Around These Parts 

December 11, 2013

The last time we played one of our favorite venues, T-Bones Roadhouse in Plymouth, MA, was October 19. My wife Ellen was very pregnant by then, but still a couple weeks shy of her due date. We--the band--had been preparing for the newest member of my family by slowing things down and clearing the Jo Henley calendar for a little while, allowing me some time to keep close to home. I didn't want to be at a gig somewhere, get a call that the baby was on its way, like, RIGHT NOW!, and have to leave in a flurry of madness to get to the hospital in time, so it only made sense to not book anything for a few weeks leading up to the due date. And then on the other end, I wanted to keep our schedule mostly free after the baby arrived. To use one of my son's favorite phrases, I needed to "cool it down."

Cool it down. Yes, indeed, Anthony.

In June, my wife (already quite pregnant by then) and I looked around our cramped two-bedroom apartment in Brighton, decided we needed more space, and did what any rational couple with a three year old and another on the way would do: we went house hunting. We headed out of the city and up to the North Shore, found a small blue ranch on a quiet street with a yard big enough for cookouts and several raised garden beds and room for kids to run around, and made an offer. Two hours before we took the stage in late July at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs, I got a phone call to say our offer was accepted. (We were wofing down doughboys outside Esperanta on Caroline St., to be exact.)

We closed on our house on September 30. We moved in October 2. Jo Henley played T-Bones on October 19. And on October 20, my son was born. Two weeks early. Yup. Nuts. Had he decided 24 hours earlier that he'd had enough and was ready to come into this world, I would have been that crazed dad driving like a frigging lunatic on his way to the hospital, trying to make it in time!

Well, Anthony, I've cooled it down long enough. It's time to heat it up again.

2013 was an incredible year for me, one that was split into almost two equal halves. In the first half, Jo Henley released the incredbly well-received The Fall Comes Early record and toured behind it and promoted the heck out of it. And I just told you all about the second half.

2014 is going to be a monster year for Jo Henley as a band, and we're not going to wait for the calendar to flip to start making it happen. On December 26, we're headed back to Tim Lynch's studio, The Recording Company, in Upstate NY for a week to begin tracking a new record. Earler this year, Ben emailed me an instrumental piece he'd written called "Bayley-Hazen Road." I was in my car at the time. I downloaded it, hooked my phone up to my speakers with one of those god-awful cassette adapter thingies, and played it a few times. The music was fantastic, and instantly compelling. The melody came to me quickly. I didn't have any specfic lyrics, but Ben later told me the title of the song and a bit about the history behind it, which gave me direction and focus. I loved the song right away, and its vibe, its mood and beat and character, set the tone for all the songs that followed.

I would be lying if I told you we know exactly what our gameplan is with this new record, because we don't. Ben, Mike, and I have a good bunch of songs that we are really psyched about, general arrangements, some cool ideas as to how we want to approach the recording, and I have a working title: Around These Parts. Tim Lynch is going to record and produce it, and and Tony Markellis is going to provide his incomparable bass skills once again, so how can it turn out to be anything but awesome? It is going to be a winter album, something to throw on on those cold, peaceful mornings when it feels like you are the only one awake on the planet, and the world outside is bare and blanketed in snow and starkly beautiful. In my new house, the windows in both the kitchen and living room face stunning watercolor sunrises each morning. That, I'm sure, has something to do with where my mind is taking these songs lyrically. Not to mention...oh, know knows? I suppose to say anything more about it is premature. (A winter album that we plan to release in the late spring, just in time for summer! Perfect timing!)

We have a bunch of other plans in the works for 2014, too, including an EP, a summer tour, a tour out west in the fall, and a documentary. I can't wait. Life is good.

Stay tuned...

Andy & JH


 

1 Comment

  • Rain

    Rain

    Hey Andy, just read your recent blurb. Loved it. Love the energy!! Makes me happy - you have a contagion! Re: water color skies - was thinking the same on the way into work this a.m. Am taking a week or 2 off during the holidays and as I was staring at the beautiful morning winter sky escorting me to work, I was thinking of spending some of the off time trying to figure out how to capture the winter sky by camera - just sky, no tree tops, no nothing but sky. Then I'll try and track down the white deer, which so far has not re-appeared this season. It will. I suppose I have to get out there in that big field and sing. Are you aware that deer love singing? Absolute truth.
    Hey Andy, just read your recent blurb. Loved it. Love the energy!! Makes me happy - you have a contagion! Re: water color skies - was thinking the same on the way into work this a.m. Am taking a week or 2 off during the holidays and as I was staring at the beautiful morning winter sky escorting me to work, I was thinking of spending some of the off time trying to figure out how to capture the winter sky by camera - just sky, no tree tops, no nothing but sky. Then I'll try and track down the white deer, which so far has not re-appeared this season. It will. I suppose I have to get out there in that big field and sing. Are you aware that deer love singing? Absolute truth.