Joseph Lee "Joe" Henry

born on 2/12/1960

Alias Joe Henry

Joe Henry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Joe Henry

Joe Henry (born December 2, 1960) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and Grammy award winning producer. He has released 12 studio albums and produced multiple recordings for other artists.[1]

Early life

Henry was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, grew up in the Detroit, Michigan area, and graduated from the University of Michigan.


1985 to 2005

Henry moved to Brooklyn, NY in 1985 and began performing in local music venues. He released his first album "Talk of Heaven" in 1986. The album earned him a recording contract with A&M, which subsequently released the albums Murder of Crows in 1989 and Shuffletown in 1990.[2] Shuffletown, produced by T-Bone Burnett, represented a shift in musical direction towards the "alt country" genre. Henrys next two recordings, Short Man's Room (1992) and Kindness of the World (1993), utilized members of the country-rock band the Jayhawks. The song "King's Highway" was later recorded by Joan Baez. For his 1996 album Trampoline, Henry incorporated guitarist Page Hamilton of Helmet and a reviewer at Trouserpress called the album "idiosyncratic broadmindedness." [3]

1999's Fuse was recorded with producers Daniel Lanois and T-Bone Burnett. The album was called an "atmospheric marvel" by one reviewer[4] and Ann Powers of the New York Times wrote: Henry has "found the sound that completes his verbal approach."[5]

Scar, released in 2001, featured jazz musicians Marc Ribot, Brian Blade, Brad Mehldau and saxophonist Ornette Coleman on "Richard Pryor Addresses A Tearful Nation." According to Allmusic's Thom Jurek, the album is a "triumph not only for Henrywho has set a new watermark for himselfbut for American popular music, which so desperately needed something else to make it sing again." [Joe Henry at All Music Guide]

2003's self-produced Tiny Voices album was Henry's first recording on Epitaph's Anti label. Jurek described this album as "the sound of....electric guitars in an abandoned yet fully furnished Tiki bar in Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles." [Joe Henry at All Music Guide]

Henry's wife talked him into letting her send Madonna a demo of his song "Stop," which was reworked and recorded as "Don't Tell Me" (from Madonna's 2000 album Music). Henry's own tango-tinged version of the song appeared on Scar and was featured in an episode of "The Sopranos." Henry and his sister-in-law recorded a duet, "Guilty By Association," on the charity album Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation, and collaborated on the songs "Jump" on Confessions on a Dance Floor, "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You" on Hard Candy, and "Falling Free" on MDNA.

In the early 2000s, Henry was an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards' judging panel to support independent artists.[6]

2006 to present

After producing the Grammy-award-winning album Don't Give Up on Me by Solomon Burke,[7] Henry produced additional records and in 2006 opened up a home studio where he often collaborates with recording engineer Ryan Freeland and Los Angeles-based musicians such as Jay Bellerose, Greg Leisz, David Piltch, Patrick Warren and Keefus Ciancia.[8] In September 2006, Henry and Loudon Wainwright III began composing the music for the Judd Apatow movie Knocked Up in Henry's home studio. Some instrumentals were used as background score for the film while other songs appeared on Wainwright's 2007 Strange Weirdos which Henry produced.

In 2007, Henry released Civilians, which was described as "a rich, acoustic affair that returns us to Henry's rootsier sounds".[9] The final track on the album, "God Only Knows," was used in a "TCM Remembers 2008" TV commercial. Bonnie Raitt's 2012 album Slipstream, which Henry produced, contained versions of two songs from Civilians.

In 2009, Henry released his ninth solo record, Blood From Stars which incorporates orchestral blues with guitarist Marc Ribot, pianist Jason Moran and his son on saxophone. The album focuses on facets of blues with a sprinkling of jazz, rock and pop and traces the rugged history of American storytelling.[10]

In May 2011, Henry released the album Reverie with simple acoustic instrumention on guitar, upright bass, piano and drums.[11] "When you listen to Reverie, especially on headphones, you can hear traffic in the background or a neighbor calling her dog. It's not always a pristine recording environment. Henry not only left the windows open at his basement studio, but also put microphones on them."[12] "But there was this singer-songwriter environment, this post-Dylan fallout, of people who think that pages of your diary set to music are songs, and that the more 'honest' songs are, the better they are. And that's the greatest misconception of American popular music: that if you're being honest, you're being entertaining."[13]


Henry has been described as "a modest-selling 'critics darling' with a reputation for pushing the envelope"[14] and who writes "songs [that] dont fit into an easily defined box"[15] and instead draws influence from folk, blues, jazz, rock and country.

Personal life

Since 1987 Henry has been married to Madonna's sister Melanie Ciccone and they have two children.[16]

In 2013, Henry and his brother David released a biography of Richard Pryor, titled Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him.


