Tag Archives: chris

Red Henry

Red Henry

Folks, I just thought you'd like to see this photo of Red & Chris and Their All-Star Band performing with Dale Crider at the Florida Folk Festival a couple of weekends ago:

(Pickers: Jenny Leigh, Chris Henry, Barb Johnson, Dale Crider, Red Henry, John Hedgedcoth.) As you can see, we have a good time playing music with Dale. That's because he's such a great performer with plenty of charisma on stage, and his shows are always unpredictable. Dale's an entertaining MC, and he's liable to bring out lots of his original songs, and he may put a song in a different arrangement or in a different key from the last time we played it. He may even change into a new key, or change the tempo from 3/4 to 4/4 in the middle of a song, so we have to be on our toes. So enjoy this action shot!


Red Henry

Red Henry

At the Florida Folk Festival, Chris, John, and I were picking at our campsite, warming up to play a set. Since John knows a great many of Bill Monroe's tunes and plays them on the banjo, we were exploring the Monroe "deep catalog." We did play 'Jerusalem Ridge', but we also played 'Old Ebeneezer Scrooge' and 'Come Hither to Go Yonder' and 'The Old Mountaineer' and 'Crossing the Cumberlands' and 'Right, Right On' and more.

A person who was new to this kind of music stood by one side and listened. When we finished one tune she asked, "Who wrote that music that you're playing?" I replied, "Bill Monroe." She asked, "Is it authentic?"

I pointed to John and said, "That man right there was playing banjo for Bill when he was writing and playing these tunes, and yes, it's authentic!"

Red Henry

Red Henry

Folks, I'm just back from playing at the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival last weekend in St. Augustine, Florida. Chris and I had a 6-piece band including his fiddle-playing girlfriend Jenny, my banjo-picking uncle John Hedgecoth, and our friends Mike Johnson on guitar and Barbara Johnson (no relation) on bass. We played a couple of really enjoyable 1-hour sets.

On Saturday night, we opened for Dr. Ralph Stanley at the Flagler College Auditorium. It has been several years since I'd played on the same bill with Ralph, so I made sure we had some old Stanley Brothers numbers in our show: 'If I Lose' and 'Rolling on Rubber Wheels' were just right for the occasion, along with some of our favorite Bill Monroe tunes ('Stoney Lonesome' and 'Brown County Breakdown') and plenty of our own original songs and tunes such as Chris's 'Boxcar Door', Jenny's 'Flowers' song, and my own tune 'Helton Creek'. In contrast to Murphy and Casey's experiences back home, the soundpersons' work was excellent. The crowd liked us a lot, and we sold lots of CDs.

Our Sunday set was a bit more laid-back, but also lots of fun playing to a great crowd. THANK YOU to all the folks who put on that festival, and to all the folks who came out and heard us play.

Next appearance for Red and Chris and Their All-Star Band: the Florida Folk Festival, May 28-30, at White Springs!

Red Henry

Red Henry

Chris, Jenny (his fiddle-playing girlfriend), and I drove down to Florida recently for the Will McLean folk music festival, and we had a great time. It was a long way for us to go, being held not far from Tampa, but it was certainly worth the drive.

The festival is named in honor of Florida's pioneering folksinger and songwriter, Will McLean. A highly individualistic and creative person known as "Florida's Black-Hat Troubadour," Will influenced many other musicians and blazed the way for the rest of us who followed after.

We arrived at the show on Friday afternoon and promptly started warming up--we had a set to play at 7:00. And the set went great. We played a mix of bluegrass and Florida Folk material, and our friend Ron Johnson posted our two-guitar harmony arrangement of Will's song "Osceloa's Last Words" on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW-TmL-PCKE . (Red Henry and Chris Henry--guitars, Jennifer Obert--fiddle, Barbara Johnson--bass).

After performing it was time to pick, and pick we did, until late at night. On Saturday Chris and I led a well-attended mandolin workshop, playing some music and answering lots of questions, and selling a good many CDs and Murphy Method DVDs afterwards. Then we backed up our friend Dale Crider on his afternoon set for a lively crowd. There was more picking that night, and Dale showed up to sing lots of our old bluegrass favorites from when we were learning to play in the late 1960s.

