While today (August 18) marks the release of Joe Henry's 11th album, Blood From Stars, the singer-songwriter/producer extraordinaire is already eyeing new projects. Following an ongoing series of career-reviving releases for American music legends such as Solomon Burke, Bettye LaVette, Allen Toussaint and Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Henry is adding to that list pioneering folk/calypso singer Harry Belafonte and jazz/blues pianist Mose Allison, best known for penning the widely covered "Parchman Farm" and "Young Man Blues," a longtime staple of the Who's repertoire.
"It's an interesting trend to be working simultaneously with two people of such significance who are that age," Henry told Exclaim! in an interview. "I'd just done a single session with Harry in New York days before I started here with Mose, so it's been an intense, but incredibly vital time."
And while no release dates have been set for either of these projects, Henry's new Blood From Stars is another mesmerizing sonic and lyrical feast. It's also one that comes with a more pronounced jazz vibe, greatly accentuated by the recording debut of Henry's son Levon on saxophone.
"I knew that I wanted to hear his point of view in the songs," Henry said. "The only problem for me was that he was still in high school. There were some tracks that I wanted to cut with him that we had to put off until later in the day until he got home from school."
Henry adds, "[Levon] just graduated from high school and at the end of [August] he's starting at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. He's learning jazz religiously and exclusively at this stage."
Although Henry so far has only one live date lined up to mark the Anti- release, on August 27 at the Aarhuus Jazz Festival in Denmark, chances are we'll see more new dates added shortly, not to mention see at least one of his new projects out by the start of 2010.
Stay tuned for Exclaim!'s entire Joe Henry interview in our Conversations.
Blood From Stars :
1. "Prelude: Light No Lamp When the Sun Comes Down"
2. "The Man I Keep Hid"
4. "This Is My Favorite Cage"
5. "Death to the Storm"
6. "All Blues Hail Mary"
8. "Progress of Love (Dark Ground)"
9. "Over Her Shoulder"
10. "Suit on a Frame"
13. "Coda: Light No Lamp When the Sun Comes Down"