Are Live Online Concerts The Wave of the Future For Artists
One thing is for certain. I’m really impressed. For some of you reading this that may not mean much but anyone who really knows me they know that it takes a lot to impress me. Last week while sitting at my computer I was able to buy a ticket (at my price) and watch a phenomenal “Live Online Concert” and it was simply awesome! In fact I’m still impressed a week later. (And that is no small miracle.)
Could you tell the old guy is excited?
I am always amazed at how we find these random connections through unplanned ways. It was a real string of events that lead to my enjoying one of the best live bluegrass performances I have experienced in many years.
The band didn’t have to travel far, I didn’t have to worry about getting to the venue on time, I was comfortable, the band seemed comfortable and wow did they ever put on a stellar show for me and folks from all over the country.
How It Happened
Back to the random connections… I am friends online with a really talented young lady and we have released several of her songs to radio by the name of Lauren Mascitti. (rhymes with spaghetti but with a M) I noticed a video of a song that she had co-written with a young man by the name of Chris Henry. I was not familiar with Chris but soon learned a lot of other folks I know who were. I was really impressed with this recent song that Lauren and Chris had co-written and were performing together. The vocals with these two just really seemed to meld together in a special way. It was like a George & Tammy moment (country music fans will understand.)
This got it all started!
So being interested in Lauren it just seemed natural to want to learn more about this very talented and gifted singer/songwriter/musician with the two first names. So I went to check out the facebook page for Chris Henry and sent a friend request and Chris accepted the request. In looking at his page I saw a notice for a live online concert that night featuring Chris Henry and The Hardcore Grass. Intrigued by the prospect of hearing some more music from this talented fellow with the two first names I clicked on the link to a service called Concert Window. It was really easy to navigate and I bought my ticket ( I got to pick the price) and at the designated time I enjoyed a show that would rival one from the mother church of country music. I’m not kidding! I’ve been there so I do know.
Chris Henry is not only an extraordinarily gifted singer/songwriter/musician but he is a natural on stage! Even the one in his living room! The concert flowed smoothly and with great deal of energy. The audio and video quality were great and there was even some online interaction between the group and fans attending the show. The only thing I would have changed if I could have would have been to have a way to go full screen AND have the interaction screen complete with the tip jar! But it was simple enough to switch back and forth so all was good.
I know that there has always been a mutual admiration of great music and the artists of country and bluegrass and gospel music. They are certainly close cousins and share many common kinfolks. My sanctified grandmother loved artists like Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Hank Snow, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams and a host of others. Our family loves God and our first love is Gospel Music but we also enjoy a good country/bluegrass tune as well!
I asked Chris if he would mind answering a few questions for me and he graciously indulged me so here are a few of the things I wanted to know about Chris Henry.
SoGospel – Tell me about your background in music. Who influenced you? Who inspires you? What are your earliest recollections about music?
CHRIS HENRY – My background in music started with my mom playing hardcore bluegrass banjo on top of my head when I was in the womb for nine months. So, I reckon I came out pre-disposed to liking it a certain way. I was lucky to be around a lot of amazing Florida and Virginia musicians growing up. My folks, Red and Murphy Henry, Gamble Rogers, Dale Crider, Tuck Tucker, and in Virginia, Dalton Brill, David McLaughlin, Lynn Morris, Marshall Wilborn and many others who I learned a lot from. I got into rock, punk rock, metal, and hip-hop in my teenage years and absorbed a lot of energy from that too. When I came to Nashville I was lucky to work with folks like Shawn Camp and Verlon Thompson, and then in the last couple of years, Peter Rowan. I always remember being drawn in an connected to the drive of music, and melody. It was exciting, visceral, kinda instinctual and primal, my connection to it, and it lit up the creative sectors in my brain, and now I really associate a lot of my personal identity with my connection to music.
SoGospel- Tell me about your family? Did you grow up in Nashville?
