Wild in the Backyard

One of Nashville’s best young tunesmiths, Don Henry is known primarily for cowriting Kathy Mattea tunes, including this year’s Grammy-winning ”Where’ve You Been.” Turns out he’s also a light baritone with a taste for the sublimely absurd. On this debut album, Wild in the Backyard, Henry comes across as a first cousin to Randy Newman, writing hot-wired songs about born-again whores, interfaith marriages, and the homeless taking over the White House. In ”Mr. God,” a lapsed Christian turns to prayer, only to hear a voice boom down from on high: ”You only call me when you’re blue/So that’s Mister God to you.” Not everybody gets lampooned, as Henry turns his sensitive side to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. (”Beautiful Fool”) and the pristine life of a young Catholic girl who comes to question her choices (”Heart Cut in Half”). This is funny and thought-provoking stuff, all of it good. B+

Wild in the Backyard
  • Music