In the 10 years since she self-released her debut CD, Terri Hendrix has bloomed from the Texas hill country’s best-kept secret into one of the folk world’s most endearing and original voices. And one of it’s most proudly independent, as shown by the song lyric she’s adopted as the slogan for her label, Wilory Records: “Own Your Own Universe.” By doing just that over the course of six studio CDs and three live discs, Terri has been able to achieve both financial and artistic freedom and cultivate a thriving grassroots following.
Along the way, she’s also charmed plenty of critics, too — though many still have a hard time summing her up. “It’s impossible to categorize the music of Terri Hendrix,” observed Country Music People. “She is completely her own person.” Texas Monthly called her a “singer-songwriter-entrepreneur-czarina,” while England’s Mojo, smitten with Hendrix’s 1998 album Wilory Farm, described her as a “scarifyingly breezy Texan cowgirl” who seemed “way too wholesome to have made an album as invigorating as this.” Perhaps RollingStone.com, reviewing her 2002 album, The Ring, put it best when it approvingly dubbed her a “Texan square peg.”
Clearly, there’s nothing ordinary about this San Antonio-born, San-Marcos-based songbird, who abandoned a college opera scholarship to milk goats for guitar lessons so she could hone her chops on the Texas songwriter circuit. With influences including Mississippi John Hurt, Sonny Boy Williamson, Paul Simon, and Ella Fitzgerald, she describes her unique stylistic mix of folk, roots-pop, country and scat-jazz as being “from another planet.” Her writing makes her stand out, too. “Hendrix writes lyrics that set her apart from many contemporary songwriters,” praised Philadelphia’s Local Daily News. “Her songs are rich with visual images, thought-provoking lyrics and undercurrents of non-conformity.” Dirty Linen noted that Terri is “well on her way to becoming the beat laureate of the folk world.”
Terri’s 2004 album, The Art of Removing Wallpaper, tripled her fan base and helped launch her new distribution system, in which she used her mailing list to market her e-commerce store at www.terrihendrix.com. The album featured the AAA radio standouts “One Way” and “Monopoly,” a rousing broadside against the deregulation of radio. “Acoustic instruments, a funk grove, a vocalist with an attitude and an anti-corporate radio lyric. Works for me,” raved Music Row Magazine. In 2005, solely through her Web site, she released Celebrate the Difference, a life-affirming, genre-bending “kid’s record” that Texas Music called the “most musically adventurous record of her career.” Readers Journal likened Terri to a “modern day Shel Silverstein.”
Since 1997, Terri has worked and toured with producer and instrumentalist Lloyd Maines (Joe Ely, Dixie Chicks). With Terri on guitar, harmonica and mandolin, and Lloyd on guitar, mandolin, pedal steel and dobro, they have played some of the most celebrated venues and festivals across the country and Europe, including the Blue Highways Festival in Utrecht, Newport Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Four Corners Music Festival, Mountain Stage Newsong Festival, WXPN Songwriter Weekend, Bridgeton Folk Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, the Austin City Limits Festival, and many more. When not touring as a duo, their bandmates include percussionist Paul Pearcy and bassist Glenn Fukunaga. Terri and Lloyd also teach an annual songwriting workshop that covers both the creative process and the business side of music, which she calls the “Part That Ain’t Art.” Other highlights of her career include co-writing a Grammy-winning instrumental for the Dixie Chicks (“Lil’ Jack Slade”), and having her songs featured in commercials (Ozarka, UTSA), Another World, and on such compilations as WXPN’s World Cafe Live, Austin’s KGSR Broadcast series, Parkinsong Volume One, the Texas Music Project’s Don’t Mess with Texas Music, Vol. 2 and the Putumayo World Music release, Latin Playground.
With the homespun charm and humor that shine through her spirited live performances, Terri’s shows attract both young and old, leaving all who attend inspired. Take it from Griff Luneburg of Austin’s renowned Cactus Cafe: “Terri is a truly captivating artist who will break your heart with one song and leave her sold-out crowds smiling with the next. Her songs come straight from the heart. The truest of Texas troubadours, she’s simply one of the best — and I’ve seen ‘em all