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Richard Henderson: Bio

“Richard Henderson’s performance on lap steel is masterful!”
— AltCountryForum (The Netherlands)

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.

Just before the world-wide CoVid lockdowns hit, Richard had set up McKenna Henderson, a new blues project with Mike McKenna, the iconic guitarist of McKenna Mendleson Mainline fame (along with Downchild, Luke and the Apostles, and the Ugly Ducklings). Of course, all of the shows booked ended up cancelled. But finally, at North Bay’s Capitol Centre BluesFest, McKenna Henderson were able to light up the stage this past September with their unique vintage take on the small combo blues format.

Richard performs about 100 shows each year from BC through Quebec at clubs, concerts and at festivals such as the iconic Mariposa Folk Festival, Tim Horton’s Southside Shuffle, the Orangeville Blues Festival, the Kincardine Lighthouse Blues Festival, the Capitol Centre Bluesfest, 39 Days of July in BC, the Durham West Blues Fest, the Trius Winery Blues Festival, Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival, Quebec’s Hudson Music Festival, and Winterfolk.

“Richard Henderson’s masterful use of the acoustic lap steel guitar leads to fascinating and compelling results. Richard Henderson…Pure Class!”
— Rootsville, Blues and Roots On The Internet (Belgium)

Click here  to download a PDF of Richard’s Bio.

Live Performance Videos

CD Tracks

“I’m Ready”: This is an iconic Chicago blues from 1954 written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Muddy Waters. Here, Carlos del Junco joins me on harmonica.

 “I Just Want to Make Love To You”: A unique interpretation of this Chicago blues standard written for Muddy Waters by Willie Dixon in the ’50s.

Seventh Day”: A post-apocalyptical Easto/Henderson composition. With Carlos del Junco on harmonica and Suzie Vinnick on backing vocals.


From the UK:

“On the cutting edge of country and blues!”
“Four Stars!”
— Maverick Magazine

“Richard Henderson SEVENTH DAY: ACOUSTIC LAP STEEL GUITAR Self-released ****
Veteran Canadian guitarist Henderson has been spearheading the acoustic lap steel for several years now and unlike most players, he doesn’t use any other instruments or accompaniment, both at his live gigs and on this excellent album. So what you have is mainly his inventive use of sliding steel on guitar strings behind his own vocals with additional backing vocals courtesy of Jeff Rogers, Natalie Rogers and Suzie Vinnick. The songs are mainly blues classics from the likes of Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Fred McDowell. There’s also a neat rendition of Hank Williams’ Honky Tonk Blues and some Henderson originals including Judgment Day, with Jeff Rogers adding some mandolin and Natalie Rogers on bodhran and Seventh Day, featuring Carlos del Junco’s harmonica.”

“Richard’s dry grizzled tones reminding me of Levon Helm; which has to be a good thing.”
— The Rocking Magpie

From The Netherlands:

“Richard Henderson treats the listener to a wonderful musical experience on this solo acoustic album.”

— AltCountryForum (Translated from Dutch)
“Every year, I find a CD in my year end list that I overlooked for some reason and I think, wow, this one’s a beauty. A good example is the CD “Seventh Day” by Canadian steel guitar virtuoso Richard Henderson, a CD that was released at the beginning of the year but I entirely missed. With the acoustic steel guitar flat on his lap and his tonebar gliding over the strings, Richard produces exceptional results. The notes fly to your ears on his solo debut album. Richard’s vocals are edgy: sometimes grinding and raw, sometimes poignant and emotional. Intense blues covers such as Bo Didley’s Who Do You Love, I’m A King Bee by Slim Harpo, and Prodigal Son by Robert Wilkins are interspersed with some excellent original songs. Besides Henderson’s sultry vocals and solid lap steel playing, the album contains only minimal musical ornamentation with the occasional washboard, mandolin or ripping harp. “Seventh Day” is a very organic, minimally produced recording and Henderson keeps my attention with sophisticated arrangements and clever rhythm changes. Richard Henderson treats the listener to a wonderful musical experience on this solo acoustic album.”

“Richard Henderson’s performance on lap steel is masterful!”


From Belgium:

Richard Henderson…Pure Class!”

— Rootsville, Blues and Roots On The Internet, (excerpted and translated from Dutch)
“Richard Henderson’s masterful use of the acoustic lap steel guitar leads to fascinating and compelling results. Richard Henderson…Pure Class!”

From Canada:

“Altogether a fine acoustic disc and one well worth acquiring”.

— John Valenteyn, MapleBlues Magazine

“Congratulations on a fine recording. I wish you all the best with it.”

— Holger Petersen, President, Stony Plain Records and host of CBC’s Saturday Night Blues

From the United States:

“This is an enjoyable album, performed with fine musicianship and good taste.”
— Bruce Iglauer, founder and head of Alligator Records:

From Venues:

“You guys were absolutely fantastic – from the comments I heard, I think you were the crowd favourite of the weekend.”

— Kim Cranfield, Kawartha Craft Beer Festival, Peterborough

“Richard and Gary played at our venue this Summer and they were absolutely amazing!! The feedback was incredible and they are so talented. Their style is also very unique as Richard plays a lap steel guitar. They are also a pleasure to work with. We can’t wait to have them back @ Spearhead!”

— Stephanie Whitaker, Spearhead Brewery, Kingston

Download Richard’s Hi-Res Promo pics:

1) Download this High Res pic: here

Richard Henderson Hi Res 2.18 MB JPEG

2) Download this High Res pic of McKenna Henderson: here

McKenna Henderson JPEG

3) Download this print ready PDF poster: here  

Richard Henderson Print Ready Poster

4) Download a PDF of a Stage Plot and Tech Sheet for Richard Henderson: here


Richard’s Americana band, THE WANTED. Check them out at

The Wanted Hi Res 2 mg

Download this High Res pic: here

Download a PDF of a Stage Plot and Tech Sheet for The Wanted: here

Download a PDF of the BIO for The Wanted: here

Read The Rocking Magpie (UK) review of The Wanted: here

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Download this High Res pic: here

(To download the High Res pics, right click on the pic, then left click “save image as” to the file of your choice.)

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