Flowers on the Hillside Blooming Crazy

Last weekend, Ben and I had the privilege of participating in Caffe Lena's Folk-A-Thon, a weekend-long celebration and fundraiser for the country's oldest, continuously-run folk venue, located in beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY. We played a duo set of mostly brand-new material from our upcoming record, due out in August, a couple old chestnuts, and a cover of Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go." We chose that song because it seemed fitting: the Folk-A-Thon was a goodbye, of sorts, to the old venue, the old stage, before renovations begin--the same stage on which Dylan himself stood on numerous occasions in the club's early years. "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" is, to my mind, one of the finest goodbye, end-of-relationship songs ever penned, striking the perfect balance between sadness and hopefulness. It is painful and poignant and beautiful. Last weekend was the first time we played it live, and, to quote Tony Markellis, "No one got hurt," which is to say it was well received.

But, if I am being honest, I originally learned "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome" not for the Caffe Lena event, but rather to play at my friend Carole's memorial service. She was a lover of the arts, a huge supporter of the band, and just an incredible person in general. I was honored to have been asked to play a tune or two, and I immediately knew I wanted to do Dylan's song. But, due to a series of unexpected personal reasons, I was unable to attend. At the time, those reasons were dire enough to be valid excuses for missing the service, but now, 6 months later, they feel flimsy. I wish I had a redo. 

Today is Mother's Day, and we will be playing at T-Bones in Plymouth, the town where Carole made her home, spread joy, and left her mark on the community. Ben and I are going to play "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You're Gone" today, and though it's 6 months too late, one's spirit never leaves us. It's never too late to pay tribute. 

As I mentioned, the new record is 100% done. Shortly we will post sneak previews, pre-order information, and so on. Also, be sure to check our show schedule; new gigs are being added all the time, including Wednesday, May 25, in Saratoga Springs, NY, at the Mouzon House, with Tony on bass, which happens to be my 40th birthday (yikes! 40? Is that possible?). I hope to see many familiar faces from the 518! 

Happy Mother's Day, y'all!

Andy & JH

Inside Out at The Fallout Shelter

In an attempt to summarize our show at The Fallout Shelter, I have written and deleted this post at least five times. Words can't do it justice. To fully understand, you have to experience it yourself. Look up their schedule and pick one. Bill Hurley and his team at The Extended Play Sessions bring in the best Americana and roots acts working today and put them up on a glimmering stage in front of an intimate, engaged audience--and film it all in glorious HD. It is an amazing experience to be a part of, and one that we will not soon forget. Hayley opened the show and dropped jaws with a gorgeous set of all new material, and Rob Loyot, who recorded and produced our album Inside Out, added blistering saxophone and percussion to our set. Hayley later joined us for a reprise of our "Deep in the Dirt" duet from Around These Parts. The whole evening was a gem. 

We are excited to share this glimpse into our performance at The Fallout Shelter. The rest of the episode will air in a couple months, and if this snapshot is any indication, it's going to be special. Enjoy!

The Extended Play Sessions - Friday, March 11

Friends, we are thrilled to announce that on Friday, March 11, Jo Henley will perform a live show at The Fallout Shelter in Norwood, MA, to be filmed for an upcoming episode of The Extended Play Sessions. Better still, the amazing Hayley Sabella will open the show and an old friend of ours, Robert Loyot, who recorded and produced our album "Inside Out," will join us on saxophone and percussion.

The Extended Play Sessions Fallout Shelter is an incredible place to see live music. It blew my mind the first time I stepped foot inside. Seating is limited, making it an intimate listening experience, plus there is free food and beverages, all for a suggested donation of a mere $25. You simply cannot find a better deal than that. Shows at The Fallout Shelter are NOT open to the public, but anyone who wants to attend and be part of this special night can reserve a seat by sending an email to studioconcertseries@gmail.com. Also feel free to message me with any questions.

PS:  Everyone in attendance will receive one of these limited-edition posters!

Thank you, Rockland. Hello, Plymouth.

