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Artists > Mike Henderson > Thicker Than Water (DR2012)

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Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Mike Henderson carved a niche for himself as a session guitarist over the years in the Nashville studio scene before he began recording under his own name with his own blues band, the Bluebloods. He began playing mandolin and moved from Missouri to Nashville. Trained as a mandolin player and flat-top guitarist, he soon found work in the Nashville studio scene as a slide guitarist.

Henderson's albums on the Dead Reckoning label include Edge of Night (1994), First Blood (1996), and Oakland Blues (1998). Henderson uses a stellar lineup of supporting musicians on First Blood -- Reese Wynans, Glenn Worf, and John Gardner -- making it one of the best (and unfortunately most overlooked) releases of 1996. Collectively, these musicians have recorded and performed with John Hiatt, Emmylou Harris, Kevin Welch, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mark Knopfler, Lonnie Mack, Aaron Neville, Larry Carlton, Johnny Cash, Al Kooper, Tracy Nelson, Rory Block, Sonny Burgess, and Delbert McClinton.

The band got some radio attention on its second release for their song "Pay Bo Diddley," a song that addressed the inequities in U.S. record royalty laws. Not surprisingly, First Blood was recorded in the studio in Nashville over two days, with almost all the songs being recorded on the first take with no overdubs. The band lends their own spin to classic blues material like Sonny Boy Williamson's "So Sad to Be Lonesome," J.B. Hutto's "Hip Shakin'," and Hound Dog Taylor's "Give Me Back My Wig." -

Nashville homeboy Mike Henderson belies his roadhouse roots with this crystalline studio blues record, singing, weirdly, as much like Ben Folds as he does like Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is a jubilant no-nonsense toe-tapping album, staffed by Henderson's ever-present entourage of excellent musicians, including keyboardist John Jarvis and Dead Reckoning label co-captain Glenn Work on bass. A longtime mandolin and flat-pick guitar player, Henderson gets Jarvis into the Jerry Lee Lewis spirit with a demon-calling "Keep What You've Got" and the house-rockin' "Scared of that Child." As he does on his previous and under-aired album, First Blood, Henderson honors his idols Sonny Boy Williamson and Howlin' Wolf on the conga-thick "Mister Downchild" and classic down-home "My Country Sugar Mama." In addition to fine guitar covers, Henderson contributes a particularly clear vocal style with plenty of simultaneous character from both the blues and true-blue country music, which he began to cultivate in his early road days with the Snakes. A fine, versatile record for a good mood. -

Mike Henderson (guitar, harmonica, vocals, producer)
John Gardner (drums)
John Jarvis (piano)
Glenn Worf (bass)
Mike Henderson & The Bluebloods (producer)

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