CHRIS HENRY- I was born in Gainesville, Florida, and we lived there til I was 5 in 1986, then moved up to Winchester, Virginia in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Mom and dad, after releasing seven albums with their band in Florida, Red and Murphy and Company, were wanting to get closer to more mid-atlantic festivals up there, but after the move their how to play by ear instructional tapes, and later video, business took off and they could spend more time at the house raising us, so they got off the road.
SoGospel- Country or Bluegrass or both or something else? Which is your favorite? Which influences you the most?
CHRIS HENRY- I have been a little slow to warm up to country music. I was really into the picking aspect of bluegrass for a really long time, then I got into singing much later, and now I’m coming around to be able to really appreciate the great country singers and incorporate more of that energy into my own singing and songwriting. I love the simple lyrics of bluegrass, but country music appeals with a little more lyrical freedom and more chords too.
SoGospel- Who have you been listening to recently?
CHRIS HENRY- Recently, my favorite band to listen to, and I just saw them a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne, Australia, is a Scottish band called Braebach. They have twin bagpipes, which I just love, flute, fiddle, guitar and bass. They really do a good job of mixing the best of traditional Scottish music with a contemporary flavor too. I’m still also really keen on Peter Rowan’s music, and of course Bill Monroe. I also am really digging Haggard more and more, and Tony Rice’s singing and rhythm guitar playing.
SoGospel- When did you begin writing songs?
CHRIS HENRY- I started composing around 10 with instrumental music. I got into MIDI sequencing not long after that and really have enjoyed that for going on 20 years or more – I find it’s a great way to be creative efficiently. I still do a lot of it. I started writing punk rock songs as a teenager, and then rap and hip-hop songs in my early 20’s, and then after I moved to Nashville I started writing more rootsy songs in my mid-twenties, and I stuck to it mostly ever since, with a few ventures out past the pale so to speak.
SoGospel- Do you write alone or do you prefer co-writing?
CHRIS HENRY- I love writing alone because there’s so much freedom of course, no pressure except that which you give yourself. Intuitively I usually know where I am going, so you don’t have to spend energy trying to convince someone or show someone where you are coming from. But, I love a good co-write when it’s the best of both worlds. I recently just started writing with a young woman named Lauren Mascitti, and she’s naturally an amazing singer, and a very talented songwriter, great with lyrics. So I feel when the chemistry is right, co-writing can really be special.
SoGospel- How did the idea to do a live concert online come about for you? Was this a first for you or is this a regular gig? Are you planning another? If so when?
CHRIS HENRY- I was lucky that a woman that works for concertwindow.com just wrote me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to do one, and I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to connect with people and get the music out there, and the prospect of being able to do that in the comfort of my living space seemed like a great opportunity! This was the first time we had tried it, but we’re all in to do it again, and maybe on somewhat of a regular basis.
SoGospel- Chris Henry and The Hardcore Grass- Is this a regular group for you or just some friends who decided to try this together?
CHRIS HENRY- This is the latest version of Chris Henry and The Hardcore Grass, the first time we’ve had Jeremy Stephens on guitar, he’s a great banjo picker that has played with us a good bit, but he’s a hoss on the guitar and it really felt great with him chugging on that rhythm and Kyle on the banjo. We are all friends, but we’ve been working together in slightly different configurations for a couple of years.
SoGospel- Based on the presentation quality of the show I’m assuming this was not the first rodeo for the group?
CHRIS HENRY- Corrina and I just got back from Australia where we played 21 shows with a different guitar player and bass player. I feel like we’ve built up some steam and momentum over the last six weeks, and it sure felt good to play tonight with the whole band.
SoGospel- We asked Chris to put together his best pitch for our readers to go check them out.
CHRIS HENRY- I would love for all the good neighbors to check us out on Facebook.com/hardcoregrass, and also my website christopherhenry.net, and YouTube of course. We’re really excited to have the opportunity to play and sing this music and we’re working on it all the time to represent it in the best way we can, and love to connect with people who enjoy the flow.
Thanks again to Chris Henry and The Hardcore Grass for one of the best concerts I have attended in quite some time!
Artists interested in creating an intimate concert for their fans can check out Concert Windows for more information!