Jo Henley – Sad Songs & Alcohol
Right Here For You
The opener is a gentle, rootsy pop song that catches you and takes you along for the ride. It’s music you would hear in that little pub down the street from a band that’s way too talented to play in a small pub but does it anyway because that’s where they feel their best. Right Here For You is a good opener that sets the mood very well. The vocals are strong, and the warm music embraces you while the song plays on.
Sad Songs & Alcohol
The title track is up next. The fiddle gives this song a little more character and the song is pure and honest, but sometimes it could be slightly more dynamic. I feel like the band doesn’t really let themselves go, which makes me curious for a live version. If they would let all the energy and passion out this song could be even better than it already is.
Why Don’t You Love Me (Like You Used To Do)?
We now hear a country classic. Hank Williams Jr.’s Why Don’t You Love Me is an amazing song, one of country’s all-time greats. And Jo Henley nails it. They make the song their own without losing the essence. The vocals are really good and musically they bring out the best of the song. Maybe a little faster-paced would do the song good but this version gets my thumbs up.
Long Slow Burn
Long Slow Burn is an alternative country/roots-rock song that really has a movie feel to me. It could be an interesting song for a movie score. The build-up is strong, and the instruments interact very well. The tempo changes and changes in intensity of the song impressed me too. It might not be my favorite song on the album, but the song stands like a house.
One of Jo Henley’s best songs on the album. In a way it reminds me of a more folky, rootsy Vertical Horizon (coincidence that they are both from MA?). This gentle, folky song draws you in slowly but surely and vocals (slightly reminiscent of Graham Nash) bring the very strong lyrics to life. This Life is a very good rootsy pop song with some good hooks and outstanding performances on vocals and instruments.
Two Bedrooms isn’t a bad song and it has some cool influences (in a way I can hear some Greek/Balkan influences in the rhythm, which is really cool), but I kinda miss the enthusiasm, the warmth that Jo Henley produced in the previous songs so well.
If God’s My Pilot
The fun, country-pop song If God’s My Pilot is one of the highlights on the album. The alternative country feel of the song reflects well in the vocals and strings, while the guitar drives forth the song. With this uptempo, storytelling, forth-flowing pop song, Jo Henley shows their quality as an alt-country band. Tin cups with strong coffee and a campfire anyone?
I think I would say that Southern Belle shows Jo Henley at their best. The soaring but clear vocals and the well-created mood give this country song a good and solid basis. The tempo goes up and the song takes off in a very impressive fashion. This is the song that sticks in my head for days to come and that I start singing along to with energy and passion. Southern Belle is one of the songs where the band lets themselves go and you can hear that. The passion, pure honesty and musicality shines through in every second of the song.
Lost My Way With Words
Lost My Way With Words is a song that grew on me. The song gets a little better everytime I listen to it. The song has some great hooks and it would make a pretty decent radio song I believe. Especially if someone believes in it and gives it regular airplay. Because it’s a song that you need to hear a couple of times. At the moment it’s one of my favorites.
I love the lyrics and the storytelling nature of Promised Paradise but it is on the slow side and lacks a little energy. But I don’t want to sound too negative, cause the song in itself is quite good, but I just think the band didn’t get everything out of it.
Take Me Back
Put this on the radio please. This song is pure fun and with its influences from country & bluegrass, this rootsy pop song has energy, passion, great lyrics, superb vocals and great musical dynamics. It gets my feet off the ground and my spirits up. If this song was released in the 60s/70s, it would’ve been a hit for sure and I believe that it should be today as well.
Learn About Love
Unfortunately this album is coming to an end. Learn About Love is a sentimental country-pop song with a slightly melancholic mood. Lyrically strong and musically well-balanced it is a good way to end this strong album that will definitely help Jo Henley become a more well-known name.
Jo Henley might not be a household name for you yet, but with the quality and passion they can lay in their songs, they are sure to make a name for themselves in the area and in time all over the place. The songs are written and played with care and honesty and Jo Henley is a band with character. A band that plays true music!