2016 is going to be our year. We kicked the year off in style with a return to Rockland on Friday night, taking the stage to a packed house at Players Sports Bar. With our bud Amer Saab joining us on keyboards--a vintage Wurlitzer--we were ready to dig into some deep jams, and the crowd was right there with us. It was a special night. We debuted some new covers, including a funky, adventurous Scarlet > Fire, and introduced some brand-new songs that I can already tell will be in regular rotation in our live shows for years to come. So many times I found myself closing my eyes, smiling wide, feeling the music wash over me. 

The success of Friday's show has us itching for T-Bones this Saturday, January 30, from 1-5pm in Plymouth. Don't miss this one; we've got some surprises in store for you!

Check back soon--we have new merch on the way (stickers, hats, and other swag), new gigs to be announced shortly, and of course we are putting the finishing touches on a new record, due out this summer. 2016 is our year. Jump on the train. Enjoy the ride with us.

See you at the shows,

Andy & JH

Goodbye, Fall

This morning I awoke to a thick patina of frost on the autumnal landscape of fallen leaves and pumpkins, and, in my garden, the cold-hardy Brussels sprouts and collard greens. I'd fired up the ol' charcoal grill over the weekend to smoke some turkey legs and watch the sky change colors as I drank dark porter and kicked a soccer ball around with my kids, wringing out every last drop of fall from the air before winter rolled in. Truth be told, I have a soft spot for winter. Dressed up in gunmetal-gray and earthy browns initially, and then, before long, downy white snow, winter means braises and soups and bold red wines and pilly wool hats and a warm house and a good book. My old Martin sounds better to my ear while strummed overlooking a snowflake-filled sky. Sure, come February, I will lust over the promise of an impending spring, but until then, there is much to love about this time of year and I intend to romanticize it all out of proportion.

This Friday, December 4, Ben and I head to Saratoga to join Tony Markellis for the winter portion of his ongoing music series at Mouzon House. The three of us have worked a whole lot together over the years, and we always have a lot of fun. More than just fun, though, we make some fine music together. Jo Henley has many faces: duos, trios, full-band, electric, acoustic, and so on, but no matter what, at the very heart of it all, are the songs. That's the foundation upon which all the rest is built, and when the three of us play together, the songs shine. They are broken down to their essence, allowing the stories, the narratives, to unfold. We dig deep, this trio, so you can safely expect we will be playing songs that span our discography, from our very first EP to brand-new tunes. We go on at 7pm. The patio is heated and enclosed, and Saratoga is sure to be sparkling this time of year. Join us!

Looking ahead, we have a full-band show at Aeronuat Brewing Company on Thursday, December 17. We played Aeronaut for the first time in October and loved it. So much fun! Outstanding beer, super nice people, and a just overall a great vibe. We hope to see you all there, Boston-area friends, for what is likely to be our last show of 2015. 

Andy & JH

Roots-Rocktober

I once heard Jason Isbell refer to fall as his favorite day of the year. In Alabama that might be true, but here in New England we are fortunate to have at least, oh, I don't know, 5 or 6 days of fall. Give or take. Despite what the calendar says, temperature-wise today felt more like a very late fall day, and I found myself craving something autumnal for dinner, so whipped up a batch of maple-cider roasted chicken and a big ol' pot of fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes as the wind outside howled through the trees and kicked up leaves and tossed them around the yard.

There are a couple more to come, but as of this writing I have two Jo Henley shows to announce in the coming weeks. The first is next Friday evening, October 9, at Aeronaut Brewing Company, a terrific craft brewery and taproom in Somerville, MA (14 Tyler St.). This is happening spot with a cool vibe, great beer, and we are really looking forward to making our debut there. We play the happy hour slot, from 6:30-8:15, and it's free, so come on out and have some fun with us next Friday night.

The only place that can rival is craft brewery is? An artisinal distillery of course! Lucky for us, we have been invited to play a special Halloween-themed show on Friday, October 30, at Silo Distillery in beautiful Windsor, VT(3 Artisans Way). This one is going to be fun. The good folks at Silo make hand-crafted, small-batch spirits, which I, and we as a band, are very much looking forward to sampling. Aged whiskey, bourbon, gin, moonshine, vodka, and more--they do it all and all of it well. I can't think of a better place for a Halloween party, so we hope all of our Vermont fans will be sure to join us. We'll play a bunch of JH songs and are guaranteed to get into some deep jams, but we are also working up a bunch of surprise cover songs for just the occasion. If you are inclined to come in your Halloween costume, that would be awesome. But we won't hold it against you if you don't. It's going to be a fantastic night either way! We play from 5:30-7:30, so come early and help us sample the, ahem, spirits! 

