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Mike Henderson

Mike Henderson (born in Independence, Missouri[1][2]) is an American singer-songwriter.


Early career

Henderson was an original member of blues group the Bel Airs when they formed in Missouri in 1981.[3][4] They released an album, Need Me a Car, on Blind Pig Records in 1984.[3][5] Henderson left the band in 1985 and moved to Nashville.[3][6] The following year, he joined the roots rock band The Roosters.[6] He was also a member of spin-off band The Kingsnakes.[6] The Kingsnakes began playing weekly at the Bluebird Cafe in July 1986.[7] They shortened their name to The Snakes when they were signed by Curb Records.[7] An album, The Snakes, was released by Curb in 1989.[8]

In 1988, The Fabulous Thunderbirds covered "Powerful Stuff", a song Henderson had written for The Snakes, for the soundtrack to the film Cocktail.[6][9] Henderson later became a staff songwriter for EMI.[5] His songs have been recorded by the Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Gary Allan and Patty Loveless, among others.[10][11] Henderson also found work in Nashville as a slide guitarist.[12] He played on albums by Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Joy Lynn White and Kelly Willis.[6][11]

Country Music Made Me Do It

Henderson's demos drew the attention of country music label RCA Nashville.[5] RCA signed Henderson and released his solo debut album, Country Music Made Me Do It, in March 1994.[13] Bob Cannon of Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A- grade, writing that Henderson's "enthusiastic field holler and his guitar's riveting twang give off enough sparks to ignite [the songs]."[14] Dan Kening of the Chicago Tribune gave the album three and a half stars, saying that "Henderson downplays his guitar chops on his first solo album in favor of his songwriting and strong vocals and acquits himself admirably."[15] The album also received a favorable review from Peter Cronin of Billboard, who declared that "Henderson comes to the party with plenty of attitude and a distinctive point of view."[16]

The album's first single, "Hillbilly Jitters", peaked at number 69 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.[2] When subsequent singles "The Want To" and "If the Jukebox Took Teardrops" failed to chart, Henderson was dropped by the label.[17] "If the Jukebox Took Teardrops" was later a minor chart hit for Danni Leigh in 1998.[18]

Edge of Night

After being dropped by RCA, Henderson founded the label Dead Reckoning Records with Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, Tammy Rogers and Harry Stinson.[17] His second album, Edge of Night, was released by Dead Reckoning in January 1996.[5][19] The video for the first single, a cover of Eddy Clearwater's "I Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down", was added by CMT in February 1996.[20] Tony Scherman of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B grade, writing that Henderson is "a good songwriter, even if he wears his influences a little too plainly."[21] Parry Gettelman of the Orlando Sentinel gave the album five stars, stating that Henderson's "strong, slightly sandpapery voice is as soulful as it is twangy."[22] Chet Flippo of Billboard also reviewed the album favorably, saying that "Henderson manages to sound at once world-weary and exuberant in a solid lineup of original material and country chestnuts."[23]

First Blood

Later in 1996, Henderson formed the blues band Mike Henderson & the Bluebloods with Reese Wynans on piano, Glenn Worf on bass and John Gardner on drums.[5][12] They released the album First Blood in October 1996 on Dead Reckoning.[24][25]Mark Knopfler wrote the album's liner notes.[26]Alanna Nash of Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A grade, writing that "First Blood's blistering, seamless blues covers prove [Henderson]'s a remarkable guitarist and frontman."[27] A review in People stated that "when the combination of piano, bass, drums and electric guitar is as neck-snappingly strong as it is on the Bluebloods' first album, you don't need other instruments, original compositions or even many original ideas to deliver a knockout blow."[28] Linda Ray of No Depression also gave the album a positive review, praising Henderson's "masterful guitar and vocals" and saying that "the way he plays that slide is likely illegal in several states."[26] The song "Pay Bo Diddley" received some radio airplay.[12]

Thicker Than Water

Mike Henderson & the Bluebloods released their second album, Thicker Than Water, in January 1999 with John Barlow Jarvis replacing Reese Wynans on piano.[29] Becky Byrkit of AllMusic gave the album four stars out of five, writing that "Henderson contributes a particularly clear vocal style with plenty of simultaneous character from both the blues and true-blue country music."[29] The album received a mixed review in People, which praised Jarvis' "richly layered, hard-driving solos" but compared Henderson's vocals to "the white-guy-trying-to-sound-soulful desperation of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in their Blues Brothers mode."[30] Ed Kopp of All About Jazz gave the album a positive review, saying that "leader Mike Henderson is a highly capable slide guitarist, harpist, and singer, but the guy who makes this CD extra special is John Jarvis."[31] Tim Steil of the Chicago Tribune also gave the album a favorable review, stating that "whether playing Hound Dog Taylor-ish slide, or blowing harp lines that would make Little Walter smile, Henderson deftly conjures the sound of '50s Chicago."[32]

