Bio

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Acoustic blues and roots music are riding a resurgent wave of popularity and many musicians have taken up traditional instruments, such as the lap steel guitar. There are, however, remarkably few artists featuring that instrument. Richard Henderson is one of those few. And with his characteristic edgy style based on the traditions of the blues, country and rock and roll, the results are compelling: Richard was named Instrumentalist of the Year by the Durham Region Music Society and First Runner Up in The Toronto Blues Society’s Talent Search. He has earned showcases at the International Blues Summit, the Folk Music Ontario Conference, Ontario Contact and for Mariposa and Winterfolk Festivals. Maverick, the UK’s leading independent roots music magazine, describes “Seventh Day”, Richard’s CD, as “Excellent! On the cutting edge of country and blues”, and featured one of his original songs on a covermount CD.

The acoustic lap steel guitar is an interesting and uncommon instrument. It was developed in Hawaii in the 19th century and is the direct ancestor of both the dobro, played in traditional Americana music, and the pedal steel guitar, so characteristic of American country music. It was also instrumental in the development of the slide guitar blues styles played in the southern United States beginning in the early 20th century. As a result, Richard’s performances, which feature the acoustic lap steel guitar together with any combination of electric guitar, bass and percussion, give a unique perspective on the continuing evolution of acoustic roots music. The distinctive slide of the lap steel weaving through an eclectic mix of blues, roots, and vintage rock and roll is an unusual musical twist that audiences really enjoy. The result, while evocative of blues and folk traditions, is transformational: leading to a vibrant reconstruction of roots music.

Richard performs about 100 shows each year in Ontario and into Quebec at clubs and at festivals such as Mariposa, the Tim Horton’s Southside Shuffle, the Orangeville Blues Festival, the Kincardine Lighthouse Blues Festival, Durham West Blues Fest, the Trius Winery Blues Festival, the Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival, the Hudson Music Festival, Winterfolk Festival, and the Marshville Heritage Festival.

 

 

8 Comments

  1. Hello ……..I am learning to play the lap steel and am looking for some tablature rock songs. Do you sell your tablature……thanks Mike

  2. Well, l’m working at gettin my dobro chops down, then some dear friends of mine said “Hey, Tim, here is somebody you need to listen to!”
    They gave me the 7th day CD that they had got thru their involvement with Summerfolk in Pefferlaw back in the day.
    Man I am gonna learn those songs and figure out what you doin there because .that stuff speaks to me big time
    Thanks Richard for the inspiration!!

    • Hey Tim, thanks very much for your comment. It’s always great to hear when a musical connection happens!

    • LUCAS GABRIEL FIORIO PEREIRA

      Hi, mr. Henderson! I fall in love with your sound!!! Seventh day is a amazing album. Please tell me whith tuning do you use. Thanks

      • Hey Lucas, good to hear from you. I tend to stick with two basic tunings: one for my Rayco Wiessenborn, and one for my Bear Creek Kona. Because the body of a Weissenborn-style guitar is not as deep as other guitars, they tend to sound a little thin to me, so tuning down adds to the depth and richness of the tone. So I tune to E (EBEG#BE) for the Rayco. However, on “Seventh Day”, when I used the Rayco, I tuned it to D, same voicing. On the Kona, I tune to G, but not the standard G tuning used by most dobro players. I use GGDGBD- that avoids the double major third and allows a rougher, edgier, bluesier sound, I think. Some folks ask about my string gauges, so I’ll list those here too. I change up my gauges regularly, but here are the general median gauges: The Rayco: 62, 46, 36, 26, 17, 15; and for the Kona- 56, 54, 35, 26, 17, 15. I generally use electric guitar pure nickel flat wound strings by Pyramid and Thomastik-Infeld- I find them to be a little less bright and more vintage-sounding. Thanks for asking!

        Richard

        • LUCAS GABRIEL FIORIO PEREIRA

          wow awesome! indeed, the fifth string in unison with the sixth created a very interesting and unusual sound. I understand, it seems that Weissenborn-style tends to emphasize the mid/treble rsnge and undoubtedly these choices made the sound warmer. I like pure nickel in my electric just to make my sound warmer. I will try open G in this blues setup, maybe on my Dobro! thank you very much for your attention!

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