JOE HENRY plays Hugh’s Room January 30. See listing. Rating: NNN
“Acoustic” isn’t the first word that comes to mind upon hearing Grammy-winning producer, songwriter and guitarist Joe Henry’s 12th album. Yet it is acoustic, if loose and experimentally so, with piano and bass drum in a percussive dialogue, threatening to rip apart some of the rougher songs on which Henry sings rueful, yearning blues – the stuff of dark dreams and recollections.
While recording, he left the windows open. We can hear dogs barking as the instruments bleed into each other, evoking a late-night jazz bar more than a typical studio sound. Many songs focus on the experience of time: an abandoned fairground in October, the feel of certain parts of the day and night. An hour long, Reverie’s an unusual mix of gentle, drifting and jarring.
Top track: Sticks & Stones