2/19/1940 – 11/01/2011
Very seldom do I use the Out of the Chute to talk about someone who is no longer with us. As I listened to the music of Tim Henderson (CD collection review coming tomorrow) I realized that he is with us. Tim Henderson was a songwriter who like Towns Van Zandt, his influence lives on in many songwriters today.
In a phone call to Tim one night, Towns is quoted as saying “I just felt like talking to the best songwriter I know.” Richard Dobson referred to an endorsement from Towns Van Zandt as a ‘gold standard’.
Tim had a way of pushing boundaries with his lyrics without insulting folks. He made them think - told things like they were. “I keep trying to think of a more purely representative American Songwriter than Tim Henderson… “ ~Tom Paxton
Born in West Virginia, his lyrics reflect a lot of his Appalachian heritage, yet he could belt songs such as La Dona Maria, the Spanish dialect rolling from his tongue while he was Texas/ Americana through and through. You will also hear a Scottish influence in his vocals and lyrics, something he probably picked up as a young boy, listening to his grandmother play Scottish and Wales folk music on her mountain dulcimer. But his biggest influences, like all songwriters, came from his life. The places and people he experienced from his early years, to his military service and various jobs into adulthood all became fodder for the songs he would write. Quoting Townes, “His songs are soulful and solid, sprung from the soil of Texas. Sometimes witty, always wise. Never showy or shallow.” That’s LIFE!
Tim was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Academy of Texas Music in 2011 for his “timeless contributions to Texas music”. TMA founder, Lucky Boyd is quoted, “Any songwriter’s clinic should include a study of Henderson’s songs. As a mainstay of Texas music, Henderson will be touted as a historically significant component throughout the annals of lone star lore.”
“Tim was a joy to be around. He was always happy, always up, always joyous, always carrying around his wonderful songs which he would sing with that special passion of his anywhere, anytime. I miss him a lot.” ~W.C. Jameson
When Tim performed at the Woody Guthrie Memorial Festival in Tulsa with Pete Seeger, Pete would later remark about the ‘spiritual evocation of Texas’ Tim brought to his ballads.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about a 6-CD compilation released in 2016. Artists all across Texas came together for a tribute to a man who taught them so much through his songwriting.
In the mean time, here's a glimpse into this man's amazing talent - courtesy of TexasOutlawVideos: