While each decade has a specific musical influence and the folk artists from the 60s and 70s are some of the most respected in their genre. The distinctive sounds of Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Carole King and Joni Mitchell express a sentimentality that is both poetic and political. Many acoustic folk singers nowadays draw inspiration from these musicians to create idealistic tunes of their own. Sentimentality is a strong element in telling tales of life being a tapestry or seeing both sides; however, stripping songs of sentimentality places the music as bare cloth on which to divine your own story. Joshua Thomas Henry is drawing his own tapestry and it is not romantic in any way.
Dylan Thomas once wrote that one should “not go gentle into that good night; rage against the dying of the light.” It may be this expression that influenced Joshua Thomas Henry’s debut track ‘So, You’re Thinking Of Moving To Berlin?’. Unlike the utopian romance in ‘Death Has No Dominion’, Thomas focused on facing reality and taking a deliberate stand in ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’. The brusque lyrics in Henry’s new track has the style of Bob Dylan with the antagonism of Dylan Thomas – a Dylan, Dylan effect?
The acoustic folk track has a simple combination of lyrics and guitar. The blunt lyrics are a discussion of a failed romance and the emotion attached. A sardonic approach to the relationship, Henry expresses every frustrating feeling at the end of a relationship where you want them to “get the f*ck out and don’t come back.” A beacon of light for those who are searching for freedom and the joy of being single, not adhering to society’s romantic standard despite being bitterly unhappy.
As an indie-folk artist, Henry shows a likeness to Neutral Milk Hotel and Conor Oberst (who happens to sing a song about Dylan Thomas). Combining the style of Bob Dylan, the precision of James Taylor and the upbeat nature of Sorry About Dresden makes Henry the epitome of 21st-century indie-folk. ‘Oh, You’re Thinking Of Moving To Berlin?’ is only the beginning of Henry’s solo career but what a start it is! However, I have one word of caution when listening to Joshua Thomas Henry: try to avoid addiction because once this young man hits your ears you could be hooked!