Is This Tomorrow

Give Him an Innocent • Northland Holiday • Cast a Net • Kingdom of Piedmont • That Myoclonic Jerk • Swan Song • Thorncliffe Gene • Chair by the Window • Wading in the Dark • The Cost of Living • Train to Funeral • Nite Skule • Him and Carol •
Left at the Holly Row • Wishful Protection

The only constant here…is that everything this band delivers is of the highest quality.
Super smart compositions abound on this unusual album. ‘

Swan Song
Give Him an Innocent
What a Waist! from the ITT bonus DVD ‘Slide Shows and Sonic Delinquents’

ALL RECORDINGS: Paydirt (2020)Quiet Industry (2015)Is This Tomorrow (2009)Joyous Porous (2002)Desert Cure (1998)Chasing Grace (1996)Puerto Angel (1994)The Yearly Ears (dig.comp.’94-98) • Coasting Notes (2011 by Three Metre Day)Atlas Travel (2003)

Is This Tomorrow was released in June 2009. A combo CD/DVD, the CD features instrumental tracks and lots of vocals – by Becca Stevens (Bjorkestra), Mary Margaret O’Hara, and Martina Sorbara (Dragonette). The DVD is mixed in 5.1 for 
home theatre, and has another hour of music synced with photography. 

from the DVD

Produced by Don Rooke
Mixed by Nik Tjelios


I can think of only two reasons why master 
guitarist Don Rooke from Toronto should be 
less famous than his illustrious colleagues Ry 
Cooder and Bill Frisell. Rooke moves through 
unclassifiable musical landscapes where rock, 
jazz, country, funk and “Hawaiian noir” 
seamlessly merge. Furthermore, he prefers to 
hide himself behind a fictional band that features 
him as its only constant member. Well, almost. 
Fellow Canadian singer Mary Margaret O’Hara 
has released very few recordings since her 
intriguing debut album, Miss America (1988), 
but whenever the obscure slide virtuoso from 
Toronto is putting together a new Henrys outing, 
she’s invariably part of it. For the first time since 
The Henrys’ debut, Puerto Angel, her vocal 
contributions have words to them.

Rooke likes to describe his part-time project as 
“a nearly instrumental group,” defying even the 
most basic categories in the music business. 
The chances of ever seeing The Henrys on TV 
are therefore next to nil, and you probably won’t 
find their ­albums in a record store either. The 
Henrys’ music is emotionally complex, tinged by 
subtle touches of melancholy. Sometimes it’s 
outright sultry, with the mournful sound of 
Rooke’s slide guitar usually up front.

All of this makes their music seem to yearn for 
moving images. Curiously enough, no filmmaker 
has yet commissioned them to create a 
soundtrack. Maybe that’s what inspired Rooke to 
add images to the music himself. Rooke is not 
only a highly gifted musician, but a fine 
photographer. Every Henrys CD so far has 
featured a photograph from his own collection 
on the cover. What makes Is This Tomorrow 
unique is the second disc in the package: a 
DVD slideshow of Rooke’s images with the 
Henrys music as the soundtrack. Once you start 
watching, it’s really hard to stop. The music and 
the images enhance each other, without either 
one dominating. In terms of value for money Is 
This Tomorrow is hard to beat. In total, the 
package contains no less than 35 new 
compositions, performed by 19 Henrys in 
various combinations.

Ton Maas, Ode Magazine

After spinning this CD a dozen times or 
so…we’re still not quite sure how to adequately 
describe it. Canada’s The Henrys is a group of 
musicians who describe themselves as 
“nearly-instrumental”…but that doesn’t even 
begin to sum up the wide range of sounds on 
this album. This is definitely one of those cases 
where the musicians are driven first and 
foremost by a desire to create (rather than the 
desire for money and/or fame). The fifteen 
tracks on this CD go all over the place…but 
instead of being difficult noisy artsy dribble, 
these tracks are clean and soothing…and have a 
very classic sort of sound. A few of the cuts 
feature vocals while others are instrumentals. 
The only constant here…is that everything this 
band delivers is of the highest quality. Super 
smart compositions abound on this unusual 
album. We didn’t take the time (yet) to spin the 
DVD…but if its anything like the audio disc 
there’s probably a lot to digest there as well. 
Killer cuts include “Give Him An Innocent,” 
“Swan Song,” “Nite Skule,” and “Wishful 
Protection.” At a time when everything gets 
easily slopped into pigeonholes, this one stands 
out like a sore thumb. TOP PICK.

No one can accuse Toronto’s The Henrys of 
rushing out albums; this may be their first in 
seven years, but Don Rooke and his cohorts 
have produced another fine slice of Canadian 
audio mystery. Rooke’s trademark slide guitars 
take centre stage as always, and this time the 
emphasis is on his range of playing styles – at 
one moment he’s reminding one of pedal steel 
players, the next Hawaiian, and just round the 
corner are bluesy phrasing and virtuouso riffs. 
But The Henrys is not just about one player, as 
long-time associates John Sheard and Hugh 
Marsh lead a crew of musicians, all of whom 
play a part in creating the lush, spacy 
atmospheres that characterize the band. Nite 
Skule sounds like jazz-meets-garage-band, 
topped with rich organ, while That Myoclonic 
Jerk is pure acoustic funk, and harmoniums and 
light percussion wheeze in and out of the tracks, 
which range from the free-form (Kingdom of 
Piedmont and the 57-second Wading in the 
Dark) to the more structured, such as the slow, 
hypnotic The Cost of Living.

