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Home Reviews Song Writer's Sojourn Terri Hendrix: Songwriters Sojourn

Terri Hendrix: Songwriters Sojourn

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The song came to me in a dream. It’s
horribly sad. It’s going to be hard to do live because I just feel really exposed.

– Terri Hendrix on “The Berlin Wall” from her new CD “Cry Till You Laugh.”

When she was growing up, singer/songwriter Terri Hendrix lived in Panama where her father was stationed in the Army. Instead of leading an idyllic childhood in the tropics, Hendrix had a tough time.

“I was put in special ed classes because I couldn’t do the puzzle with the little blocks,” the native Texan said during a telephone interview from her home near San Marcos. “It was really hard for me to be separated from my other classmates and to be labeled ‘learning disabled.’”

To deal with the anxiety, Hendrix retreated to paper and crayons.

“I just had a hard time expressing verbally what I wanted to express,” Hendrix explained. “So, I started writing these little stories. My mom says she could always find me by the paper trail I left behind.”

When she was in the 4th grade, she “stole” her sister’s guitar and her dad taught her three chords.

“That’s pretty much how things came to pass,” Hendrix said.

She attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene on a music  scholarship, intent on becoming an opera singer.

“Opera is like professional gymnastics,” Hendrix said. “It is so hard. You can never be off. There is nowhere to hide.”

Around 1990, Hendrix was introduced to a new kind of music.

“I met a woman named Marion Williamson,” Hendrix explained. “I helped her on her farms. She told me about KUT, the public radio station for the University of Texas at Austin.”

By listening to KUT’s live tapings on Sunday night, Hendrix was exposed to singer/songwriters like Guy Clark, Marcia Ball, Tish Hinojosa and Townes Van Zandt.

Hendrix tried her hand at writing and was encouraged by Williamson to “get a PA system” and start working in the music business.

So instead of finding her way onto the Metropolitan Opera’s stage in New York, Hendrix starting playing wherever she could.

“I was the girl playing bar gigs, loading all my own equipment,” she said. “Eventually, I started making the register ring and the bookings came easier. If you can sell a few beers, you’re going to get booked.”

During her time on the road, Hendrix had the good fortune to meet Lloyd Maines, an Austin-based studio musician and producer whose daughter, Natalie, is part of “The Dixie Chicks.”

One of her cassettes ended up in Maines’ hands, and he came out to hear her play at Stubbs Bar-B-Que in Austin.

“The band I had playing with me at the time was drinking and reading books,” Hendrix said. “I was loading in the PA and Lloyd could not believe the guys weren’t helping me.”

Maines took a liking to the spunky girl doing it for herself and agreed to produce her next record, “Wilory Farm.”

“I think had Lloyd not seen me loading everything in, I don’t know if we would have ever become partners, but something about him seeing that endeared me to him,” Hendrix said.

The pair have worked together on every project since “Wilory Farm” was released in 1997, and they regularly perform together. They’re partners in Hendrix’s record label, Wilory Records.

Hendrix resisted going with a big label, opting to create her own in order to retain artistic freedom.

“When you go with a label, it’s a gamble. This way, I am able to write whatever I want,” she explained. “We don’t have to please anybody but ourselves and our fans.”

The CD, due for release on June 22, has 15 songs, most of them penned by Hendrix.

“I have this new song called ‘The Berlin Wall,’” she said. “The song came to me in a dream. It’s horribly sad. I woke up and wrote about it. It’s different. When I was in music school, we studied a lot of madrigal singing. This one is a folk song with a lot of madrigal singing.”

Hendrix says it’s going to be “hard to do it [the song] live because I just really feel exposed.”

See if Hendrix adds “The Berlin Wall” to her set list when she and Maines play at Crossroads’ temporary home at 204 Market Street (next to Double C Steakhouse)  in Winnsboro, Saturday, May 15.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door and $20 for reserved. Doors open at 7 p.m. Music begins at 7:30 p.m.

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For more information about Hendrix's show, call 903-521-4570 or log on to
www.crossroadsmusiccompany.com
For more information about Terri Hendrix, log on to
www.terrihendrix.com

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