Happy fall. See you at the shows!

Out on the Weekend

Hey friends!

This Friday, Ben, Rebecca, and I are playing in my hometown of Schenectady, NY, at Cafe Nola (617 Union Street), with our friend and bassist Tony Markellis joining us for the night. Music starts at 6:30pm. Cafe Nola serves excellent New Orleans-inspired food and a wide range of beer and drinks. This will be our third time playing there and we are really looking forward to it. Always a good time!

Our Cafe Nola show is just part of our weekend trip to Schenectady. We are also in town to work on our debut acoustic trio EP with producer Tim Lynch and the good folks at The Recording Company. We have a few songs already tracked, and I couldn't be happier with the results. We soon will have an official website launch, EP release, press photos, more shows booked, and, yes, a name. Everyone keeps asking us about the name. All in due time!

In addition to our trio EP, Rebecca will also be lending her lovely voice to the new Jo Henley record that Ben and I are just about to wrap up. This has been our (almost) secret project for much of the past 7 months, and every time I listen to the rough mixes, I get chills. It floors me. I don't want to say too much about it yet. There is still some work to do, not to mention mastering, artwork, vinyl pressings, and all that good stuff. January 2016 is our target date. I'll share some sneak peeks from the studio this weekend so you can hear for yourself.

Come out to Cafe Nola. There's going to be a great crowd at a great venue and Ben, Rebecca, Tony, and I are ready to put on a damn good show for you. See you there!

Andy

...I just wanna bang on my drums all day

It seems impossible that this is September here in New England. 91 degrees yesterday, 92 today, and nothing but glorious sunshine all this Labor Day weekend. I hope yours is just as beautiful wherever you are.

Last weekend we had two amazing--and amazingly fun--shows. Our friend Ari, who joined us on the drums for both, snapped this photo of my boy sitting in behind the kit for a couple of songs, including the live debut of a new JH song, "Ghosts Between My Bones." 

The Sun Sets on August

The twilight of August is upon us, bringing with it the beginning of the end of another glorious New England summer. I am always sad to see the season go, but I haven't much to complain about--I spent a large chunk of this summer hiking, camping, canoeing, and exploring the hills, mountains, and beaches of Vermont and Maine and the Adirondacks. It is so easy to get swallowed up by gadgets and social media and the day-to-day rate race and forget that all around us, usually not more than a very short drive away, is a respite from it all in the form of nature. I know, that almost sounds corny, but it's true. At least it was true for me this summer. I often say that my job in life, if you will, is to experience as many things as I can, process it, ponder it, and turn it into song (or prose or some other creative medium). What makes me incredibly lucky is that I have amazing bandmates to help me make them even better than I ever could alone. My jaunts into the wilderness have filled me with energy and stories and songs. I am excited for what comes next.

This is going to be a super fun weekend of music-making. Ben, Kent, Ari, Rebecca, and I are playing at Woburn's Horn Pond Summer Concert Series tomorrow night--Friday, August 28, from 6-8pm--and then on Saturday, August 29, at T-Bones Roadhouse in Plymouth from 1-5pm. Both shows are FREE. When the five of us play together, it combines the vocals and rootsy qualities of our new acoustic trio with Rebecca with the jammy rock side of Jo Henley and brings JH to a whole new level. Ben and I have seen (or heard, I should say) Jo Henley take shape in numerous different ways over the years, all of them wonderful in their own way, but this particular lineup is especially...agile is the word that comes to mind. We collectively have this feeling that we are equipped to handle wherever the songs take us. Come see for yourself what I mean. Summer may be winding down, the but we all know fall is, really and truly, the best time of year. I can't wait to see, and hear, what comes next. See you at the shows!

