Joe Henry – Blood From Stars
Joe Henry has built his reputation on being an old soul. Preferring the company and sound of the antiquated, he’s produced glorious comeback albums for soul legends Solomon Burke and Bettye Lavette, and just this year, pulled lifetime performances from New Orleans icon Allen Toussaint and folk hero Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Thus its no surprise that Blood From Stars, Henry’s eleventh solo outing, dips heavily into musical arrangements of the early 20th century. From the sauntering blues march of “Death To The Storm” or the New Orleans piano and cornet jazz of “Bellweather”, Henry’s songs are tinted with weary lament. His voice shifts between the finessed, literate pronounciation of Randy Newman to a less guttural Tom Waits, but its all carried with the expressive playing of drummer Jay Bellerose and guitarist Marc Ribot. It a solid effort throughout, and a clear nod to jazz and blues as a resilient and malleable art.