At the University of Wisconsin in Madison he blended into the 43,000 students for the first few years and began writing songs and playing at open mics. Henry became very involved with the student union and pursued performing further, playing solo shows on and off campus. After considerable undergraduate work over 6 years he earned his degree and never having been west of the Mississippi, he quit his three year stint of bartending and went to San Francisco to visit friends. Once there it was hard to leave. He rented a room, read depressing novels, ran out of money and got a job.
In San Francisco he played solo and with the rhythm section he shared with SF bands MK Ultra and Delmarva. Henry set a goal to save enough money to commit more time to music and he left his job after four years. He bought a beat-up 63 Corvair convertible from a German moto-tourist, fixed what absolutely needed to be fixed and drove it across the country to New York City--another place he had never been. Over the next two years he'd make three trips to New York and grow increasingly smitten with it, all in that same car which ran and looked progressively better with tinkering and time.
In 1997, Henry moved to New York and began playing shows around town, including gigs at CB's Gallery, the Mercury Lounge and Arlene Grocery. Since then he's expanded that to the Knitting Factory, the Bitter End and about thirty others.
Richard McClaurin and I met Henry back in San Francisco. Our band, Farmer Not So John, was touring with Iris Dement and we had a show at the Great American Music Hall. Henry and I had a few beers afterward and began forging a friendship. Last fall we enticed Henry to come to Nashville to do some recording. The result of these sessions in Nashville is this debut, self-titled, independent release that I'm damn proud to be a part of.
What strikes me most about Henry's music is its sophisticated simplicity. His melodies and themes unfold at a delicate pace whether in ballads like "Hard to Find" and "He Never Meant You Any Harm," or in the more driving "So Close to God" and "If You Were Here Tonight." "Final Scene" and "Angeline" flirt with Henry's love of old combo jazz and feature him on his trombone between croons.
Henry is currently playing shows around New York city and the northeast with his combo. Incidentally, the Corvair, which had no business being in New York City in the first place, was broadsided by a stop-sign-burning Toyota Tercel at the corner of South 5th and Berry in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. All that remains is a bent hubcap that Henry keeps on the mantle.