Deborah Frost
November 19, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Kindness of the World

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Joe Henry
Producers
Mammoth
We gave it an A-

Joe Henry is Madonna’s brother-in- law, but his plain-sung, pedal-steel-pierced vignettes (in which firemen marry beneath paper bells and hope always squeaks past irony) plumb America’s psyche with a classicist’s, not a provocateur’s, perspective. If he picked up his tempo, Henry might sound more like Tom Petty and less like Willie Nelson. But even though he’d rather roll than rock, Kindness of the World, Henry’s fifth effort, reveals a mature songwriter ready to take on the world. A-

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