Teri Hendrix plays an eclectic blend of roots rock and Texas folk. She has the musical courage of Sheryl Crow, the grit of Bonnie Raitt, the angelic tones of Emmylou Harris and the guts of mid-career Michelle Shocked. A native of San Antonio, she writes with the raucous humor of Robert Earl Keen and the smooth, stylish wit of Lyle Lovett. On stage, Hendrix lures an audience in with a big smile and a feel-good magnetism. Off-stage, she collects vintage overalls and prefers two dollars shoes.
Ultimately, Hendrix says, "I am a folk singer at heart. As Big Bill Broonzy said, 'It's all folk music. I ain't never heard a cow sing.'"
On April 30, Terri Hendrix will be in Lexington to record a show on Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour with her touring partner, Lloyd Maines. A legend in the music industry for the last three decades, Lloyd Maines, musician and producer, has worked with such artists as Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Earl Keen, Butch Hancock, and the Dixie Chicks (one of whom is his daughter). But now, Maines has focused his efforts on his partnership with Hendrix, and it is easy to see why.
Hendrix can do it all - sing, write, play acoustic guitar, harmonica, mandolin, papoose and accordion. She even runs her own record label, Wilory Records. A college drop-out, she learned at a young age to rely on no one but herself and never to settle for second best. Although she can do it all, Hendrix is no control freak. Her strength comes from knowing herself, which she learned early on, as she wrestled with a serious case of stage fright.
"Stage fright is about needing something from others that you cannot give yourself," Hendrix says. "I do not have stagefright like I used to. I may get nervous before a show but this is like sports. You cannot freak out about it. You have to get up and perform. Some people will like what you do and some people may think you are from Mars. In the big picture, what matters is doing my best and rising to every occasion we play."
A significant part of Hendrix's success comes from knowing when to listen to and work with others. She makes a priority of collaborating with other musicians.
"This is the only way to grow," Hendrix says. "I must stay open to all ideas. I cannot do this on my own, nor do I want to. Other people bring new experiences to the table. This makes for fresh turns in both the music and the business."
According to Hendrix, her style of music is best promoted through an independent label, through grassroots, organic promotion.
"Grassroots organic promotion is using NPR and mom and pop retail stores and a fan base around the country to market my music. I am, as I said, at heart a folk singer. Doing roots based acoustic music on an independent label is a different ball game. Radio airplay is limited to stations who are allowed to play music outside of the programmed format. Our music is not mainstream, we cover many different styles, and it is by this alternative approach and picky marketing strategy that we have been able to tour and grow."
Hendrix is constantly on the move. She has cut five albums in as many years, including Live in San Marcos, Places in Between, Live at Cibolo Creek Country Club, Wilory Farm, and Two Dollar Shoes. Her live albums show her love of live audiences and her studio albums move gracefully and ambitiously from style to style. Her songs are bright and darkly comic, sad and hilarious, always poignant.
Each year her schedule gets more and more hectic and her fan base has grown beyond her expectations. She tours almost constantly, and thrives on life on the road.
"Our music crosses many styles. We attract little kids to big kids to old kids. I enjoy meeting people after I play as much as I do playing. I think people know that and can feel that. If allowed," she says of music, "it crosses ethnic, verbal and religious boundaries and limitations."
For Hendrix and Maines, music is an open invitation to speak a common language. Everyone is naturally proficient, if only they'd listen and let themselves join in.