff — broke loose and blocked traffic in Dublin this week.
WAMU 88.5

The Surprising Roots of Barbecue

We speak with culinary historian Michael Twitty about the roots of familiar southern dishes in African and Native American food traditions.

WAMU 88.5

President Obama's Iran Speech

Veteran journalist Marvin Kalb joins us to discuss the parallels between JFK's nuclear disarmament speech fifty years ago and President Obama's speech on the nuclear deal with Iran.

WAMU 88.5

The Future Of D.C. Taxis: Ernest Chrappah Discusses Competition And Change

The new chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission wants to make it a nimble, innovating agency. He discussed those goals and the related challenges with WAMU 88.5's Martin Di Caro.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.