Later career

Henderson toured with Mark Knopfler on his 2001 Sailing to Philadelphia Tour.[6][10] In 2008, Henderson was one of the founding members of bluegrass group The SteelDrivers.[33] He played mandolin, resophonic guitar and harmonica and co-wrote most of the band's original songs.[34] The SteelDrivers' 2010 album Reckless was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in 2011.[35] Henderson left The SteelDrivers in December 2011.[36]

Adele performed Henderson's song "If It Hadn't Been for Love" for her 2011 DVD Live at the Royal Albert Hall.[10] Henderson has continued to play weekly shows at the Bluebird Cafe with the Mike Henderson Band.[7][10]



Title Album details
Country Music Made Me Do It
Edge of Night
First Blood
(Mike Henderson & the Bluebloods)
  • Release date: October 15, 1996
  • Label: Dead Reckoning Records
Silver Lining
Thicker Than Water
(Mike Henderson & the Bluebloods)
  • Release date: January 12, 1999
  • Label: Dead Reckoning Records


Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country
1994 "Hillbilly Jitters" 69 Country Music Made Me Do It
"The Want To" --
"If the Jukebox Took Teardrops" --
1996 "I Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down" -- Edge of Night
"--" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos

Year Video
1994 "Hillbilly Jitters"
1996 "I Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down"


  1. ^ Gray, Michael (1998). "Mike Henderson". In Kingsbury, Paul. The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Oxford University Press. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-19-977055-7. OCLC 707922721. 
  2. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 186. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Bel Airs Bio". The Bel Airs. Retrieved 2014. 
  4. ^ Himes, Geoffrey (March 5, 1999). "MIKE HENDERSON & THE BLUEBLOODS "Thicker Than Water" Dead Reckoning". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Sherman, Jim (January 16, 1997). "Aw, Twern't Nuthin'". Houston Press. Retrieved 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Mike Henderson Bio". Mike Henderson. Retrieved 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "About | The Bluebird Cafe". Bluebird Cafe. Retrieved 2014. 
  8. ^ "The Snakes - The Snakes". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  9. ^ Galipault, Gerry (January 10, 1999). "Mike Henderson & The Bluebloods swing the blues". Pause & Play. Retrieved 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d Cooper, Peter (November 17, 2011). "Peter Cooper on Music: A mandolin player ZZ Top can love". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Mike Henderson | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Skelly, Richard. "Mike Henderson | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  13. ^ "Country Music Made Me Do It - Mike Henderson". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  14. ^ Cannon, Bob (May 6, 1994). "Country Music Made Me Do It Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014. 
  15. ^ Kening, Dan (May 12, 1994). "Mike Henderson Country Music Made Me Do It (RCA)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014. 
  16. ^ Cronin, Peter (March 26, 1994). "Album Reviews". Billboard. Retrieved 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Margasak, Peter (April 11, 1996). "Mike Henderson". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2014. 
  18. ^ "29 Nights - Danni Leigh". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  19. ^ "Edge of Night - Mike Henderson". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  20. ^ "Billboard Video Monitor". Billboard. March 2, 1996. Retrieved 2014. 
  21. ^ Scherman, Tony (January 19, 1996). "Edge of Night Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014. 
  22. ^ Gettelman, Parry (January 26, 1996). "Mike Henderson". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014. 
  23. ^ Flippo, Chet (January 27, 1996). "Reviews & Previews". Billboard. Retrieved 2014. 
  24. ^ "First Blood - Mike Henderson & The Bluebloods". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  25. ^ Margasak, Peter (January 9, 1997). "Mike Henderson & the Bluebloods". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2014. 
  26. ^ a b Ray, Linda (March 1997). "Mike Henderson & The Bluebloods - First Blood". No Depression. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  27. ^ Nash, Alanna (October 18, 1996). "First Blood Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014. 
  28. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: First Blood". People. December 9, 1996. Retrieved 2014. 
  29. ^ a b Byrkit, Becky. "Thicker Than Water - Mike Henderson & The Bluebloods". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  30. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Thicker Than Water". People. January 25, 1999. Retrieved 2014. 
  31. ^ Kopp, Ed (August 1, 1999). "Mike Henderson and the Bluebloods: Thicker Than Water". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2014. 
  32. ^ Steil, Tom (January 17, 1999). "Mike Henderson and the Bluebloods Thicker Than Water". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014. 
  33. ^ Lupton, John (January 2008). "The SteelDrivers put blue in bluegrass". Country Standard Time. Retrieved 2014. 
  34. ^ poet, j. "Reckless - SteelDrivers". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  35. ^ "Five artists under the radar at the Grammys". USA Today. February 7, 2011. Retrieved 2014. 
  36. ^ Lawless, John (December 21, 2011). "Mike Henderson moves on". Bluegrass Today. Retrieved 2014. 
  37. ^ "Mike Henderson Album & Song Chart History - Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2014. 

External links

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