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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Bird and The Bee at Underground Arts, Whaler at Boot & Saddle, Billy Bragg and Joe Henry at Union Transfer

the bird and the bee
The Bird and The Bee | photo courtesy of the artist

California indie pop outfit The Bird and The Bee headline Underground Arts tonight. The duo of Inara George and Greg Kurstin released their fourth studio LP Recreational Love last year, following a 2010 Hall & Oates tribute album (check out “I Can’t Go For That” here). This tour features Inara sans Greg, though she’ll still be joined by her stellar backing band. Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here. Watch “Will You Dance?” below.

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NonCOMM Recap: Billy Bragg and Joe Henry led a trip down the dusty trails of America

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

Legendary singer-songwriters Billy Bragg and Joe Henry brought their collaborative new album Shine a Light to the PRX Music Stage upstairs at NonCOMM tonight. Recorded during a 65 hour train ride across America, the record digs into the country’s rich locomotive and folk music history.

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Stream Joe Henry’s new album, Invisible Hour in its entirety; listen to his Free at Noon set

Photo by Daniel Wheeler
Photo by Daniel Wheeler

Singer-songwriter and producer Joe Henry releases his new album, Invisible Hour, on June 3rd, and can be streamed in its entirety here via NPR Music’s First Listen series. Recorded with a stellar group of musicians including drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist Jennifer Condos, pedal-steel player Greg Leisz, and Joe’s son Levon. Novelist Colum McCann contributes lyrics and singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan vocals on the album’s title song. The warm, acoustic set is Henry’s 13th solo album. In the liner notes for the album, Henry explains the subject matter of the album:

As much as anything, perhaps these are all songs about marriage – marriage as a verb, not a noun; not a thing to be possessed but a habit of one’s being; the machinery and the mystery both sparking at the same mercurial flames. Married describing what it means to truly live (not necessarily unfailingly) and abide within the moving frame of commitment; commitment to love, to forgiveness, to eternal doubt, to the courage of awareness.

Many of the moments on Invisible Hour are frail and quiet, and evoke poetic solitude, a feeling that definitely came across when Henry played the second half of a Free at Noon doubleheader at World Cafe Live last Friday. Check out photos from his performance and listen to the set in its entirety below. Henry plays World Cafe Live on Thursday, June 26th. Go here for tickets and more information.

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Joe Henry will bring his ambitious amalgam of styles to World Cafe Live in June

Photo courtesy of artist
Photo courtesy of artist

As a solo artist, singer-songwriter and producer Joe Henry has released a dozen albums since his debut in 1986. Early in his career, he released a trilogy of records like Short Man’s Room (1992), Kindness of the World (1993) and Fireman’s Wedding (1994) that featured members of The Jayhawks, were firmly rooted in the country flavorings of Americana. Since the release of his 2001 album Scar, Henry’s music direction has evolved to incorporate elements of jazz with an ambitious amalgam of styles that push the boundaries of what we’ve think of as contemporary pop music. As an in-demand producer, Henry has worked with Allen Toussaint, Susan Tedeschi, Solomon Burke, Aimee Mann, Bettye Lavette, Bonnie Raitt, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and others. Henry is releasing a new album, Invisible Hour, on June 3rd, on his own Work Song label. He has announced a six city tour in June with a stop at World Cafe Live on Thursday, June 26th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 4th at noon. Below, watch Joe’s NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.