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This article by Richard J. Skelly was prepared for the February 19, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Hendrix at the Crossing

Unlike more tradition-based musicians, Terri Hendrix

is likely to present tunes that run the gamut from modern country

to blues and blues-rock, contemporary folk, and folk-pop. Hendrix’s

six albums, released on her own Texas-based Wilory Records label,

are as eclectic as she is at her live shows. She sings, plays guitar,

and plays some harmonica on her most recent release, "The Ring."

While Hendrix has made many solo tours earlier in her career, building

her following at the grass-roots level via snail mail and E-mail,

and selling CDs at her shows, she has been accompanied on her recent

tours by guitarist, mandolin player, and dobro player Lloyd Maines.

The duo plays Saturday, February 22, at Concerts at the Crossing in

Titusville.

"We’re a high-energy duo," says Hendrix. "It’s all acoustic."

Maines is an accomplished songwriter, producer, and arranger in his

own right who took an active interest in Hendrix’s career in the late

1990s. Maines is the father of Natalie Maines of the country super

group, the Dixie Chicks. A song Hendrix co-wrote with Maines, "Lil’

Jack Slade," appears on the Dixie Chicks’ current release, "Home"

on the Sony label. The song, an instrumental, was nominated for a

Grammy Award. Within 24 hours of Hendrix and Maines’ Concerts at the

Crossing appearance, the world will know whether or not "Lil Jack

Slade" has been awarded a Grammy for "Best Country Instrumental."

"I feel funny saying that it’s me," Hendrix relates from her

home in San Marcos. "It’s really the girls, the Dixie Chicks,

who are up for the award," she says modestly. Hendrix and her

sister and Maines and his wife will all be in attendance at the Grammy

Awards on Sunday night, February 23, at Madison Square Garden.

"The Ring," released in June of last year, is a suitably eclectic

collection of tunes that draws on Hendrix and Maines’ blues, country,

pop, and Texas swing influences. Maines took the lead behind the recording

console and served as producer for the record, as he has for previous

Hendrix albums.

Hendrix says she formed Wilory Records in 1996 to release her first

album, "Two Dollar Shoes." Her other releases for her own

label included "Wilory Farm," 1998, "Terri Hendrix Live,"

1999, "Places In Between," 2000, and "Live in San Marcos,"

2001. She is now looking for a bigger home to house herself and her

burgeoning Wilory Records label.

"Some of the songs on this record are older," she says, noting

they’re not all from recent experience. To be sure, Hendrix is a prolific

songwriter, and more importantly, she doesn’t need to be in personal

or social upheaval to come up with a good song. Although she has no

background as a professional writer, Hendrix has written several stories

for the magazines Texas Music, and Best in Texas. She says she liked

doing these stories, but didn’t like the deadlines.

"I usually write a lot of songs when I travel," she says,

"and I’m always writing new songs and setting some aside. `Janet

from Another Planet’ came together all at once during the Christmas

holidays of 2001," she says. The song can be heard on "The

Ring."

Hendrix, the youngest of three children, grew up in San Antonio. Her

mom was a housewife and her father was an Army command sergeant major.

She was influenced by the music her parents enjoyed, including Willie

Nelson and Dolly Parton, but her own record collection included a

lot of rock and pop, including Abba, Supertramp, and Pat Benatar.

Hendrix, who just turned 35, majored in music at Hardin Simmons College

in Abilene, Texas, and at Southwest Texas State University in San

Marcos. Her first professional gig was in 1990.

"It was pretty much a little coffeehouse in San Marcos," Hendrix

says, "and what I remember about most is I had to play for four

hours but I only knew about 10 songs — so I really stretched it

out."

After the 1996 release of "Two Dollar Shoes" in 1996, producer,

arranger, and guitarist Maines got involved in her career. This came

about through a demo tape she sent him. "We worked together on

certain things, and next thing I knew, we were in business together,"

she says. "I run around with the catcher’s mitt and catch the

ideas. Lloyd’s job is to edit me."

Although many performers need the comfort and stability

of home to be able to create their best work, Hendrix does much of

her songwriting out on the road. "The key to it is just to stay

out of the way of the songs," she says. "I don’t think about things

in formulas. I usually write lyrics separate from the music, or the

music first and then lyrics later. I try not to think too much about

it, yet a lot of times I’ll just write songs in my head." If you

can’t remember the germinating riff or lyrical line for a song later

on, she adds, it probably wasn’t worth writing in the first place.

"But if we can remember it, we’re on to something."

Since 1996 Hendrix has made her living full-time as a musician. But

even that year, she still supplemented her musician’s income by waitressing

and working in construction cleanup, she says.

Starting Wilory Records was a leap of faith, she admits. "It was

a lot harder running your own business before computers, and I think

it was 1997 when I did my first big tour of Chicago, someone gave

me a computer. Then I started putting out my own newsletters,"

she says.

"But I was really lucky, I started my mailing list in 1990, and

right now my mailing list is a little bit under 50,000 people. Out

of that, each time a CD comes out, you can count on a third of the

mailing list to buy the new record."

"I feel like my business, Wilory Records, is like your hometown

cafe, but we take it out on the road to you," she says. "My

shows and my business are hometown and grass roots, and we appeal

to that type of fan base, working class people," she says. "And

I think that’s why Lloyd has stayed on with me all these years, because

he gets something from playing my shows that he doesn’t get playing

the big arenas with the Dixie Chicks. We deal one-on-one with our

fan base."

— Richard J. Skelly

Terri Hendrix, Concerts at the Crossing, Unitarian

Church at Washington Crossing, Titusville, 609-406-1424. Terri Hendrix,

with Lloyd Maines. Rebecca Hall opens. Www.crossingconcerts.com.

$15. Saturday, February 22, 8 p.m.


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