Thursday, 17 October 2019

Lovesong: Joe Henry: Bloom

So much darkness, and yet so much light.

A release from Joe Henry is always worth celebrating.
Joe has kindly and thoughtfully planned to release his latest album on November 15, the day before my 60th birthday.
I shall be gifting myself the double vinyl.
The rest of you can just send cards...
The background to the recording?
I'll let Joe explain: see below.
Bottom line: I'm always amazed by the human spirit: the letters written by folk in slow mo' plane crashes: the breathless 911 phone calls: thoughts directed outwardly, at beloveds rather than inwards towards 'self'.
Faced with their own mortality folk always speak of 'love'.

The idea that Joe's instinctive reaction upon hearing that he had a life threatening illness was... to make music.
To communicate.
To 'pass it on'.
And love?
As Joe says, he remains "in love with life, even when that life founders and threatens to disappear; lustfully aglow, not in spite of storm but because of one. Come November, then, I will hand this all over —while the sky is bright, and leaves are still turning and descending —the days listing as they grow brisk and shorter."

Fascinating that the first taster from the album, 'Bloom', even in autumn, particularly in autumn, is concerned with regeneration.

I like Joe Henry: how could you not?


COME NOVEMBER

Announcing a new album: The Gospel According To Water

"Come 15 November, I will be releasing a new album —my 15th studio offering as a solo act.
The album is called The Gospel According To Water. It was recorded over two days this past June —and fairly blind-sided me, when I thought I was merely making reference demos of thirteen new songs ahead of forgetting them. All but two of these songs were written between Valentines and Fathers Days; all having flowered from the black earth of recent experience —namely a cancer diagnosis late last fall that left me reeling —though, as well, set into motion many wild blessings and positive shifts in my life, along with an unprecedented songwriting flurry.

With only a handful of friends playing in support, I entered the studio and tore through these songs with determination and joyful abandon, then went home. I had let nothing clutter or distract me from their essential and true heart; and upon waking the morning after, I understood that something significantly more had transpired —that the songs as articulated had sparked an ember that somehow remained bright and alive before me, moving beyond my expectations.

I unexpectedly heard the songs as complete, and vividly so; and knew that the casual circumstances had not limited my expression but in fact liberated me from the cloying aim for posterity that can make weighty any session, and landed me instead in a place both unencumbered by the past and unattached to futures.

Though they have all grown out of darkness, I don’t believe any of these songs themselves to be “dark” in nature, nor about the circumstance that prompted their discovery. In them, I hear the re-accessing of my imagination and its greater invitation; hear deep gratitude, and a compassion toward self that I don’t always possess; an optimism I did not know I’d allowed to flourish.

These recordings are raw and wirey and spare because the songs insisted they be. But I believe them to be as wholly realized —as “produced” as anything I’ve touched, as well as being deeply and fundamentally romantic: in love with life, even when that life founders and threatens to disappear; lustfully aglow, not in spite of storm but because of one.

Come November, then, I will hand this all over —while the sky is bright, and leaves are still turning and descending —the days listing as they grow brisk and shorter.

Just in time for Thanksgiving."


Joe Henry

Pasadena, CA


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