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Joe Henry on World Cafe | November 8, 2011

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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.(link)

Playlist

Hour 1

(( )) for interlude music

Graham Parker "Sharpening Axes" Acid Bubblegum
Hugh Laurie "Tipitina" Let Them Talk
Carolina Chocolate Drops "Hit 'Em Up Style" Genuine Negro Jig

((Aimee Mann "31 Today" Smilers))

Joe Henry "Odetta" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Joe Henry "After the War" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Joe Henry "Dark Tears" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Joe Henry "The World And All I Know" Recorded Live for the World Cafe

((Teddy Thompson "Love Her For That" Teddy Thompson))
Craig Finn "Honolulu Blues" Clear Hearts & Minds
Faces "Stay With Me" The Best of Faces: Good Boys When They're Asleep

Hour 2

Coldplay "Paradise" Mylo Xyloto
Treat Her Right "I Think She Likes Me" Certain Damage CMJ #5
The Black Keys "Lonely Boy" El Camino
Mumford & Sons "The Cave" Sigh No More
Indigo Girls "Making Promises" Beauty Queen Sister

((Bishop Allen "Tiger, Tiger" Grrr))

Bon Iver "Holocene" Bon Iver
Zero 7 "Destiny" Simple Things
Feist "How Come You Never Go There" Metals

((Girls "Summertime" Girls))

Kurt Vile "Downbound Train" Smoke Rings for My Halo
Pete Yorn "Life on a Chain" Musicforthemorningafter
The Barr Brothers "Give the Devil Back His Heart" Barr Brothers
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit "Codeine" Here We Rest

((Elizabeth Cook "Follow You Like Smoke" Welder))