Joe Henry on Adam Levy’s ‘Naubinway’: ‘Love in Action’

There are maybe five musicians in the world who we have no desire to meet because it would make us pass out in reverence like Sean Penn meeting Django Reinhardt in “Sweet and Lowdown.” One is Joe Henry. Henry is a singular force in American music. He began his career in the mid-1990s as a rustic, twangy, Americana songwriter, crushing audiences with records like “Murders of Crow” and our favorite, “Kindness of the World.” Beautiful albums. Oh my heavens his song “Ohio Air Show Plane Crash” once put us into a trance at First Avenue. Then he did something  gutsy: he tacked in a new direction, where his songs were calling him. He stripped his music down to its essence, added in jazz players like pianist Brad Mehldau and sax icon Ornette Coleman, and emerged as a silver-voiced raconteur and atmospheric stylist. Few from the world of roots rock have ever pulled that off. He’s also known as one of the finest producers working today, having manned the controls for such artists as Solomon Burke, Bonnie Raitt, Allen Toussaint, and Elvis Costello, work for which he’s won three Grammy awards. He’s an exquisite songwriter with impeccable taste. And here’s what he had to say about Adam Levy’s record Naubinway, which documents his loss of his son to mental illness and suicide: “Adam Levy’s ‘Naubinway’ is love in action: a courageous and generous offering by any estimation. Ghosts abound but the central theme is the great mortal concern: how to live out loud in spite of the quiet inevitable that forever walks with us. Adam stands fully facing the storm and tells us what he sees — free of drama, with soul and deep compassion. The journey is not for the faint of heart but it is a beautiful and remarkable piece of work and highly recommended.”


Joe Henry on Adam Levy’s ‘Naubinway’: “Love in action.”



Adam Wahlberg

Founder of Think Piece Publishing