Quiet Industry (artist release)
cdRoots Code: henrys-quiet
The 2015 release by Toronto legends, The Henrys. Led by kona-guitarist Don Rooke, with Hugh Marsh (violin), John Sheard (pump and electric organs), Andrew Dowling (acoustic bass), David Di Renzo (percussion) and vocalists Gregory Hoskins and Tara Dunphy. This one is heavy on lyrics and introduces a great new singer to the band. Highly recommended.
The Henrys is a Toronto-based ‘nearly-instrumental’ group that performs as a quartet, or quintet, but records with a larger stable of players. Led by Don Rooke, since 1990 the band’s goal has always been to compose, record and perform original music that has no obvious genre, but draws on a variety of styles in an original, identifiable way. In the words of Toronto Star reviewer Greg Quill:
"Toronto kona player Don Rooke and his ensemble of like-minded abstract sound architects stand out on their fourth album as the high-minded intellectuals in their class, the quiet scientists scratching away at the borders of the folk/time continuum. ‘Old instruments, new sounds’ is the way Rooke describes what The Henrys do - they extract from a resonator guitar and other plucked acoustic instruments the harmonics, overtones and oblique noises behind the rustic notes to create landscapes that are astonishingly romantic, frightening, sexual, spiritual - and quite beautiful. Brave new music.”
The music features the sound of an antique slide guitar called the kona (and other slide guitars). Manufactured out of Hawaiian koa wood in California in the 1920s, the kona has a rare tonal purity. It’s played slide style, flat, with a small steel bar. Mixed with vocals, organ, bass and drums - and often unusual elements: conch shell, quarter-tone trumpet, pump organ, chordette, odd percussion pieces, sonar zombie, steel drums - the sound of the band has been defined and refined over the years.
The Henrys have been performing (on and off) for over 20 years, with concerts around the world. They’ve played at the Sweetwaters festival in New Zealand, the North Sea Festival in Holland, SXSW in Austin, Luminato and Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, the Vancouver and Calgary Folk Festivals, and many other locations. They headlined at NYC's famous Bottom Line in 1998. It is the eclectic nature of the music that makes them equally at home in folk, jazz and indie/alternative venues.
The group’s latest CD, Quiet Industry, is their sixth. It joins five other internationally acclaimed recordings: Is This Tomorrow (2009), Joyous Porous (2002), Desert Cure (1998), Chasing Grace (1996), Puerto Angel (1994), as well as a solo CD, Atlas Travel, by the band's leader.
The 1994 independent Canadian release of the first disc, Puerto Angel, led to international exposure. Soon after its release England's Demon Records (Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe) released Puerto Angel in Europe. The influential Q Magazine gave it a 4-star review. Mojo called it "a delight on numerous levels." The CD was subsequently released in the USA where Ink Magazine described it as, "classic Americana. Wonderfully arranged, sharply talented and springing from the sheer joy of playing. Something extraordinary."
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