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Blood From Stars Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Summary: The latest album for the producer/singer-songwriter features Marc Ribot and Jason Moran as guest musicians.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Guitarist Marc Ribot flirts with a cornet, while Henry's sax-playing teenage son Levon makes an impressive debut. They play ballads, waltzes, and slow dances that give Henry's vignettes time to unwind, like weary travelers unpacking their burdens over cigarettes and gin.
  2. Ultimately, Blood from Stars is the most sophisticated, redemptive, and romantic album Henry's cut; the love songs are simply raggedly breathtaking.
  3. It’s that self-reflection, in addition to Henry’s already well-established storytelling abilities, that lifts Blood from Stars to a new place, showing us that just because Henry’s found his sound, he’s not going to stop looking for surprises.
  4. If Mr. Henry wants to suggest a less phlegmatic Tom Waits, as often seems the case here, he could stand to loosen up further. His lyrics can feel too artful, too self-conscious.
  5. 70
    These soulful laments and menacing gospel rumbles don’t really demand attention but reward it handsomely.
  6. That’s what’s frustrating here--although, like Waits, he’s obviously a truly poetic lyricist, the instrumentation is much more engaging than Henry’s placid voice.
  7. Levon coaxes an intricately textured tone from his saxophone on 'Over Her Shoulder,' but generally, Joe’s erudition gets the better of him on this strangely dim and twinkleless album.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. DavidL.
    Aug 28, 2009
    This is not a Joe Henry cd that will change anyone's mind about his music or gifts. Joe's music has been consistent during Scar, This is not a Joe Henry cd that will change anyone's mind about his music or gifts. Joe's music has been consistent during Scar, Tiny Voices, Civilians and, now, Blood from Stars. You either love his voice (I do), his songwriting (best American songwriter of the past 40 yrs, I think) and his music (some of the finest pop/rock/ jazz musicians of his and our time. This music will endure though is so out of sync with what's popular today that there is virtually no audience for it. No matter how much praise he receives from perceptive reviewers, Joe Henry will never be a star. He'd prefer it that way. Expand
  2. JasonP.
    Aug 19, 2009
    My vote for album of the year. It's beautifully recorded, written, played and executed.