A Long Way From Texas

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

In 2002, the Bay Area's live music venues have been visited by a significant number of talented performers hailing from Texas. This week, the trend continues when Terri Hendrix plays at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

San Antonio native Hendrix has recently released her sixth CD, “The Ring.” This in itself might be seen by some as achievement enough, but put this alongside the facts that “The Ring,” like all of her other releases, has been put out on her own record label, Wilory Records, and that she has been doing much of her own management and promotion, it becomes clearly apparent that Hendrix takes her music very seriously.

Since her debut album, “Two Dollar Shoes,” in 1996, Terri Hendrix has worked tirelessly to build a repertoire of strong songs and a live show that has gathered an ardent following -her mailing list is more than 20,000 strong and continuing to grow. She has garnered praise from some of the most prestigious publications, and she has won songwriting and performing awards in her native Texas and has been well received at some of the country’s premier folk festivals, including Newport and Kerrville.

Hendrix looks set for even more success with her latest release. “The Ring” is an impressive showcase of both her singing and songwriting talents. Stylistically it contains elements of folk, country pop and jazz, yet maintains an unmistakable Texas sound. The songs are incisive and personal, dealing with Hendrix’s feelings about a diverse range of topics.

On “Goodbye Charlie. Brown,” she touches on the death of cartoonist Charles Schulz. Of writing the song, she says: “Peanuts was an important part of my childhood. One night on A&E, I saw a biography of Charles Schulz. It struck me that in many ways, his death represented the end of my youth.”

Another standout song is the title track, about a ring that her father made for her mother out of a half-dollar when he returned from the Vietnam War.

In “The Ring,” Hendrix has an album that should bring her the wide recognition she deserves.

Its clean, straightforward production, adroit musicianship and strong songs have an appeal that crosses the purist folk/country boundary into the mainstream.

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, November 7, 2002

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