Joe Henry. Joe Henry. Joe Henry.
When I was studying at Oxford, I had the good fortune of meeting a nice southern gentleman who, among other things, introduced me to the concept of “alt-country” – a little bit alternative…a lot bit country. So, in addition to the Jayhawks, Sun Volt, Uncle Tupelo and the Flying Burrito Brothers, he opened my eyes to other country rock bands like Blue Mountain, the Bottlerockets and sweet Victoria Williams.
To this day, I can’t listen to any of these bands without thinking of him and the spires of Oxford and that way the Jayhawks song, “blue” just made me cry and cry.
One of my favorites, though, was and is Joe Henry. But, to be honest with you, it’s just this one album of his that really gets me. Henry’s “Short Man’s Room” is like a novel set to music. His lyrics are unfailingly touching and evocative and there’s this one track on it…”Diving Bell” that just gets me right where it counts.
Listen to it when you get the chance…And consider the irony of listening, teary-eyed to country rock on your walkman in 1996 while long-robed dons pass by you on their bicycles. Unforgettable.