The song broadens outward to a bitter lament for "this frightful and this angry land" that "might still somehow make me a better man," circles back through its aging narrator, and returns at the end to "the greatest center fielder of all time, stooped by the burden of endless dreams his and yours and mine." It's a virtuoso effort that, like so many of Henry's pieces, will give any true lover of the songwriter's art enough to chew on for weeks.
If for no other reason, I'd be in Henry's corner merely because the lyrics in his CD booklet have accurate punctuation (see if you can think of another one). And also because, although it's not well known, he's a product of our town he got an English degree from the U-M and started making his music while he was still here. Joe Henry will be back at the Ark on Monday, February 4.
[Review published February 2008]