home listen reviews artist a- z
Don Rooke and Mary Margaret O'Hara


Holy shit, The Henrys are at it again. And it's glorious.

In a world full of wannabe slide people (yuk!) and instrumental crapola, Don Rooke and company have again distinguished themselves as one of the most outstanding and original outfits we've ever heard.

Why is it so hard to find music this original? Because it takes talent, first of all, and because it's damn hard to make a living when you're this musically fearless. God bless the Toronto Arts Council (and the Music Section of the Canada Council for the Arts), what a civilized country that is. I swear, half of the great music I hear anymore is coming from Canada.

"Recorded at Cellars and Spare Bedrooms," Joyous Porous finds our sonic heroes in outrageous form. As you might have gathered from our previous review of this stellar band, The Henrys are essentially comprised of slide master Don Rooke (yo!), trumpetist Michael White, and bassist David Pilch. The unbelievable guest melodies and vocals of Mary Margaret O'Hara send chills right up my spine every time, Lord Almighty!

The compositions are as good as the playing is, and that's saying an awful lot. On top of that, the renditions of Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" and the 30s classic "Maria Elena" are right outta this frickin world. These folks are deeply whacked and profoundly talented.

I'm not kidding. Get this album, it will help you open up your mind and your spirit. Most records today will not do that. They're conceived with too many parameters and expectations in mind. I don't get the impression here that there's anything necessarily hanging in the balance of the CD's acceptance, and the unique beauty of the work is, on the other hand, unmistakable.

Don Rooke's tone on the kona makes me wanna cry, it's so pure. It's an antique instrument from the 20s made of koa wood and played with a steel bar. I love The Henrys, and wish there were more groups like them around. Instead of all these knuckleheads. Take a minute and check out the clips on the Listen page.  • FG

"To get the most out of Joyous Porous (or any other CD), listen to it on a stereo--a good old-fashioned stereo with speakers and an amp. If you want to hear the top end, feel the bass and experience what's really going on in between, forget the computer speakers, the discman jogging headphones, the mini-boombox with no low end; reserve the 'Compact Shelf Stereo System with 3-CD changer' Promo System from Visa for another time. Crank it up on a good old stereo system. We're glad we got that off our (group) chest."
-- from the website (where you can buy The Henrys' CDs, download mp3s, and find out more about this fascinating group of musicians)

listen to clips        view cover       puremusic home