Joe Henry: Civilians

By: Tim Dwenger

A full ten albums into an astounding career, Joe Henry's name still turns few heads outside of an inner circle of music aficionados. His contribution to the rich American musical fabric drips with cultural relevancy, and is in a league with the likes of Tom Waits, Mark Knopfler and even Bob Dylan. Ostensibly a folk record, Henry’s latest, Civilians (Anti), flirts with a smoky jazz club ambiance that lends itself to cold winter’s evenings, crackling fires and a glass of good Scotch. The moving imagery and masterful manipulation of language that saturate Henry’s songs give his work gravity rarely achieved by his peers. Add to lyrical accomplishment a cast of musicians that includes luminaries Bill Frisell, Loudon Wainwright III and Van Dyke Parks and you have, quite simply, one of the most noteworthy albums of late 2007.

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[Published on: 1/13/08]

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tourfan star Sun 1/13/2008 07:31AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

What's missing here? The details .... I want to read more about Bill Frisell's guitar work here, what track did he contribute to? What did it add to a Joe Henry CD? How was it different? Jazz club ambiance, manipulation of language give his work gravity? Site some examples please. The beauty of a web based music pub as opposed to a magazine or newspaper is that your space is unlimited. Now, maybe this CD or any other doesn't need a 1000 word diatribe, but these short, non-descript paragraphs don't give readers any idea what the artist sounds like. If Joe Henry drips with cultural relevancy, then doesn't he deserve more that what this paragraph provides? Anybody else agree?

One P/Oed Joe Henry fan.

21mmer Sun 1/13/2008 09:42AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i'm with you, tourfan. i'm all about the increased number of album reviews that jambase is putting out, but it seems as though some quality has been sacrificed in the process. it's hard to get the feel of an album/artist in one or two short paragraphs. i would personally like to see this section beefed-up a little.....maybe add some embedded content like the 'newswire' section has been doing.

aquariumdrunk starstarstar Sun 1/13/2008 10:58AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I'm with you both. The review isn't bad for what it is, but the brevity of some of the recent reviews has been a little tough. A lot of these are more like a "blurb" in their form. If that's what's going to happen, it might be better to package them up in some kind wrap-up thing, like a couple of the existing album features already do.

snappy Sun 1/13/2008 12:06PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Thanks for the feedback, guys. It's important to us and we're discussing the topic in the editorial bullpen presently...

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 1/14/2008 03:17AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

Ive heard it. its too commercial for me!!!!!