After two unsuccessful records in the late 80s, Joe Henry gained recognition with Shuffletown in 1990. A quiet one-man-and-a-guitar affair, it pricked up ears, but not to the extent of his next two countrified releases. Recorded with the help of friends (including the Jayhawks and Victoria Williams), they established an audience among those in the insurgent country set who appreciate gut-wrenching melancholia. Henry overturns the banquet table again with Fuse, confounding fans with forays into jazz and looped beats. Luckily, his stark poetic vignettes remain.