Well, it’s Wild Edgesweek, as Joe Henry, The Milk Carton Kids and Over The Rhine convene in Durham, NC, for two consecutive nights sure to filled with mystery and wonder. The shows are now sold out, but you can read about the event here (and yes, I’ll be attending so look for a recap next week).
In the meantime, you can check out a clip from The Milk Carton Kids’ upcoming DVD release Live From Lincoln Theatre. The show will be released on April 29, as a standalone DVD, deluxe bundle with The Ash & Clay or a digital download.
The DVD will arrive two weeks prior to the Kids kicking off a massive (and increasingly sold out) U.S. tour (dates listed here).
UPDATE 4/28: DVD and download due tomorrow, but NPR has a video stream of the whole thing here.
Just a few activities of note to keep you JH fans excited:
Based on Joe’s Facebook postings last week, it would appear that the Johnny Cash Bitter Tears project has commenced recording. According to JH, visitors to Garfield House included Kris Kristofferson, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and Rhiannon Giddens (from Carolina Chocolate Drops).
UPDATE: I also meant to note that the folks at American Songwriterwere kind enough to post a recent article from their January issue, which features The Milk Carton Kids discussing one of their mentors (guess who).
That’s about all I know for now, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing plenty about Invisible Hour in the coming months.
"In April, the band will join forces with friends for their new project Wild Edges. In collaboration: Joe Henry, Over The Rhine and The Milk Carton Kids. The result is a one-of-a-kind ensemble set to engage the "Great American Songbook," performing a set of songs that embraces songwriters from Robert Johnson to Jimmy Webb, Woody Guthrie to Nina Simone. The all-star group unites for an only-at-Duke Performances special event: in front of a live audience at Hayti Heritage Center–Henry, Over the Rhine, and The Milk Carton Kids will perform and record an album of new songs they wrote together."
So if that sounds like something you'd be interested in… tickets still available here.
Well, we've had several nights in the 50's here in Houston, which must mean the rest of you in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying between seasonal and frigid conditions. As such, I apologize for the lack of posts recently and hope this will catch you up on a few recent JH happenings.
Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him, by David Henry and Joe Henry, has just been released by Algonquin Books. The hardcover recently shipped and the e-book should be out any day now. Brothers David and Joe will be doing a few signings around the country, if you can catch them. This is at the top of my reading list – can't wait!
JH will be delivering a few more acoustic performances in December, following his rousing sucess at Largo this past July. Dates are as follows: Dec 3, Minneapolis; Dec 4, Chicago; Dec 5, Ann Arbor; Dec 7, Seattle. Not to be missed if you are nearby.
UK duo Chas & Dave have just released their new record That's What Happens, produced by JH at Abbey Road Studios. It is available at Amazon UK (still awaiting delivery of my copy).
Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil Warwas released yesterday by ATO Records. This unique project celebrates a unique period in American and American music history. JH contributes several productions by artists like Taj Mahal, Chris Hillman, John Doe and T-Bone Burnett. He is also backed on a track of his own by The Milk Carton Kids (you can hear the whole record over at Garden & Gun).
Speaking of whom, I had the great pleasure of seeing The Milk Carton Kids at their sold out Houston show last night. They'll be heading back to LA and hosting a revue at Largo next Tuesday, Nov 12. Who knows who might turn up? They'll also be back at Largo on Saturday, Nov 16.
Close JH friend Sam Phillips will also be at Largo this weekend for her only solo shows of the year (Nov 9 is sold out, Nov 10 is on sale). She will be backed by JH cohorts Jay Bellerose, Jennifer Condos and Greg Leisz.
Over The Rhine will wind up their fall tour on the West Coast in the coming weeks. They will continue to be backed by Jay Bellerose, Jennifer Condos and Eric Heywood, who contributed their talents to their double CD Meet Me At The Edge Of The World. Dates here – I can't imagine who might turn up at The El Rey!
You might recall that New West Records auctioned a number of 7-inch singles to benefit Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap earlier in the year. On Nov 12, they will release a compliation of the tracks, which feature a number of production contributions from JH as well as his excellent take of "Taken On The Chin." The 2 CD set will feature tracks not previously available.
Glen Hansard will release an EP on Nov 25, featuring his epic cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Drive All Night". The track features vocals from JH and Eddie Vedder, plus sax by Jake Clemons (nephew of Clarence Clemons). The track was recorded at Garfield House and produced by JH. You can hear the song over at Rolling Stone.
That's about all I know for now. I know of at least one artist who has recently graced the basement of Garfiled House, and I would expect to hear about that project in the coming months. And, of course, all indications are that we'll be hearing about a new JH album any day now. Fingers crossed!
This fall will see the release of a very intriguing 2-disc compilation of Civil War-era tunes, recorded by some fantastic artists. Joe Henry will contribute "Aura Lee" — and maybe some production work on the other tracks?
Read more about Divided & United and hear Loretta Lynn's contribution here.
UPDATE: A bit more info (from The Man himself):
"Aura Lee" features 3-part harmony courtesy of The Milk Carton Kids
JH also lends production duties to tracks by Taj Mahal, John Doe, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Chris Hillman (plus assistance on the Sam Amidon track)
And in a neat twist, JH also produced the track from T Bone Burnett, who was Joe's production mentor
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 Rainwill 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.