On Sunday we backed Dale up on another set, and then played our own show at 2:00 on the Main Stage. We had a terrific crowd which (I say modestly) gave us a standing ovation, and then we sold some more CDs and DVDs before hitting the road. We won't get rich playing at folk festivals in Florida, but you know what? We'll be back!


P.S.-- Next shows:

Gamble Rogers Music Festival, May 1-2, St. Augustine

Florida Folk Festival, May 28-30, White Springs

Red Henry

Red Henry

Well, Folks, last time I left you with a description on playing at the Hahira bluegrass festival. (A YouTube clip of us on stage, featuring several numbers, has been posted here.)  This time, we'll talk about our Sunday concert at Dale Crider's Pithlachocco Stage on the shore of Lake Newnan near Gainesville, Florida.

"Pithlachocco?", you might ask. "What in the world does that mean?" Well, it's an old Florida Indian word meaning "the place of the long boats." Recent discoveries have revealed that Indians in ancient times made thousands of canoes on the shore of the lake. So Dale Crider, when he started his excellent concert series there, named his stage for those "long boats." It's an outdoor stage and the weather was pleasantly cool. We and the audience were all comfortable and ready for a good time.

After one or two schedule changes (never expect everything to happen on time), we kicked off our first set at about 7:00. For this show, "we" (Red and Chris and Their All-Star Band) were myself on mandolin, Chris on guitar and mandolin, Barbara Johnson on bass, and Jenny Leigh on fiddle. We'd had plenty of time for rest since our festival sets the day before, and all were ready to go.

Now, there's a big difference between playing at a bluegrass festival and performing for an audience that just likes music. We didn't play as many of our old bluegrass standards, but we put several great Florida songs and other interesting numbers into the set instead, songs like "Osceola's Last Words", "Big Jim Folsom", and other favorites from our CDs. Also, of course, the audience was much more ready to listen to stories than the bluegrass festival crowd had been, so we told them about several adventures of Clermont Hosford and others, and, as always, some of the stories were true. The people really liked all the songs and the stories, so we played and played and sold CDs and visited with the folks and had a great time.

Bob Raisler taped the entire show, and has kindly posted quite a few of our songs on YouTube. Check out several of them here. (The stage was not nearly as dark as it looks! Just tilt your computer screen until you can see us!)

. . . . .

Not many bands play both bluegrass festivals and folk-music concerts. Maybe it's because they don't enjoy both, or because they just don't have both kinds of material worked up. But we play both kinds of shows, and sure like it!


P.S. Next time: Recording with Dale on Monday!

Red HenryFolks, sometimes in this business of playing music, we do crazy things. But often, we do them because they're fun. A good illustration of this occurred last Saturday, when Christopher and I were playing music at the Gamble Rogers music festival near St. Augustine, Florida.

You might think, if you're playing your shows and picking at a festival, that would be enough to do. But on Saturday, we started out with back-to-back afternoon sets-- I was sitting in with the Artful Dodgers, a 35-year reunion Florida band, and then we followed them with our own Red & Chris set. And it was hot! It must have been over 90 inside that tent. But the crowd liked us, so we expended some energy. We forged ahead and played a set of high-energy bluegrass and original material, and the crowd loved it! We sold a bunch of CDs afterwards, always a sign for musicians that the people like you.

Then, after an hour or so spent cooling down and getting a bite to eat in the festival's hospitality room, we had our evening already planned out. Chris had booked an evening house concert in Jacksonville, about an hour minutes away. So we loaded up the band and our instruments into two vehicles, and drove up I-95 to Jax. And what a reception! First there was a lot of good food and visiting with nice people, and then we launched into our set to the best audience reception we'd had in a long time. First we ate up the food, and then the folks ate up the music and stories. We played a 90-minute show to a tumultuous reception, and then sold CDs. LOTS of CDs. CD sales mean a lot to the band, both because of the financial aspect of it (more gas money) and also because of what sales say about how the crowd sincerely likes us. So by about 11:00 p.m. we were tired but happy, having played two shows in two places already.

