Magazine article Guitar Player

Songcraft: Joe Henry

Magazine article Guitar Player

Songcraft: Joe Henry

Article excerpt

Having recently become a father, Joe Henry began demoing Fuse [Mammoth] while his baby was napping. The bundle of joy did inspire his writing, but not in the manner you might think. When the child awoke, Henry snatched the Playskool baby monitor, plopped the transmitter in front of an amp, put a mic against the receiver, and used the system to record some "walkie-talkie-toned" guitar tracks. A talented guitarist and a witty lyricist, Henry called in some other players for the album (including Anthony Wilson, Chris Whitley, and Randy Jacobs), and made melody his number one priority.

"Melody is the most timeless thing," says Henry. "If you can find that, you're ten miles farther down the road than you would be otherwise. I once asked myself, `How did Duke Ellington operate?' Frequently, I think he started from a point of melody rather than, `Here are three chords that sound good, now we need a melody to weave through it. …

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