There may be only one Tom Waits- nobody sounds like him, no can construct characters the way he can, compose German operas....yet still craft straight-ahead rock-n-roll.
But, somebody who is approaching his territory is singer/songwriter/producer Joe Henry. When he started out in the early 90's, it sounded like he'd be stuck with the label of alt-country, with albums like Short Man's Room and Kindness of the World. But, even on those twangy gems, the beautifully opaque vignettes Joe imagined left listeners with delightful fragments into a world you just don't want to leave. Listening to Joe Henry is like being suspended in a dream state or the middle of a good novel.
He'll be out with a new one September 11th. It's called CIVILIANS. He gets some help from Van Dyke Parks, Bill Frisell and his buddy Loudon Wainwright III. Until then, let's go back to 1994 for King's Highway.