American Roots Craftsman
In a career spanning more than 25 years, Joe Henry has left an indelible and unique imprint on American popular music. As a songwriter and artist, Henry is celebrated for his exploration of the human experience. A hyper-literate storyteller, by turns dark, devastating, and hopeful, he draws an author’s eye for the overlooked detail across a broad swath of American musical styles — rock, jazz and blues — rendering genre modifiers useless.
Henry has collaborated with many notable American artists on his own body of work, from T Bone Burnett, Daniel Lanois, and Van Dyke Parks on one side of the spectrum, to Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Brad Mehldau, and Bill Frisell on the other. A three-time-Grammy-winning producer, Henry has made records for Bonnie Raitt, Hugh Laurie, Lisa Hannigan, Elvis Costello, and Solomon Burke among many others.
Additionally, Henry has taken his musical talents to film and television. He has scored music for the films Jesus’ Son, Knocked Up, and Motherhood, as well as produced tracks for the film I’m Not There. His song “Stars” was featured in the closing credits in the fourth season of HBO’s Six Feet Under.
In 2013, Algonquin Press published, “Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World that Made Him,” a book co-written by Joe and his brother Dave Henry.
This past June, Henry released his thirteenth album Invisible Hour – his first since 2011’s acclaimed Reverie. Produced by Henry and released on his own Work Song label, the album features numerous guests including The Milk Carton Kids as well as Lisa Hannigan, who co-wrote the title track along with Henry and best-selling novelist Colum McCann.
As a solo artist and a producer alike, Henry’s records are marked with a consistent sonic depth, attention to narrative, and emphasis on the beauty of spontaneity.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“[Henry] has moved into a space that only he and Tom Waits inhabit in that they are songwriters who have created deep archetypal characters that are composites—metaphorical, allegorical, and ‘real’—of the world around them and have created new sonic universes for them to both explore and express themselves in… a triumph not only for Henry—who has set a new watermark for himself—but for American popular music, which so desperately needed something else to make it sing again.” -Thom Jurek, All Music