There are only a few musicians who make you wonder if it's really as easy as it looks. Who make you crane your neck to see how many people are up on stage because you can't believe all the sounds and textures emanating from one place. Who, although maybe you came to see the name on the marquee, you feel compelled to find after the show and tell them, "thank you for playing". This is how people feel after hearing Jim Henry play.
Jim's long-time reputation as a phenomenal all-around musician is well-deserved. He is among the elite who can do it all: play most things stringed, sing lead or harmony, write great songs, produce, engineer and arrange. Four solo recordings and literally hundreds of tracks on other people's recordings have cemented his position as one of the most versatile and talented musicians working in acoustic music today.
Fans first discovered Jim Henry in the Sundogs, an eclectic "swamp-boogie-swing" band that was one of New England's hottest touring club and dance hall bands in the late 80's/early 90's. In 1993, Jim released his debut solo disc, Into the Blue, whose title track garnered national praise and attention. Signed to Signature Sounds in 1995, Jim released Jacksonville, which hit the upper reaches of the Gavin Americana chart and received significant airplay throughout the country.
In 1997, Jim joined with acoustic axe man Brooks Williams to record Ring Some Changes, a soulful album of guitar duets which continues to be a favorite among fans. Never straying too far from his small-town roots, Henry released The Wayback in 1999, whose title track is an anthem to the importance of family. The disc, recorded live and unedited, features cream-of-the-crop players including Doug Plavin (Dar Williams, Bill Morrissey), Richard Gates (Patty Larkin, Richard Thompson, Suzanne Vega) and Kevin Barry (Paula Cole, Mary Chapin Carpenter). Whether it's the slow burn of Leaving Time or the foot-stompin', drivin-too-fast cover of Carl Perkins' Restless, the guitar work on this CD leaves your jaw hanging in complete awe.
Jim's current situation has him paired with Tracy Grammer. When Tracy (based in Portland, Or) found herself suddenly in need of an accompanist on the east coast, Jim Henry was the first name on the lips of people in the know. In only 3 days Jim learned the lion's share of the Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer repertoire. Tracy and Jim's first show at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Ma went so well they have been playing together ever since. Says Tracy, “ after playing with Jim Henry for over a year I can't imagine not having him by my side. I have come to count on his wonderful playing and glorious singing. He is a musical force whose presence is huge without over whelming, always subtle and reliably strong”. Tracy’s current release, Flower of Avalon, features Jim contributing dobro, mandolin, acoustic guitar, electric guitars and backing vocals, something on every track.
Jim is currently in the studio preparing for a summer 2005 release of a yet-untitled EP. It will be an intimate recording with acoustic guitar, dobro, mandolin and vocals and Tracy Grammer in the role of accompanist providing her signature violin and sultry vocals.