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. On Friday evening, Henry gives a talk about the alchemical process of making records, “Is It Rolling, Bob?,” at Durham’s Sound Pure Studios. An acclaimed producer who has worked with the likes of Elvis Costello, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Bonnie Raitt, Henry says that making records has “little to do with so-called self-expression, and everything to do with discovery.” He ponders the process of songwriting and recording in real time in one of the region’s best listening rooms.