About the Event
Wayne Henderson is a true American original. He is a world-class luthier as well as a world-class guitar player. And that makes him unquestionably the lone member of a club of one:
Stradivari and Paganini in a pair of glue-stained Carhartts.
Wayne Henderson has played all over the world and in 1996 won a National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor bestowed upon traditional artists. But he’s still the same old Wayne, wearing the same ball cap and blue jeans whether he’s playing at Carnegie Hall or the potluck supper at the Rugby Rescue Squad.
Wayne Henderson’s guitar shop has become something of a social center – some would say a halfway house – where friends gather to watch, talk, and play music. And especially play music. It seems that almost everyone plays an instrument or sings, and everyone knows the same two dozen tunes. So whenever a few friends get together in the shop, it doesn’t take much encouragement for a jam to break out. And in this context, Wayne is a musical chameleon, straddling the very different aesthetics of bluegrass and old-time music.
But as fine as his ensemble playing is, what’s truly unique about Wayne Henderson’s playing comes out when he’s playing solo. When you just hand him a guitar, or better yet, listen to him play guitar he’s just completed, Wayne opens up his box of influences wide. Using those two extra fingers to great advantage, he’ll fill out the sound with syncopated strums in the style of Maybelle Carter. He’ll inject some of the banjo rolls that Merle Travis first applied to the guitar. He’ll toss in some rockabilly riffs, or jazz things up with “one of those chords with numbers.” His playing is both fun and fearless. It’s a whirlwind tour of American guitar styles but it never sounds like Wayne’s showing off, because he’s not.