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Joe Henry On Influences: Take Me To The River


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For three decades, the singer, songwriter, producer, and author Joe Henry has been shaping and reshaping a working definition of American music that is as rich and rewarding as that of his any of his peers. From his early years as a budding raconteur in Michigan and New York to his major-label run in the late ’90s, the Charlotte native and Los Angeles resident has seen the song as a sacred vehicle for emotional articulation and cultural exploration, a way to scratch at some truth while scrambling quaint perceptions of genre. He is an American folk singer in the bravest sense of the word: his work assimilates a century of this country’s musical ideas and expressions into unforgettable songs. In a unique three-day residency with Duke Performances, Henry will examine his artistry from several distinct angles. Henry begins his residency with a free Thursday evening talk at the Nasher Museum of Art, called Take Me to the River, about the ephemeral, mystical nature of artistic predecessors. He says of the talk, “Past influences are not static imprints, but rather like minerals in the blood, as old as time, and reconfiguring our very personal chemistry, even as you read this.”

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