Andy & JH

Summer

Happy summer daze, friends! Thanks to all who came out to our shows last weekend at T-Bones on Saturday and the Lion Eyes Ride for Sight, a fundraiser to raise money for the blind, hosted by the Rockland Lions Club. Our friend Ari joined us on drums and helped Ben, Kent, and I take some old jams to very new places, as well as adding his jazzy touch to some of our latest material. I'm headed down south to the mountains for some writing inspiration and to visit some old friends for the next couple of weeks, but we we have some excellent shows lined up for August, including headlining Woburn's Horn Pond Summer Concert Series on Friday, August 21, and a return to the Gulu-Gulu in Salem, MA, on Saturday, August 22. Both are free shows, so come on out!

We weren't going to say anything until it was 100% finished, but rumors have been leaking so we might as well come clean: Ben and I have been quietly making a new Jo Henley record, which we will be wrapping up in early August and expect to release by the end of the year. It started off as just something fun to do over the week between Christmas and New Years, challenging ourselves to push the boundaries of roots-rock and the "sound" that Jo Henley has become known for, but what was supposed to be a simple EP quickly sounded so fresh and exciting that we decided to keep following the muse, writing new material, and here we are, just about to start mixing. I don't want to say too much about it, except that we think our fans are really going to be surprised--and happy--with this one. We'll share our first single with you later this summer.

But wait, there's MORE! Those of you who have come out to see our acoustic shows the past few months, including our late-May show at Club Passim, know that we have a new partner-in-crime in vocalist Rebecca Turner. This spring, Ben and I had wanted to play a string of duo gigs, but we didn't necessarily just want to play stripped-down versions of our Jo Henley songs. We wanted something new and different instead. We wanted to fuse the rootsy-jammy sound that is our bread-and-butter with the old-school country and folk duets along the lines of George and Tammy, Gram and Emmylou, and so on. Lyrically, I wanted the challenge of coming up with songs that could be sung as male/female dialogue and different viewpoints than what we typically do in Jo Henley, and musically the starkness of the acoustic guitars and melding of my and Rebecca's vocals opens up whole new worlds. It has been a tremendous experience so far and we are having a blast. Two weeks ago we headed to The Recording Company to track a couple of these new trio songs and they turned out amazing. We hope to have full EP completed later this fall, so be on the lookout! (By then we will also have a name for our trio, too. If you have any suggestions, let us know!)

In the meantime, please keep in touch, look for us on Facebook, and check our show schedule often as we have a bunch of new ones in the works, both as the full Jo Henley and our trio. I feel super lucky to keep doing what I love to do with such amazing folks.

Thank you for your continued support, friends. See you at the shows!

Andy & JH

Club Passim tomorrow!

Friends! Tomorrow afternoon--Saturday, May 30--Jo Henley returns to the legendary, subterranean folk venue Club Passim for an intimate, special performance. Ben, Jordan, Kent, and I will be playing a bluegrass-flavored rendition fan-favorite JH songs, some old chestnuts that haven't been played in years, and a couple brand-new ones.

We also are going to officially unveil a new side acoustic trio side project that Ben and I have been working on with our friend Rebecca Turner, a talented vocalist and veteran of the local music scene. If you are fans of the likes of Gillian Welch, George & Tammy, Gram & Emmylou, The Civil Wars, and so on--and how can you not?-- then you will appreciate what we've been up to. We have been hard at work writing new material specifically for this trio and will be playing those songs for the first time tomorrow at Passim. When we started getting together, to find common ground, we came up with a long list of old-school and even modern folk/country songs we all love and wanted to cover, so we will play some of those too, and we have reworked a bunch of Jo Henley songs too, which we think you guys will like. We are having a blast, and although it's required a lot of homework, a lot of preparation, it has been a whole bunch of fun! We are excited to share with you what we've been up to. Merging these two musical worlds is going to make for a great show tomorrow. I hope you will all come out! Tickets will be available at the door, but if you want to reserve a seat, I suggest you get your tickets online ahead of time here: https://tickets.passim.org/ordertickets.asp?p=4601&backurl=default.asp

Show starts at 3pm sharp! And it's all-ages, so bring the kids!

Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (Harvard Square)

We will be busy all summer along, with plenty more dates to come too, so be sure to check our calendar!

Andy

Upcoming Shows!

Hey friends,

Our spring and summer schedule is quickly picking up steam--this is going to be a great stretch of gigs, with lots of new venues and towns, along with stops at all of our usual favorites. There are plenty more show announcements to come too--as well as some projects in the works that we are really excited to tell you guys about--so stay tuned. This is shaping up to be a special year for us!