Production Credits
Year Artist Album Label Notes
2013 Over the Rhine Meet Me at the Edge of the World Great Speckled Dog Producer.
2013 Hugh Laurie Didn't It Rain Warner Bros. Producer.
2013 Billy Bragg Tooth & Nail Cooking Vinyl Producer.
2012 Natalie Duncan Devil In Me Verve Producer.
2012 Rodney Crowell/Mary Karr Kin Vanguard Producer.

Included guests: Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristoferson, Norah Jones,

Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack, & Lucinda Williams.

2012 Bonnie Raitt Slipstream Redwing Producer.

Writer/Co-Writer of several songs.

2011 Meshell Ndegeocello Weather Naive Producer & Co-writer on several songs.
2011 Joe Henry Reverie ANTI- Recording Artist/Singer/Songwriter/Producer.
2011 Lisa Hannigan Passenger ATO Producer.
2011 Hugh Laurie Let Them Talk Warner Producer.

Included guest musicians: Tom Jones, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, & others

2011 Over the Rhine The Long Surrender Great Speckled Dog Producer.

Co-writer on two songs: Sharpest Blade & Soon.

2010 Aaron Neville I Know Ive Been Changed Tell It Records Producer.

Included guest musician Allen Toussaint.

2010 Mose Allison The Way of the World ANTI- Producer & Co-writer w/ Mose on the title track.
2009 Joe Henry Blood From Stars ANTI- Recording Artist/Singer/Songwriter/Producer.

Featured the song Stars, which was originally written for HBOs Six Feet Under.

Also featured guest musician Jason Moran.

2009 Carolina Chocolate Drops Genuine Negro Jig Nonesuch Producer.

Grammy winning record.

2009 Ramblin Jack Elliott A Stranger Here ANTI- Producer.

Grammy Winning Record.

2009 Salif Keita La Differénce Universal Classics Producer.
2009 Allen Toussaint The Bright Mississippi Nonesuch Producer.

Grammy Nominated record.

Featured musicians Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton,

Brad Mehldau, Don Byron, & others.

2008 Loudon Wainwright III Recovery Yep Roc Producer.
2008 Rodney Crowell Sex and Gasoline Work Song Producer.

Grammy Nominated Record.

2007 Joe Henry Civilians ANTI- Recording Artist/Songwriter/Producer.

Featured guest musicians Bill Frisell, Van Dyke Parks, & Loudon Wainwright III.

2007 Loudon Wainwright III Strange Weirdos Concords Producer.

Wrote 4 of the songs.

Music written for and to accompany the film Knocked Up.

2007 Mary Gauthier Between Daylight and Dark Lost Highway Producer.
2006 Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint The River in Reverse Verve Producer.
2005 Various Artists Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast Nonesuch Co-Producer.

Artists included: Allen Toussaint, Dr. John,

Irma Thomas, Randy Newman, Buckwheat Zydeco,

Dirty Dozen Brass Band, & others.

2005 Various Artists I Believe To My Soul Work Song Producer.

Artists included: Mavis Staples, Billy Preston,

Ann Peebles, Irma Thomas, & Allen Toussaint.

2005 Bettye LaVette Ive Got My Own Hell to Raise ANTI- Producer.
2005 Susan Tedeschi Hope and Desire Verve Producer.

Grammy Nominated Record.

Featured the Blind Boys of Alabama.

2005 Aimee Mann The Forgotten Arm SuperEgo Producer.
2004 Ani DiFranco Knuckle Down Righteous Babe Co-Producer.
2004 Jim White Drill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See Luaka Bop Producer (7 tracks).

Featured guest musician Aimee Mann.

2003 Joe Henry Tiny Voices ANTI- Recording Artist/Songwriter/Producer.

Guests musicians Don Byron & Ron Miles among others.

2002 Solomon Burke Don't Give Up on Me Fat Possum Producer.

Grammy Winning Record.

2002 John Doe Dim Stars, Bright Sky Artist Direct Producer.
2001 Joe Henry Scar Mammoth Recording Artist/Songwriter/Co-Producer w/ Craig Street.

Featured guest musicians Ornette Coleman, Brian Blade,

Brad Mehldau, Marc Ribot, & Meshell Ndegeocello.

The song Stop was featured on the HBO television show The Sopranos,

and was covered by Madonna under the title "Dont Tell Me".

2000 Teddy Thompson Teddy Thompson Virgin Producer

Featured guest musicians: Richard Thompson, Jon Brion,

Rufus Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, & others.

1999 Joe Henry Fuse Mammoth Recording Artist/Songwriter/Producer.

Featured guest musicians: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Jakob Dylan, & Daniel Lanois.

1999 Shivaree I Oughtta Give You a Shot in the Head for Making Me Live in This Dump Capitol Producer.
1998 Kristin Hersh Strange Angels Rykodisc Producer.
1996 Joe Henry Trampoline Mammoth Recording Artist/Songwriter/Co-Producer.

Co-Produced w/ Patrick McCarthy.

1994 Joe Henry Fireman's Wedding Mammoth Recording Artist/Songwriter/Producer.

Featured members of The Jayhawks.

