Folks here in the High Country are in for a treat this Saturday night, August 12th, when Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music presents in concert the Wayne Henderson Trio. Joining Henderson for this show will be fiddler Helen White and guitarist and bass player Herb Key. The show will take place at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium in beautiful downtown Blowing Rock. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m, with doors opening at 7 p.m.
Wayne Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His lightning fast, articulate playing style was influenced by Doc Watson and EC Ball, both of whom were close friends and neighbors in this musically rich corner where Southwest Virginia meets Northwest North Carolina. Henderson has won more awards at the Galax Fiddlers Convention than any other competitor in its 82 year history.
In addition to his reputation as a guitarist, Henderson is a luthier of great renown. He is a recipient of a 1995 National Heritage Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts. He produces about 20 instruments a year, mostly guitars – though he is almost as well known for the mandolins he has made. Doc Watson owned a Henderson mandolin. He said, “That Henderson mandolin is as good as any I’ve had my hands on. And that’s saying a lot, because I’ve picked up some good ones.”
Some of Henderson’s instruments are intricately decorated but are most respected for their volume, tone, and resonance. Blues guitarist John Cephas said that Wayne Henderson “is probably the most masterful guitar maker in this whole United States.” There is a waiting list for Henderson’s guitars made up of the famous (and not-so-famous).
Henderson was the 2014 convocation speaker at Appalachian State University in Boone. Above and beyond his great talents as a musician and luthier, Henderson is known as a “friend to everyone” and shares his talents and knowledge unselfishly.
JSMHM director, Rodney Sutton stated, “ I became good friends with Wayne back in the early 1980’s when I headed up the Elderhostel programs at the Augusta Heritage Workshops for five weeks each summer in Elkins, West Virginia. Wayne would be there at Davis and Elkin’s College teaching a two-week guitar building class as a part of the Augusta workshops. Not only did I get to see this master luthier in action, I also discovered that he is a wonderful story-teller and a great source of rural mountain humor!”
The Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition was established in 1995 to express appreciation for this living legend. This event has become known worldwide as guitar players from across the globe come to compete for a chance to win a handmade Henderson guitar – given yearly to the first place winner. Portions from the proceeds of this festival are placed into a scholarship fund to aid local young musicians in continuing their educations. Through the 2016 festival, scholarships totaled more than $160,500.
A singer, fiddler, guitarist and tunesmith, Helen White has toured extensively with Henderson in the U.S. and Europe. Her compositions include works for theater and video projects as well as a Booklist honored recording of original songs for children. White is the founder and served as regional director of the Junior Appalachian Musicians program from program inception in 2000 to 2013.
Herb Key grew up in a musical family in Wilkes County. He has played music for most of his life and has spent more than 30 years making, repairing, and restoring instruments. He grew up listening to old Carter Family recordings, mesmerized with Mother Maybelle’s guitar playing. Keys has appeared a number of times at JSMHM concerts over the past 23 years as a member of the Elkville Stringband.
The Blowing Rock School Auditorium is located at 130 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock.
This concert is supported by the following private sponsors; Lynn Hubbard and Dr. E. Frank and Tara Hancock. Business Sponsors include; Advance Reality, Fred’s Mercantile, Stick Boy Bread Company, Mast General Store, Mountain Times Publishing, and the High Country Press. Additional support is provided by; The Watauga Arts Council, The NC Arts Council, and Boone TDA. Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is also proud to be included as a site on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BlueRidgeMusicNC.com).
Tickets cost $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Student tickets are $5. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. Advance tickets may be purchased online and in limited numbers at the Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Stick Boy Bread Company(345 Hardin St, Boone), plus Footsloggers and Pandora’s Mailbox on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
Tickets, directions and more info can be found at the JSMHM website – www.mountainhomemusic.org/