Apropos of nothing: new Joe Henry album available on NPR

In a feature I hadn't paid attention to while overseas, NPR has over the past year offered "Exclusive First Listens" to entire new albums on line. Today: an hour's worth of Blood From Stars by the wonderful bluesy guitarist-singer Joe Henry.

The trick is that the full-length streaming audio is turned off once the album officially goes on sale. Thus the past-events listing includes full-length sessions from Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Moby, etc -- but none of the music is still there. (The oldest still-available entry is from one week ago.) If you click on the older sessions, you're taken to an Amazon or iTunes purchase site. Fair enough: this is one more interesting twist in the vast, varied, and necessary series of experiments now underway to see how "content," from music to movies to news articles, can be "monetized" in the age when so much of it can be copied or used for free.

I mention it for that reason -- and also because anyone who, like me, hadn't known of the feature might find it worthwhile. Certainly this Joe Henry music is great. Check it out while it is there.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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