This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Joe Henry is Madonna’s brother-in-law. He went to school with Jeffrey Dahmer. He produced Solomon Burke’s last disc. And he thanks Tom Waits in the liner notes of his latest CD.
Those first two factoids will tell you a bit about the characters Henry has crossed paths with in his odd, kismet-rich life. And the last two will give you a hint about what to expect from Tiny Voices, the enigmatic singer-songwriter’s superb ninth CD. Dimming the lights and setting the radio midway between the edgy college-rock station and the late-night jazz outlet, Henry loosens his tie, sidles up and croakingly croons a selection of soulful, shadowy, smouldering torch ballads decorated with mournful horns, lush orchestrations and dissonant post-rock soundscapes. Actually, better make that dreamscapes — the intoxicating headiness of these adventurous cuts falls somewhere between the gently evolving soundtrack to a vividly cinematic reverie and the soothing mood music to a state of blissful hypnosis. To put it more simply: Henry’s Tiny Voices will put a spell on you.