Joe Henry will release The Gospel According To Water on November 15 via earMUSIC. Listen/share the first offering from the album, “Bloom” [https://joehenry.lnk.to/Bloom], pre-order the album [https://joehenry.lnk.to/TheGospelAccordingToWater). In celebration of the release, Henry will perform a special, intimate show at Largo in Los Angeles on November 15.
Here Henry shares his personal reflections on the origins of The Gospel According To Water:
Come 15 November, I will be releasing a new album—my 15th studio offering as a solo act.
The album is called The Gospel According To Water. It was recorded over two days this past June, and fairly by accident, when I thought I was merely making demos of thirteen new songs ahead of forgetting them––all but two written between Valentine’s and Father’s Day; all having flowered from the black earth of recent experience––namely a cancer diagnosis late last fall that left me reeling—though, as well, set into motion many blessings and positive shifts in my life, as well as an unprecedented songwriting flurry.
With only a handful of friends playing in support, I entered the studio and tore through these songs with determination and abandon, then went home. I had let nothing clutter or distract me from the essential and true heart of these songs; and upon waking the morning after, I listened and understood that something had transpired that was more than I’d bargained for; that the songs as articulated had sparked an ember that somehow remained bright and alive before me, moving beyond my expectations.
I unexpectedly heard the songs as complete, and vividly so; and knew that the casual circumstances had not limited my expression but in fact liberated me from the cloying aim for posterity that can make weighty any session—and landed me instead in a place both unencumbered by the past and unattached to futures.
Though they have all grown out of darkness, I don’t believe any of these songs themselves to be “dark” in nature, nor about the circumstance that promoted their discovery. In them, I hear deep gratitude, and a compassion toward self that I don’t always possess; an optimism I did not know I’d allowed to flourish.
These recordings are raw and wirey and spare because the songs insisted they be. But I believe them to be as wholly realized––as “produced”––as anything I’ve touched, as well as being deeply and fundamentally romantic: in love with life, even when that life founders and threatens to disappear; lustfully aglow, not in spite of the storm but because of one.
Come November, then, I will hand this all over—while the sky is bright, and leaves are still turning and descending––the days listing as they grow brisk and shorter.
Just in time for Thanksgiving.
In a career spanning more than 30 years, three-time Grammy winner Joe Henry has left an indelible and unique imprint on American popular music. Known for his exploration of the human experience, Henry is a hyper-literate storyteller, by turns dark, devastating and hopeful.
His artist collaborations cross a variety of genres including T Bone Burnett, Ornette Coleman, and Billy Bragg with whom he was nominated for “Duo/Group of the Year” by the Americana Music Association for their collaborative album Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad.
A three-time-Grammy winning producer, Henry has made albums for Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens and Solomon Burke and more, and scored films including Jesus’ Son, Knocked Up and Motherhood. In 2013, Algonquin Press published, Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World that Made Him, a book co-written by Joe and his brother Dave Henry.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO WATER TRACKLIST
1. Famine Walk
2. The Gospel According To Water
4. Orson Welles
5. Green Of The Afternoon
6. In Time For Tomorrow (Funeral For Sorrow)
7. The Fact of Love
8. Book Of Common Prayer
10. Gates of Prayer Cemetery #2
11. Salt and Sugar
12. General Tzu Names The Planets For His Children
13. Choir Boy
Joe Henry Online: