Happy belated New Year to all of you! I guess 2012 seemed like a quiet year for Joe Henry fans. Though it should be noted that JH probably toured more last year – solo and with Lisa Hannigan – than he has in quite a few years.
First, I should say I don't have any inside scoop on Joe Henry's upcoming schedule. However, based on his periodic Facebook postings, I think it's a safe bet that 2013 will see the release of more projects with JH's name than in 2012.
Yesterday brought word that Joe's longtime friendship (and frequent collaboration schemes) with Billy Bragg will bear fruit in the form of a new Bragg album titled Tooth & Nail (due in the UK on March 18; in the US on March 19). The record was recorded early last year at Garfield House with some of the House regulars – Greg Leisz, Patrick Warren, David Piltch and Jay Bellerose. You can find all the relevant info and download the track "Handyman Blues" here.
It appears also that JH is ringing in the new year with sessions for the follow-up to Hugh Laurie's very successful Let Them Talk. It seemed unthinkable to me that, after developing such an obviously fruitful template for Laurie's first album, the two would not reteam eventually. I cannot wait to hear what comes of the sessions – we already know that the legendary Taj Mahal dropped by for some recording. Normally, I would assume the new record would definitely see the light of day in 2013, but Let Them Talk was recorded over a few sessions, and Laurie probably keeps a pretty full calendar. But here's hoping sooner rather than later.
In late 2012, sessions were held at Garfield House with ex-Byrd/Flying Burrito Brother Chris Hillman and T Bone Burnett in attendance. I don't know or recall what the project is, but I can't wait to find out.
Finally, if you are an Over The Rhine fan, you might have noticed that they are prepping a similar fundraising campaign for their next two project, similar to what was done for The Long Surrender. I'll just selfishly hope and pray that they enlist JH to once again helm their next album.
There is still a TV biopic of June Carter Cash in the works (originally due last November). My understanding is that JH produced some of the "early Carter Family years" tracks, with singer-songwriter John Doe playing the role of AP Carter. Singer Jewel Kilcher (aka Jewel) portrays June Carter Cash, but I don't believe Joe had any hand in those tracks. The Lifetime Network was set to air the movie, but it has fallen off the radar a bit.
And don't forget that JH honed his acting chops in 2012, portraying a – gasp! – musician in Robert A. Borders' forthcoming Pleased To Meet Me. It's probably reasonable to expect that this film sees some kind of release in the near future.
Finally, Bonnie Raitt's very successful Slipstream is up for a Best Americana Album Grammy, and I'm betting is a shoe-in for that category (which probably just jinxed it).
So welcome back, and I'll keep you updated as I hear about it. If Joe's trend since 2007 holds, we'll get a new Joe Henry album sometime in late summer or early fall of this year… but that's just me speculating and maybe lobbying a bit.