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Giants of Soul: A New Approach

For his latest release, producer and troubadour Joe Henry worked with giants in soul music, from Allen Toussaint to Mavis Staples. It was quite a departure for Henry, whose songs include "Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation."

I Believe to My Soul is a collection of classic soul and R&B singers doing songs they hadn't done before. It features some of Henry's favorite performers: Irma Thomas, Ann Peebles and Billy Preston, along with Staples and Toussaint.

Recording for the album began in the summer of 2005, long before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

In the wake of that disaster, it was decided that the record would benefit survivors of the hurricane — several musicians involved in recording Soul have long-standing ties to New Orleans — especially Toussaint, who has lived there for decades.

Since 1986, Henry has released nine albums, which have fostered a bit of a cult following for his work. His songwriting has been compared to Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. His songs include "Don't Tell Me" — which was recorded by his sister-in-law, Madonna.

On his 2001 album Scar, Henry collaborated with jazz musicians Ornette Coleman and Brad Mehldau. In addition working with Aimee Mann, Henry also produced legendary singer Solomon Burke's Don't Give Up On Me, which won a Grammy in 2002.

Copyright 2022 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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