Joe Henry

Joe Henry’s lyrics make review writing feel futile. These aren’t songs; they’re 14 novels in verse. Reverie, the latest from the (don’t call me a) singer-songwriter, takes the form of unpolished manuscripts. Recorded in his usual space, his basement studio, this time welcoming all that you’re supposed to banish from such a setting; windows were opened and the world came in to jam. The recording is loose, messy. A dog barks, cars drive by, the din of an entire world unaware of and unconcerned with microphones and isolation all bleed in, strangers wedging their points of view into a private conversation. It feels like it could fall apart at any moment. You wait for the screech of tires, a crash of thunder or a phone’s braying to interrupt the atmosphere. Reverie is the sound of important conversation held together with collective inebriation; any tick or tumble will lose thought’s train, the point ultimately lost. Somehow it stays together, tenuous though it may be. Reverie is life itself.