“I’m outside the inbox / I dance on my stopwatch / I’ve got tattoos and dreadlocks / In another universe” – Slow Down
May 27, 2010
Week 38: Terri Hendrix - Cry Till You Laugh
(This is week 38 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project)
Cry Till You Laugh
Since 1996 Terri Hendrix has been releasing independent music via her own label Wilory Records. I’ve been a fan about that long as well. She’s got a way to get you to lose yourself in her music, smile, reflect, and feel good. A few times a year my wife and I try catch one of her shows to recharge our batteries and rediscover our love for music and fellow man. That may be stretching it a bit but it’s pretty close to the truth. So, when Hendrix’s new album, Cry Till You Laugh (CTYL) hit my hands, I was understandably excited.
Those who have been “lifers” to Terri’s sound are going to be very pleased with this recording (which will be released June 22, 2010). It showcases both where she’s been and where she is currently in her musical career. Hendrix is a folk singer with a jazz influence who writes and records on her own terms.
The music on CTYL is stellar, with a great mixture of horns, mandolin, piano, and strings. Joining the core band of Hendrix, Lloyd Maines (who also produced this release), and Glenn Fukunaga are an impressive gang of guest players that include Stanley Smith, Drew Womack, Richard Bowden, John Mills, Riley Osbourn, Mark Gonzalez, John Silva Pat Manske, and others. It’s the most “full” I’ve ever heard a Terri Hendrix album, and the music elevates the lyrics.
The album kicks off with the harmonica-driven “Wail Theory” where she combines two poems by Dorothy Parker into a stunning two-minute ditty. Her stop-and-smell-the-roses track “Slow Down” follows. An uppity blues track called “Hand Me Down Blues” is a great edition. As is the wonderful word-play of “Berlin Wall.” The harmony vocals of Womack are fantastic on the road-warrior track “Roll On.”
A restructured version of “Take Me Places,” an Ike Eichenberg cover, is an early live staple that originally appeared on her 1999 release Terri Hendrix Live. It really gives you a taste of the past, while another Eichenberg song “You Belong In New Orleans” is a fantastic jazzy new edition to her repertoire.
The best thing about being an independent musician is you don’t have to have a “single” for radio, but if I had to choose one, the beautiful ballad “1000 Times” would be my pick. “If you could see inside my soul / you’d find your name in stone. The world may take you far away / but you are not alone.”
But, as far as favorites on the album, I’ve got to say “Hula Mary” does it for me. It’s reminiscent of Places In Between’s “Goodtime Van.” It’s the track about Celebrating and embracing those who make life interesting. It also encompasses the fun and original lyrics that make Hendrix’s music such a treat album after album. “Hula Mary / She got nothin’ to hide / She’s tie-dyed on the inside.” Plus, Hula Mary is a real person. Check this out. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjmyOn_E4RY
While I didn’t get a chance to see it yet, Hendrix has also created a memoir/book to accompany the album. It’s a gathering of essays about the business of music, her plights with health issues, family, stories of being on the road and ultimately about finding a purpose in life. I’m guessing the book will be as uplifting as her catalog of music.
Terri Hendrix’s recordings are among the most cherished in my personal collection, and this one is a wonderful addition. And I’ve got to say, some of her older albums I wasn’t thrilled with upon first listen, but they grew on me and became favorites. This one was instantly great to me. Pick it up, you’ll agree.
This Sunday May 29, Terri Hendrix will open for the Indigo Girls at La Zona Rosa and next Saturday she is going to be inducted into the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi. As luck has it, my wife and I will be there. Learn more about Terri Hendrix at http://www.terrihendrix.com.