On previous albums, any vocals have been 
wordless, using the voice as another instrument; 
here there are recognisable songs for the first 
time. Mary Margaret O’Hara lends her talents 
again on a trio of songs, Cast A Net, Left at the 
Holly Row and the album’s lovely, valedictory 
closer, Wishful Protection. The wordless 
vocals are this time taken by Becca Stevens, 
whose Train to Funeral is a perfect blend of 
noise and mood; and Martina Sorbara 
contributes a slow countrified waltz, Chair By 
The Window, full of regret, which is a close as 
The Henrys get to playing things absolutely 
straight – even here, instruments come and go 
quickly and the silences are as full as the 
ensembles passages. So it’s situation normal, 
only better: Rooke and Co. are still creating 
wonderful textures and passages, out there on 
their own. There’s even a DVD with an hour-long 
slide show attached – they say it’s a “slide show 
to do the ironing by”, but that’s modest and 
wrong – any attempts to do so will burn your 
shirts, as the collaboration of musical fragments 
and images is fascinating and insidious. 

Ian Kearey, fRoots Mag, Dec/09, UK


Well, it must be said: you never know what to 
expect from The Henrys. Is This Tomorrow 
comes as another pleasant auditory surprise, 
seven years after their last CD. The work of 
Toronto songwriter and multi-instrumentalist don 
Rooke, the previous four Henrys discs were 
primarily instrumental with minimal but sublime 
singing. The biggest change this time out is the 
vocal presence on 12 of the 15 songs by Mary 
Margaret O’Hara, Martina Sorbara and Becca 

Rooke contributes sultry and sweet guitars, and 
has again assembled a stalwart cast of helpers 
such as Hugh Marsh, John Sheard, Kirk Elliott, 
Victor Bateman and John Dymond to flesh out 
his compositions. All do so with subtle artistry 
and dream-like restraint. 

A DVD is included that features another hour of 
music synced with gorgeous photographs. It is 
tranquility personified and very easy on both the 
eye and the ear. 

Is This Tomorrow is a lovely, lovely piece of 
work from a Canadian master.

Les Siemieniuk, Penguin Eggs


The brainchild of Toronto songwriter, 
multi-instrumentalist and producer Don Rooke, 
the Henrys have won fans around the globe 
(including Elvis Costello) with their warmly 
atmospheric, eclectic sounds. Rooke clearly 
believes in quality over quantity, given that it’s 
been seven years since their previous CD, the 
much-praised Joyous Porous. The biggest 
change this time out is the increased vocal 
presence. The previous four Henrys discs were 
primarily instrumental, though the sublime 
vocalizing of Mary Margaret O’Hara was present 
in cameos. She returns here, alongside Martina 
Sorbara and Becca Stevens (Bjorkestra). As 
usual, Rooke contributes sweet kona (Hawaiian 
slide guitar) and other guitar sounds, and has 
again assembled such A-list Toronto players as 
Hugh Marsh, John Sheard, Victor Bateman and 
John Dymond to flesh out his compositions. All 
do so with subtlety and restraint, another Henrys 
trademark. A bonus DVD features another hour 
of original music synced with still photography, 
termed a “domestic installation piece” by 
Rooke. It is tranquil and pleasing to both the eye 
and the ear. A lovely work. (Independent)

Exclaim, Kerry Doole


Don Rooke directs what often seems random, 
leading the way on kona, dobro and various 
guitars, while the rest choose their openings 
discretely. Silence is valued, enhancing what 
follows. It’s hopping down there at the 
intersection of vision, impulse and serenity.

The Coast, Doug Taylor


and for you Dutch readers


and Dutch listeners... 


Finally, fans of Google translation (as we are), 
who are right into ‘one stroke,’ but certainly not endless 

A while ago I discovered thanks to a tip The 
Henrys, with a CD from 1996. Their latest album 
is just so special, and actually even more 
special one stroke. Also on This Is Tomorrow is 
the changing Canadian company around Thurs 
Rooke music that sounds like pop, but 
otherwise has all the characteristics of futuristic 
jazz, avant-garde or experimental film. The 
remarkable thing about the music of Rooke and 
his friends is that the music still remains 
accessible sound, and experiments that never 
lead to endless gepriegel or display of virtuoso 
pretensions. Contrary. Here you hear that a lot of 
humor and fun intelligent music made you 
extremely happy to be a listener. And not just 
happy because the music of The Henrys, 
especially if you listen more often, also 
surprisingly beautiful compositions. By directly 
into the ear-catching arrangements that you 
would almost forget, but we really have here a 
rarity to do – open a masterpiece.

There is more, this time that Rooke two discs 
provide. The first is a CD with songs sung 
relatively large, which include again the beautiful 
singer Mary Margaret O’Hara is heard, the 
second is a DVD slide show. When I read 
something I always keep my breath, but in this 
case was the very pleasant surprise, because 
the DVD contains not only a completely different 
program of music, but also the pictures are 
magnificent, and after five minutes I was already 
fascinated to look and listen (as I had to put the 
DVD with the newspaper on my lap, ready to 
listen only). I leave here two excerpts from the 
CD to hear, one with O’Hara and one from a 
piece instrumental composition, but the two 
hours Henrys The music here is really too varied 
to provide a really good picture. So buy!

– Moors Magazine