- Released: May 15, 2001
- Label: Fontana Mammoth
Spin - 6/01, pp.145-68 out of 10
- "...Henry's been nurturing his rhythms and his peculiarities, crooning arcane menace and thwarted passion from a position somewhere between Bryan Ferry and a novelist like Peter Carey....SCAR fleshes out the plasticity with the jamming cabaret band of his dreams..."
Q - 10/01, p.1224 stars out of 5
- "...Exceptional...Bone-dry storytelling by a younger, less ruined Tom Waits..."
Uncut - 11/01, p.1104 stars out of 5
- "...This is a brave and accomplished stylistic leap into tense troubled funk and darkly eruptive jazz textures....SCAR is a lucidand compelling examination of troubled souls and a divided nation..."
Alternative Press - 7/01, p.718 out of 10
- "...Folk-jazz-soul....it's always 3 a.m., and Henry's always walking the rain-slick pavement..."
CMJ - 4/30/01, p.5
"...Some of his most graceful, sophisticated tunes to date..."
No Depression - 5-6/01, pp.126-7
"...A truly ravishing work..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 10/01, p.128
"...Deft writing, fine singing, bold musical schemes..."
- 1.Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation
- 3.Mean Flower
- 5.Rough and Tumble
- 6.Lock and Key
- 7.Nico Lost One Small Buddha
- 8.Cold Enough to Cross
- 9.Edgar Bergen
This is an Enhanced audio CD which contains regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Personnel includes: Joe Henry, Brad Mehldau, Ornette Coleman, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Marc Ribot, Brian Blade, Abe Laboriel, Jr., Bobby Malach, David Pilch.
Recorded at The Sound Factory, Hollywood, California on September 7-10, 2000.
Personnel: Joe Henry (vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion); Marc Ribot (guitar); Ornette Coleman (alto saxophone); Brian Blade (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: S. "Husky" H?skulds.
Recording information: Sear Sound Studios, New York, NY (09/07/2000-09/29/2000); The Sound Factory, Los Angeles, CA (09/07/2000-09/29/2000).
Photographers: Melanie Nissen; Henry Diltz.
Singer-songwriter Joe Henry has moved through a number of stylistic phases throughout his career, from Van Morrison-like impressionism to country-rock to Tom Waits/Beck-inspired sonic experimentation. His restless artistic nature may have filled his catalog with peaks and valleys, but SCAR represents the first time all the aspects of Henry's muse have come together in a satisfying whole. Aided by no less estimable a figure than Ornette Coleman (!) who lends moody sax to a few of the tracks, Henry lets his image-heavy lyrics run free over a broad soundscape that mixes the acoustic, electric, and electronic in an extremely organic way.
"Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation" (has Henry been taking song title tips from Mark Eitzel?) lends an agreeable concision to the kind of mood pieces Henry strove towards on TRAMPOLINE. The traditional songcraft of "Cold Enough to Cross" harks back to the troubadour style of KINDNESS OF THE WORLD. Perhaps the most memorable song, "Stop" is a creepy little rumba that paints a trenchant picture of romantic obsession. The fact that it was contemporaneously covered by Henry's sister-in-law Madonna in a nearly unrecognizable manner just means he won't have to worry about the rent while he's working on his next piece of evocative artistry.