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Joe Henry

singer-songwriter folk jazz rock alternative

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.

Henry was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, but grew up in the Detroit area where he met Melanie Ciccone, Madonna's sister, whom he married in 1987. In 1985 he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he played at small clubs. His debut album Talk of Heaven came out in 1986. He signed to A&M Records and released two albums, Murder of Crows (1989) and Shuffletown (1990)

After Henry and his wife moved to Los Angeles in 1990, he left A&M in 1992 to join the independent label Mammoth, located in North Carolina. He released Short Man's Room and Kindness of the World, on which members of the Jayhawks provided instrumental backing.

In the mid-1990s Henry decided "to do something decidedly more eclectic" instead of continuing with country-rock. He turned to producer Patrick McCarthy, in making his next album Trampoline (1996). Trampoline also employed metal guitarist Page Hamilton, who demonstrated his own eagerness to stretch by collaborating on the album.

Asked to contribute a song to a benefit album for singer Vic Chesnutt in 1996, Henry also collaborated with his famous sister-in-law on a cover of Chesnutt's "Guilty by Association" (Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation, The Songs of Vic Chesnutt, 1996).

In 1999 Henry released the experimental album Fuse with trip hop shadings. His eighth album, Scar, followed in 2001. The band on the record consisted mainly of jazz musicians (Marc Ribot, Brian Blade and Brad Mehldau among others) and Jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman guesting on the track "Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation".

In 2001, Henry sang on the song "Alleluia" from Julia Fordham's album, Concrete Love. His self-produced album Tiny Voices appeared on Epitaph's Anti label in 2003.

Henry produced Teddy Thompson's 2000 album Teddy Thompson, a critically acclaimed album from the son of British folk legends, Linda Thompson and Richard Thompson. Henry also produced Solomon Burke's 2002 album Don't Give Up On Me, which won Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 2003 Grammy Awards. 2005 releases produced by Henry include Ani DiFranco's Knuckle Down, Aimee Mann's 1970s concept album The Forgotten Arm, and Bettye LaVette's I've Got My Own Hell to Raise.

He also produced the multi-artist album I Believe to My Soul, which featured Allen Toussaint, Mavis Staples, Ann Peebles, Irma Thomas and Billy Preston.

In 2006, Henry teamed with Toussaint, producing his collaborative album with Elvis Costello, The River in Reverse.

In September of 2006, Henry and his longtime hero Loudon Wainwright III began composing the music for the Judd Apatow movie Knocked Up. Snippets of instrumentals were used as background score for the film, but the full versions of the songs make up Wainwright's 2007 album Strange Weirdos. Henry produced Mary Gauthier's 2007 album Between Daylight and Dark.

Henry's 10th album, "Civilians," was released in 2007 on the Anti label. His 11th album, Blood From Stars, followed in 2009, and his 12th, Reverie, was released in 2011.

Joe Henry has published photos.