The Henrys - Quiet Industry

RootsWorld: Home Page Link RootsWorld: Home Page Link

The Henrys
Quiet Industry
Artist release (

   You've learned that right
   Can also be wrong
   Take hold, be brave
   You might not be here that long

Guitarist Don Rooke is the driving force behind bands that almost no one has heard of since The Henrys were conceived in Toronto in 1990. This despite critical acclaim for almost every project he has laid hand upon string to create. His primary tool is a kona resonator guitar that lends so much of the music a warm, humane feel, whether it is strummed, plucked, hammered or slid upon. It's the essential element that defines all the music that bears his name.

While The Henrys are mostly known as an instrumental ensemble that occasionally uses voices (Mary Margaret O'Hara being one of the more noted contributors), Rooke began delving deeper into lyrics with the band's 2009 release Is This Tomorrow, and more recently with a trio called Three Metre Day, where vocalist Michelle Willis shone brightly.

Now comes a project seemingly conceived for words, and the newest singer to break their mold is the remarkable Gregory Hoskins, who has a wonderful range and a fragile delivery that makes some of the songs seem like eggshells that need to be nurtured through every note lest they fall apart in your hand. In the languid "The Dangers of Travel" he pleads:
   And one more thing
   Before I never let you go
   I've got a present for you
   So pull on this bow
   You'll find a pamphlet inside
   About the dangers of travel
   See, I can't let you go
   I unravel
   The light is pretty now
   But soon it will fade
   So put the bags down
   Please put the bags down
   Your dinner's been made

"The Dangers of Travel" (excerpt)


In another, he sings of his failings, and hopes to "Make a Change for Good," singing:
   I won't walk, if it's not for good
   I won't talk, if it's not for good
   I won't cry, if it's not for good
   I can't lie, if it's not for good
   Won't lay a curse, if it's not for good
   I won't coerce, if it's not for good
   I won't believe, if it's not for good
   And I won't grieve, if it's not for good

"Change For Good" (excerpt)


This is followed by a brief instrumental that defines the sound of the ensemble, "Invention of the Atmospheric Engine," where Jonathan Goldsmith's delicate piano line gives way to the scratchy plunks and thunks of something indefinable, and again that fragility takes its place in the ear.

This flows naturally into "Reel Me In Gently,"
   I'm hooked but I'm spent
   I used to have some fight
   But now I just repent

"Invention of the Atmospheric Engine" & "Reel Me In Gently" (full songs)


We wait for everything to finally collapse in despair, but instead Goldsmith, Rooke, Hoskins, Hugh Marsh (violin), John Sheard (organs), Tara Dunphy (backing vocals), Andrew Downing (bass), and Davide DiRenzo (drums) find the funk in "Was Is" and the ragged glory of the blues in "I Kneed You" and they let it all open up.

"I Kneed You" (excerpt)


Should I go on? No, I think not. We'd be here all night.

From sly humor to anguished poetry, Rooke and company have produced a gem, an hommage to folk sounds and jazz sensibilities; at times a loving satire of pop music. The Henrys are the tycoons of a Quiet Industry that produces sublime tapestries and sturdy widgets of the most elusive kind. - Cliff Furnald


Further adventures:

Don Rooke and Jeremy Bellaviti: The broom, plunger and socket session
A RootsWorld special online concert

Three Metre Day (Hugh Marsh, Don Rooke and Michelle Willis) interviews Three Metre Day.

How I Saved Myself Three Centuries of Research by Making a Fake World Music CD
A Confession by Don Rooke.

Photo and all audio ©2015 Don Rooke/The Henrys
Used by permission.


Looking for More Information?


return to rootsworld

© 2015 RootsWorld. No reproduction of any part of this page or its associated files is permitted without express written permission.


cd cover


Quiet Industry is RootsWorld's
Music of the Month selection for August, 2015
You can get the CD for 20.00 including post. The CD was donated by the artists, and all proceeds support RootsWorld.


RootsWorld depends on your support.
Contribute in any amount
and get our weekly e-newsletter.