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Joe Henry
Country


On Trampoline, Joe Henry moves away from the country-rock that earned his reputation in the early '90s. Though there are still some remnants of his Gram Parsons and Neil Young influences, Henry attempts a more atmospheric, rock-based sound on Trampoline, which explains his choice of Helmet guitarist Page Hamilton as musical collaborator. The shift in sound is effective, but it does sound as if the singer/songwriter is still trying to become comfortable with his new direction. It doesn't help that the album is slightly uneven, as Henry tries to write more literate lyrics, making his songs almost into short stories. When his ambitions do work, Trampoline is a stark, affecting listen, and even when they don't, the album is admirable. Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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