Scar is the eighth studio album by Joe Henry, released in May 2001 on Mammoth Records. Co-produced by Craig Street, it marked another shift in direction for Henry's music, and a foray into the genres of jazz and soul music. The opening track is a homage to comedian Richard Pryor (whom the album is also dedicated to), and according to Henry's essay "The Ghost in the Song," he was "called by a vision" to collaborate with free jazz artist Ornette Coleman. Henry wrote:
I had a dream. A "vision," I'm tempted to say. And the vision had a voice, and the voice spoke a word: Ornette. It didn't need to speak the other word, for I knew. I needed Ornette Coleman's musical voice to complete the song with which I was at that precise moment struggling.
Henry eventually convinced Coleman to record a solo for the track "Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation," and also contributed a reprise at the very end of the album as a hidden track. Henry discusses his interactions with Coleman at length as the last part of a 2016 interview.
Another track of note is "Stop", a tango originally written by Henry. His wife, Melanie, sent an early demo of the track to her sister Madonna, who re-used the lyrics for Don't Tell Me. Henry often quips during live gigs that "I recorded my version as a tango, and she recorded hers as a hit".