"To the Sun" by HeneryReview
One of the many disappointing aspects of lockdown (and I write this on a day when I would otherwise have been anticipating Leamington Peace Festival & reviewing the acts I should have seen there) has been loss of momentum of artists' career arcs. Far too many have had their's stalled by events just as acceleration was clearly underway. I hope through the pages of this magazine, "Hot Music Live Presents" and social media we have tried to keep their names and talents within public awareness.
The most unfortunate examples of this must be artists right at the start of their careers: not necessarily hopefully those who were slowly building writing & performance skills but certainly those at crucial moments. One obvious example has been singer-songwriter Henery whose superb collection of originals I have long been telling you about & whose debut album recorded at Woodbine Studio with John Rivers will showcase many of them. However his debut single from these sessions "In the Moment" came out (and was reviewed) just before the cessation of live music & the follow up "Little Brave" was released in April. When he should have been playing all this material live to promote it, the opportunity was denied him….. Now the third (and final) single from the album, namely "To the Sun" is released today within much the same environment.
Crafted to same excellent standards as its predecessors, "To the Sun" manages to attract your attention from bar one as they each do: Henery & John clearly pay great attention to detail in the recordings yet without making the song feel contrived: it swings along very naturally, but not a second is wasted nor filler. Funkier than the two earlier singles, the song does seem to have (pop) chart appeal & potential & is danceable in a way they did not necessarily aspire to be. Little shifts in dynamics keep your attention & every time the mood swings towards the anthemic, he neatly reins it in before the boundaries of taste are exceeded. As with the others, the musicianship is both impeccable & imaginative. I assume the tone & title mean that Henery had this down as a "summer song" all along, but as with several other recent releases, I can't help but hear resonances of the current state of affairs within it: a song of liberation, Henery sings "I want to feel free again". He speaks for us all.
We can look forwards to Henery's album being released in due course (no virus can possibly detract from its qualities) and I am confident we'll see him performing the songs with the same warmth & commitment I have reported on from when he was able to play. I hope we can pick up with his career where it should have been back in the Spring of 2020 and judge & enjoy his songs on their considerable merits. Momentum & seizing the moment have traditionally been so vital to launching careers (and let's not forget that the context for these observations is Henery building a new solo career after the considerable critical & popular success of the Ellipsis) but traditional ways of doing things have had to set aside in recent months so with luck the pause will not, in the longer term, put him off his stride.