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Terri Hendrix

How would you describe your music?

I'm not sure. I'm a folk singer at heart. But jazz is a love too. That's why I have always been on my own label. I have a passion for music. On any given day, I might download the latest by Goldfrapp or delve into Bluegrass or Ella Fitzgerald. But if i have to say what type of music, you can call it "Folk." Like Big Bill Broonzy said, "It's all Folk, I ain't ever heard a cow sing."

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

I'm 100% independent. Back in 1997, I released a CD called "Two Dollar Shoes." No one would sign me. I brought it out myself and made over twenty thousand dollars by the end of the summer. All the labels that turned me down are now out of business. "No," was the best thing that ever happened to my career. That said, I have a team that helps me. Lloyd Maines is a business partner that helps make decisions. He also tours with me and helps me in the studio. It's a team effort here.

Describe your gear.

"Boss Tuner Baggs Preamp Volume Peddle Boss Chorus Peddle Special 20 Harps I collect vintage harmonicas from Germany (too many to count) Collings Guitar OM Tacoma Papoose Tacoma Mandolin Baritone Mandolin Tradition Electric Guitar Gibson Dreadnought Guitar Takamine 6 and 12 string Keyboard Sure Beta 57 and 58

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Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

Yes, I do. I think that as a woman, you can get away with far less on that stage as well as on a recording. I've seen and heard men that do not sing very well, and yet they do quite well here in Texas. It's all attitude. But for women, you have to be at this higher level. And even women that flat kill it on their instruments, are not written up for their prowess. A good example of this, would be the Dixie Chicks. That said, the new wave of women coming out of Texas are amazing. Look at Sarah Jaroz. When a level is set high, you must reach for it. This makes you a better musician. And yes, there was a moment that made a difference clear for me. Many years ago, I determined that I was going to not only play, but perform on the same stages as men and at the same level. I don't see race or genre. If folks who book me do, I can not help them. That's out of my control. To this day, there are a few women who book music in Texas that get on my nerves. We need more forward thinking women in the industry who are talent buyers who will book based on musicianship and not on gender. What is in my control is to lift up other women, and encourage them to play an instrument and not just sing. Dress for the stage but sell your art and not your gender and you will have a long career.

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

I do. This "gender" thing will die off. As I write this to you, it is. The new generation is fearless. They are also fantastic. They keep me on my toes for sure. They will have my job if I don't practice. They seem to embrace musicianship. They seem more eager to learn to play. Let me add that women my age are coming back into the fold too. They are picking back up their instruments. I teach workshops. Attendance has more than doubled for women. Ten years ago, this was not the case.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

Yes, the most valuable advice I ever received was be aware that you are a woman. Dress for the job. Watch your pants when you bend over. Watch your pants when you sit down. Watch your shirt when you bend over. Watch your skirt if you have to sit on a stool. This stuff might sound stupid, but it's important. Play your instrument. Never quit practicing. Tolerate nothing less than respect. Give others nothing less than respect. Don't cuss on stage. Don't gossip. Never talk trash about another woman. Buy as much music as you can ... both men and women. Own your own universe. All of these things were told to me by a female guitarist named Marion Williamson who passed away in 1997.

Related Themes: Onstage Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

Mainly what was going to go over live. When I started playing, I was playing solo in redneck dancehalls. So, country blues like Mississippi John Hurt went over well. That was suited for acoustic guitar. Then, I fell for Sonny Terry and that brought on the harmonica. I like to shake it up live, so the different instruments add color to a show.

Related Themes: The First Time