But the night was not over! Our old friend Mike, who lives in St. Augustine, was holding his retirement party the same night. So we loaded ourselves in our cars and drove back to St. Augustine. And when we got to the party, the people were still picking! We naturally joined in, and picked for a couple more hours until things wound up, about 2:00 a.m. We drove back out to the festival and sacked out, trying to get some rest before playing our Sunday sets. We finally got to sleep about 4:00. What a day! We'd had a great time. The festival-- the house concert-- the party-- that had been what you'd call a full schedule, and I hope it happens again!

Red HenryFolks, Christopher and I just got back from playing music at the Will McLean Folk Festival, which is held each year at the Withlacoochee Bluegrass campground, north of Tampa, Florida. This festival is a very special opportunity for us to play music for nice crowds, and also to spend a lot of time picking in the campground.

We arrived on Friday afternoon, and did quite a bit of relaxed, "warm-up" picking that day and evening. Our first show was on Saturday afternoon, and we had a good attentive audience. They liked our music, and we sold a lot of CDs! (This is very important at a folk festival, where most of our gas money often  comes from our CD sales.) Then after more good picking that night, we played a set on the main stage at 1:30 Sunday afternoon, and got a great reception (and sold more CDs). We're supposed to have video coming of this set, and I'll post some of our songs and tunes on YouTube when we have it!

THANK YOU to all the volunteers who help to put on this show each year. We had a great time, and  we'll be back!

Sea of Mystery coverAnnouncing: a brand new CD, just barely out in time for Christmas, from Christopher Henry. Sea of Mystery -- A Solo Bluegrass Exploration features 30, count them thirty, hand-crafted songs and tunes from the pen of Chris Henry. Played entirely by Chris himself, on guitar and mandolin, these tunes demonstrate the unique talent that he brings to the instruments, as well as to the craft of songwriting. Be among the first to hear these brand new tunes. Order one today!

Red HenryFolks, as you can tell from reading our blog for the last week or two, Murphy and I went over to Nashville last week for the big International Bluegrass convention. We had a great time at the Trade Show and FanFest (more about that later!), but I've been thinking about the good trip home I had, and thought I'd talk about that.

Murphy and I were in Nashville on different schedules. I was in Nashville for the first part of the week, and drove home to Winchester on Friday afternoon and evening. Now, I usually don't drive a lot in the dark (especially for much of a 10-hour trip), but in this case it was no problem. I had a lot of CDs in the car, and listened to a bunch of them. Here's a selection:

1. Nancy Pate, "Georgia in the Middle of June" --- Murphy's sister Nancy recorded this CD a few years ago with Murphy playing mandolin, Casey playing bass and banjo and our brother-in-law Mike Johnson playing fiddle. The disc features mostly Nancy's original music, with a few numbers by Louisa Branscomb, Nancy's bandmate at the time. The music is what you might call "gentle bluegrass," but with a great deal of originality and feeling. Possibly the most evocative numbers are Nancy's "Pray for Rain" and "A Slower Road," along with Louisa's "For Every Day that You Die Young." Nancy also reprised her old composition "Two of a Kind," as well as giving her own take on Murphy's "M&M Blues" (with Casey playing am excellent Scruggs-style break). Very enjoyable listening.

2. Woods and Bridges, "On the Right Track" --- Our old Florida friends Bill Baker and John and Joanne Rose and their band released this CD about a year ago. It covers a good selection of standard bluegrass, along with quite a bit of bluegrass gospel. I especially like Bill's mandolin work on "Working on a Building" and "The Old Crossroad," because he played bass with us for three years in the 1980s and I didn't even know he played mandolin at all! John Rose plays solid guitar and knows more Carter Stanley songs than anyone I know--- and is the subject of a story we tell on stage, about how he became a bluegrass fanatic! This CD is pleasant and entertaining.

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Here is a video someone put on YouTube. It has some scenes of performances and jamming from last week's IBMA convention. About 2:35 you'll see Chris Henry in a mandolin jam, picking "The Gold Rush."