Chris Henry has recently been extremely busy satisfying the demands of his many roles; freelance musician, engineer, producer, teacher and composer.
Somehow he was able to focus on writing a number of songs to mark his grandmother’s 90th birthday. Sadly, Claryne “Renee” Henry passed away on March 10. She would have been 90 years old on March 13.
Henry, a great lover of the Bill Monroe style of mandolin playing, has gathered together a collection of twelve of the new songs to make his latest CD, I’m Gonna Wait on Jesus.
He talks about the background to this period of song-writing and about each of the songs ……
“I wrote all these songs for my grandmother’s birthday – she was going to turn 90 this year, and passed just a couple days shy of that. The songs are largely reflective of where my mind was early this year which had a lot of death and transformation in it. I was close with my grandmother, and she had not been well for a couple of years, so I know that had a lot to do with it, but also I suppose mourning and grieving somewhat the loss of some of my youthful energy.
I’m only in my mid-thirties, but definitely not feeling as young as I did even a few years ago. The title cut is straight up bluegrass Gospel, I’m Gonna Wait on Jesus, and it was a big hit on Facebook to the tune of 50,000 views and over 2500 shares, and largely due to its popularity and also in resonance with my grandmother Renee’s strong faith, I named the album after that cut.
There are a couple of out on the ocean numbers, Ship of Love, lamenting the loss of a relationship, and Deep Blue Waters, which is a mighty lonesome number about a fella drifting out on the ocean wanting to get back to his gal, and he sinks to the bottom and dies. Got some more poetic and lyrical efforts in the Captain and the King, which is a bit veiled, but interestingly symbolic to me with some nice old time flavor in the instrumentation. Tinder Bender was another one that got a lot of comments. It kind of a cheeky slightly bossa/rumba beat singing about my relationship with that dating app.
Miss Missin’ You is more straight up hard-core bluegrass that, like the title cut, features a full band with Corrina Logston on fiddle, Jeremy Stephens on banjo, and Brad Benge on bass. It’s one of the most traditional new bluegrass songs that anyone could hear nowadays sounding a lot like Flatt and Scruggs or Reno and Smiley.
Sweet Savannah is kind more old time style in melody, and I play the guitar in unison with the lead vocal. It’s my first murder song – love triangle between two sisters and one of their husbands. Everyone ends up dead. Livin’ in the Lotus is an interesting song about a real girl that I met in Georgia who was a beautiful, young artist with a lot of awareness, but also may be less that she presumed in a way, but charming nevertheless. That was my mom’s favorite song in the crop, “She may not live at the foot of the cross, but that don’t mean she’s lost,” one of the main hooks there.
Bad Time to Start was dialed in to feature more of my low register which I’m heading towards doing more of. My natural speaking voice is a fairly low baritone and it’s taken me a long time to realize I should write more in that register because there are many folks better off singing leads way up high.
The Dying Room was the first one I wrote, about a talented young woman I met in Nashville, who was from Mississippi, living in New Orleans, wanting to get into the music business, but couldn’t quite escape her situation, haunted by the world of Faulkner. Pourin Poison is a simple true song that I wrote after looking at a picture of my ex-girlfriend. Just tore me up how much I missed her. Also in there are some symbolic explorations of the ideas of being addicted to suffering. Rounder is a kinda cheeky song that I wrote after I had to end a casual relationship with a girl that didn’t like me dating other girls. I wrote the chorus and freestyled the verses, which was a first for any song I’ve ever put out.
I did all the playing and singing on the album besides the first and last cut. Some of the album features some prominent percussion, but the sound is all definitely rootsy, bluegrass, folky, country, Americana to cover it all.”
The CD I’m Gonna Wait on Jesus is available from Chris Henry at the MurphyMethod website ….
There is an accompanying DVD available also from the same source.
The full track listing, in sequence, is as follows …
I’m Gonna Wait on Jesus; Livin’ in the Lotus; Ship of Love; Sweet Savannah; Deep Blue Waters; Tinder Bender; Bad Time to Start; Captain and the King; Pourin’ Poison; Rounder; The Dying Room and Miss Missin’ You.
Henry has put together a promotional video that presents snippets of each of the 12 songs on I’m Gonna Wait on Jesus ……..
He currently lives in Nashville and leads his band The Hardcore Grass, Brad Benge – bass and vocals; Brent Lamons – banjo; Corrina Logston – fiddle; and Tuck Tucker- Dobro. Henry plays mandolin and guitar and vocals.
Chris Henry and The Hardcore Grass, so-called to reflect the intensity with which they perform his music, is the California Bluegrass Association’s Emerging Artist of the Year.