Since there's been a good deal of activity in the Joe Henry universe, I thought it would be a good time to recap:
- The big news, obviously, was that Over Then Rhine made the journey out to Pasadena last week to commence work of their new record. It would appear that recording continues this week, and you can keep up with the process over at the band's Facebook page.
- JH, OtR, Billy Bragg and others joined The Milk Carton Kids onstage last week at Largo to celebrate the duo's new record The Ash & Clay. I have to say this is a gorgeous record, and it bears mentioning that Ryan Freeland engineered the album (and JH again contributed a wonderful introduction in the liner notes). Get this album immediately!
- Of course, the first JH-produced release of 2013 is Billy Bragg's latest, Tooth & Nail, which was released only two weeks ago. It took me a few spins to warm up to it, but I also have this one on heavy rotation. I'm not sure what Billy's hardcore base will think of it, as he is certainly in a mellower, more reflective mood throughout. I think his voice is absolutely lovely on the album, and he's written some wonderful love songs this time.
- Lisa Hannigan's brilliant guitarist John Smith just released a solo album titled Great Lakes. I believe it features a JH co-write or two, and it is quite an engaging album. Available as an import, or in the US via iTunes.
- One more Ryan Freeland note: his considerable skills as recording engineer are also on display on the arresting duo album, Night, from Simone Dinnerstein and Tift Merritt, which is probably my favorite record of 2013 thus far. Stunning on so many levels.
- UPDATE: Somehow I missed that the new Hugh Laurie album is already in the can and slated for a UK release. Didn't It Rain will be available on May 6 — all the details here. Check out a couple of new tracks and see some of our favorite players in action over at Laurie's YouTube channel.
I'll leave you on this note…