1993 Joe Henry Kindness of the World Mammoth Recording Artist/Songwriter/Producer.

Featured members of The Jayhawks.

1992 Joe Henry Short Mans Room Mammoth Records Recording Artist/Songwriter/Producer.

The song Kings Highway was covered by Joan Baez.

Featured members of The Jayhawks.

1991 Bruce Cockburn Nothing But a Burning Light Columbia Production associate to T Bone Burnett.
1990 Joe Henry Shuffletown Mammoth Recording Artist/Songwriter.

Featured musicians Don Cherry & Cecil McBee.

Produced by T Bone Burnett.

1989 Joe Henry Murder of Crows Mammoth Recording Artist/Songwriter.

String arrangements by Van Dyke Parks.

1986 Joe Henry Talk of Heaven Astor Place Co-Producer w/ Keith Anderson.
Film Credits
Year Artist Film & Track or Score Film Studio Notes
2010 Various Artists Passion Play (select backing tracks) Annapurna Productions Producer & Songwriter of "Orphan in this World".

Artists included Christian Scott, Little Jimmy Scott, Aaron Neville,

Allen Toussaint, & Solomon Burke among others.

2010 Gwyneth Paltrow Country Strong (select song) Sony Pictures Producer.
2009 Joe Henry Motherhood (original score) John Wells Productions Composer/Producer.
2007 Joe Henry & Loudon Wainwright III Knocked Up (original score) Apatow Productions Co-Composer/Producer .
2007 Various Artists I'm Not There soundtrack Celluloid Dreams Producer.

Artists included Richie Havens, Marcus Carl Franklin, & John Doe

2000 Joe Henry Jesus' Son (original score) Alliance Atlantis/Evenstar Films Composer/Producer/Engineer.
Songwriting Credits
Year Artist Song/Album Label Credit
2012 Madonna "Falling Free"/MDNA Interscope Records Co-Writer w/ William Orbit, Laurie Mayer & Madonna.
2009 Madeleine Peyroux "Love and Treachery"/Bare Bones Rounder Records Co-Writer w/ Madeleine Peyroux & Larry Klein.
2008 Madonna "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You"/Hard Candy Warner Bros. Co-Writer w/ Timbaland, Danja, Justin Timberlake & Madonna.
2006 Madonna "Jump"/Confessions on a Dance Floor Warner Bros. Co-Writer w/ Stuart Price & Madonna.
2003 Rosanne Cash "Hope Against Hope"/Rules of Travel Capitol Co-Writer w/ Jakob Dylan.
2000 Madonna "Don't Tell Me"/Music Warner Bros. Co-Writer w/ Mirwais Ahmadzaï & Madonna.
Other Projects
Year Artist Song/Album Label Credit
2007 Jakob Dylan "Whispering Pines"/Endless Highway: The Music of The Band Savoy Jazz Producer.
2004 Joe Henry/Ann Peebles "Until You Came Into My Life"/Sweethearts Hear Music Duet Vocals/Producer.
2003 Sam Phillips "Wedding in Cherokee County"/(unreleased) (unreleased) Producer.
1999 Meshell Ndegeocello "Wasted Time"/Bitter Maverick Duet vocals.

Also features musicians Doyle Bramhall II, Lisa Coleman, and others.

1996 Joe Henry/Madonna "Guilty by Association"/Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation Columbia Duet Vocals/Co-Producer.
1992 Spinal Tap "Rainy Day Sun"/Break Like the Wind MCA Production Associate.


  1. Unknown (Nov 10 2011)Joe Henry and Eclectic and Raucous Reverie NPR, retrieved June 30, 2012
  2. Joe Henry Biography.
  3. Joe Henry Trouserpress
  4. Moerer, Keith. Fuse ( description).
  5. Powers, Ann, Pop Review; When the Main Event is Metaphor, t's Easy to Get Lost., New York Times, March 16, 1999.
  6. Independent Music Awards - Past Judges
  7. (Grammy official website).
  8. Schultz, Barbara. Meshell Ndegeocello. Electronic Musician.
  9. Marshall, Claudia. Joe Henry Returns to His Roots. National Public Radio.
  10. Joe Henry: Feeling a Darkness. National Public Radio.
  11. Reverie: Album Credits. AllMusicGuide.
  12. Joe Henry's Raw, Raucous 'Reverie'. National Public Radio.
  13. DeCurtis, Anthony. Regarding (joe) Henry. Orlando Sentinel.
  14. Scoppa, Bud. Production Notes: Joe Henry. Paste Magazine.
  15. Whitman, Andy. A Very Personal, Highly Idiosyncratic Musical Overview of the Aughts. Paste Magazine.
  16. Joe Henry Iceberg Radio

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Joe Henry

  • official website
  • Review of Civilians album at Variety
  • Joe Henry on the Internet Movie Database
  • Interview at Exlaim
  • Interview with HitQuarters
This page was last modified 24.04.2014 18:14:48

This article uses material from the article Joe Henry from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.