Henry Wagons is coming back. We were lucky enough to chat with him before his last show in Auckland in 2015. Since then he’s released the solo album we talked about, called After What I Did Last Night, toured the United States and is well into the hiatus period that band Wagons have taken.

“I feel ashamed for not having come over for the entirety of my career. There’s great food, great people, and importantly smiling appreciative faces turning up at my shows.” We discussed this last year and it’s a common comment from overseas artists these days, all of them are stoked to return to New Zealand. It’s not only the beaches and birds it seems.

Henry’s been off solo for the last year now, with Wagons on a permanent hiatus. “It’s really exciting to stretch some different musical muscles. I think Australia and NZ are kindred spirits, in that so much music arises from a long time together with friends, poorly climate controlled garages and a lot of booze. We make music through osmosis. It’s a function of friendship and practice and time. In Nashville it’s more architectural and more immediate. Let’s try make some of the best art right here right now. Neither of these are correct, or better or worse, just different.

“This phase I’m now in, playing with people I don’t know as well, who are really good at their instruments, has been a thrill ride, so much fun. I’m just back from five weeks in the States, I’m still very topsy turvy, I don’t quite know where I am yet. But it was a really great tour, one of my favourite US tours. It’s been very exciting since I last spoke to you.”

After What I Did Last Night was produced by one of Nashville’s hottest producers, Skylar Wilson (Justin Townes Earle, Caitlin Rose, Andrew Combs). “I worked with Skylar, I felt like I knew him, because he’d made so many of my favourite albums. Musically he’d already connected with me.”

The life of a Nashville musician is exciting, “I traveled through Nashville with Wagons and picked up a few drinking buddies along the way. Because you’re in Nashville, when you need a musician, you can get one. I was talking to Skylar about how a song called ‘Tomboy’ needed some harmonica on it to get the train going and literally in half an hour Cory Younts from Old Crow Medicine Show walks in to play harmonica, and that’s just the town it is.”  

Henry Wagons keeps himself busy when he’s not touring or recording new albums. He is the host of Australia’s biggest Americana/roots music radio show ‘Tower of Song’ on national broadcaster Double J.

“I’ve just announcing a whole bunch of Australian and NZ dates that are going to be solo. I’ve concentrated on the narrative qualities of songwriting on this record more than ever before so I’m finding they translate to the solo form, whether on keys or guitar. It’s going to be great to share some of my war stories, Airbnb reviews, tales of sleep walking, early mornings and late nights, when I get to NZ.”

Catch Henry Wagons at the Great South Pacific Tuning Fork on Friday 16th September, or in Christchuch at Blue Smoke on Saturday 17th September. 

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