Below are our upcoming performances. You can find more details, as well as our entire schedule, here.

  • Saturday, May 2 @ Cafe Nola - Schenectady, NY. 6:30pm (Andy & Ben duo show)
  • Wednesday, May 13 @ Mouzon House - Saratoga Springs, NY. 7pm. (Andy, Ben, & Tony trio show)
  • Saturday, May 16 @ Office Bistro - Plymouth, MA. 7pm. (acoustic show)
  • Saturday, May 23 @ T-Bones Roadhouse - Plymouth, MA. 1pm.
  • Saturday, May 30 @ Club Passim - Cambridge, MA. 3pm (matinee show!)

Every show is important to us, and playing live is what we love to do, but we are especially looking forward to our matinee show at Club Passim on Saturday, May 30. This is a very special venue for us, so we tried to find a day and time that would allow as many folks, including those from out of town, to come out and see us as possible. We also hope to debut that afternoon part of the aforementioned new project we've been working on. This is going to be one show you won't want to miss. Space is limited at Club Passim, so reserve your tickets now to ensure yourself a seat.

See you at the shows!

Andy & JH

The Noise reviews "Around These Parts"

Boston music magazine The Noise reviewed Around These Parts for their April issue. Check it out!

JO HENLEY

Around These Parts                

10 tracks

These guys are great. The ease and grace of their playing comes through like a live performance in the spirited little guitar riffs, and the subtle touches of mandolin and banjo. I’m heartened by the love for earth expressed in the song “The Last Monkey Maker”: “We can tar all our hillsides with roads/ Turn our art into binary codes/ You can’t know where you’re going/ If you don’t know what you left behind/ When the last monkey maker leaves town.”

“Deep in the Dirt” is a sad lament about love and loss, with wonderful vocal support by Hayley Sabella. “Under your knees/ As you free your garden of weeds/ The sky shines in my face/ Under your weight/I feel the ache of your hurt/ And I hear your remorse/ Deep in the Dirt.” “Jericho” flies along under a ripping melody supported with mandolin and impassioned vocal. “I want your love/ I need your love.” Those words have been in many songs; I feel them in this one. Fear is a theme that can find solace in a song. “Wait til May” speaks of some sort of tragic event and the way adults cope. “But we’re alright/ We’re okay/ I tell myself/ We’ll find a way/ The sun will burn away the night/ Wait til May with me tonight.” I wonder if it’s about the Boston Marathon bombing. Hayley Sabella sings on this one as well. I feel like I’ve heard “One More Night” before, even though I haven’t. It has that kind of epic rock sound like The Band or Creedence Clearwater Revival. “I’ve got a chip as big as Brooklyn/ On my shoulder/ I don’t want to hear/ There’s more to life than this/ Next week I’ll pick myself up by my bootstraps/ But tonight/ I’m full of vinegar and piss.”

There is a lot of heart in this CD, culminating in “Around These Parts”: “Dear Katie/ I’m settling in/ Winter’s here and I’m probably drinking/ More than one man should when he’s alone/ Come spring I’ll be hard to find/ I’m moving ’cross the Canadian side and I’m never coming home/ Around these parts I call home.” This album moves along with ardent vocals and guitar playing, telling stories of human life.                       (Kimmy Sophia Brown)

Thank you!

THANK YOU to all who came out to the Jo Henley/Grassroot show at Johnny D's on Friday night. It was a huge success! Boston-area photographer Richard Chase (who took the photo below) was there to capture some of it. You can find more of his excellent work here.

"Deep in the Dirt" Official Music Video

We are thrilled to share with you the official music video for "Deep in the Dirt," the first single off Around These Parts. Our good friend and filmmaker (and cartoonist, musician, documentarian, concert promoter, and a dozen other things) Jon Dorn and I had a brief conversation about the general idea for the video, but other than that, this is really Jon's work. I have long admired his sensibility and style and felt his ability to tell a story would shine through in "Deep in the Dirt," and I was right. This is not the band lip-syncing to the song. We aimed for something more cinematic, and Jon and his film production company Four String Films delivered in spades. We hope you enjoy it! And, of course, please share!!

Andy & JH