Follow us:

Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

December 6, 2013 at 5:54 AM

Seattle loves Joe Henry and he loves us, too, especially our restaurants | Concert preview

(Lauren Dukoff)

(Lauren Dukoff)

When legendary singer-songwriter Joe Henry decided to book his first ever solo acoustic headlining tour, he selected just four cities. Seattle was lucky enough to rate, and on Saturday night he’ll play songs at the Triple Door from his dozen albums.

Henry chose Seattle not just because audiences here appreciate him — he was a radio favorite on the Mountain — but also because of a restaurant.

“I had to pick somewhere to play,” Henry said by phone last week. “So I chose cities where I have significant relationships with chefs.”

In Seattle, the restaurant is Brad’s Swingside Café, in Fremont.

“I’ve eaten there dozens of times,” Henry says, “and I’ve never once looked at a menu. Brad is just incredibly gifted.”

The same has often been said of Henry, who Paste magazine once said wrote songs “that don’t fit into an easily defined box,” an apt description of Henry’s entire career, which has encompassed many aspects of music. Though over three decades Henry has never scored a mainstream hit, his albums all contain a rare level of songwriting artistry.  He’s also become known as a film composer, songwriter and producer.

Henry produced most of Bonnie Raitt’s recent “Slipstream,” Billy Bragg’s “Tooth and Nail,” the latest hit from Over the Rhine and also tracks by Taj Mahal, Solomon Burke and dozens more. He’s currently taking a break from producing to do these shows.

“I wanted to do these for no other reason than I’m a singer, and I feel compelled to play, to put myself out on the wire,” Henry said.

This isn’t Henry’s only Seattle appearance this season; he was just here last month on a book tour for his excellent new Richard Pryor biography “Furious Cool.” It’s an unusual book, more a grouping of stories on why Pryor was important and what made him who he was than a normal biography. But that’s exactly what you’d expect from Henry, who wrote it with his brother David. Ultimately, it is revealing and rewarding.

That same sense of creativity will no doubt inform Henry’s solo show. He said he picked songs driven by a “need for discovery.” To illustrate, he quoted the line from “The Waking” by Seattle’s Theodore Roethke: “I learn by going where I have to go.”

On Saturday, that need to be “out on the wire,” as he describes it, will take Henry onstage at the Triple Door. But you can bet that sometime during his stay in Seattle, he’ll be dining at Brad’s. He’ll be the guy who doesn’t need to look at the menu.

Joe Henry

8 p.m. Saturday at the Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $25 (206-838-4333 or www.thetripledoor.net).

Comments | More in Americana, Rock/Pop | Topics: Bonnie Raitt, Brad's Swingside, Concert Preview

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►