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Joe Henry Returns to His Roots

Joe Henry was cool even as a teenager. I just happen to know this because we both attended Rochester Adams High in the suburbs of Detroit. His family had moved to Michigan from the South, and even now, you can hear the southern gentleman in his cadence and manners. But, yes, back in 12th grade, Henry was smart, kind of quiet and, to my mind, very cool. Today, he is the thinking person's songwriter: an L.A.-based family man (he married my classmate, Melanie) and a citizen of the world. Melanie's big sister, by the way, was in my big brother's class of '77. Her name is Madonna. But that's another story...

While we didn't break out our yearbooks during this visit, we did dig deep into his new CD Civilians –- a rich, acoustic affair that returns us to Henry's rootsier sounds. It is certainly among the best records of the year and a perfect complement to an album he produced — Mary Gauthier's Between Daylight and Dark. And why do I bring up Gauthier? Two artists, one studio and one great musical moment.

More About Joe Henry

While Joe Henry is best known for his early country albums, 1992's Short Man's Room and 1993's Kindness of the World, his interest in songwriting and producing has yielded an impressive and diverse resume. He's helmed albums for funk and soul singers, contributing some of his own songs to their albums. His latest CD is titled Civilians.

Copyright 2007 WFUV

Claudia Marshall
Though she started her broadcasting career as a news reporter, City Folk Morning host Claudia Marshall is a music lover at heart — she's from Motown, after all.