Spin - p.1043 stars out of 5
-- "A skilled genre-hopper, Henry chooses to nestle in a weary, blues-inflected groove, delivering clear-eyed tales about regret, America, and Willie Mays -- sometimes all at once..."
Entertainment Weekly - p.149
"CIVILIANS matches Henry's rough croon with a rich, warm sound that instantly draws you into its sonic world." -- Grade: A
Q - p.984 stars out of 5
-- "[H]is songwriting has expanded to incorporate blues, jazz and more esoteric stylings....Expertly crafted and comfortable..."
Uncut - p.1213 stars out of 5
-- "Henry's 10th album is a sharper affair. Stripped to earthy Beat-jazz, with elements of swamp blues and gospel..."
Down Beat - p.854 stars out of 5
-- "This is one of his most direct, restrained albums in years.....Henry's gorgeous, distinctive voice has always managed to split the difference between blue-eyed soul and country twang."
Dirty Linen - p.76
"The songs echo a sepia-toned photograph in feel and texture, with no wild changes to take you away from the stories Henry has crafted with exquisite detail and care."
No Depression - p.94
"Henry's latest is a roomier affair, removing its predecessor's feverish layer of free-jazz woodwinds and horns in favor of naked clarity and contemplative space."
Personnel: Joe Henry (acoustic guitar, hand claps); Bill Frisell (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Greg Leisz (acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar, mandolin); Eric Gorfain, Daphne Chen (violin); Leah Katz (viola); Richard Dodd (cello); Patrick Warren (piano, pump organ, chamberlin); Van Dyke Parks (piano); David Piltch (upright bass, electric bass); Jay Bellerose (drums, percussion); Loudon Wainwright III, Chris Hickey (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Van Dyke Parks, Bill Frisell.
Audio Mixer: Ryan Freeland.
Liner Note Author: Joe Henry.
Recording information: 01/09/2007-02/22/2007.
Photographers: Michael Wilson ; John Cohen.
CIVILIANS, Joe Henry's second album for Anti- and tenth overall, sees him mastering the recipe he has tangled with throughout his impressive career: a pan-American vision that dabbles with almost every early-20th-century genre from torch songs to folk; from ragtime to the blues. He brings spacious, but effecting arrangements and an incisive, dry wit to a song cycle that finds the common links between Brian Wilson and Nick Cave. The album features the legends Bill Frisell and Van Dyke Parks on guitar and keyboards respectively.