Over the years, I have heard the energetic and talented musician Terri Hendrix perform. Sadly, the last time I caught her concert was more than 10 years ago at a South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas. She was performing with Lloyd Maines (legendary producer/Austin City Limits Hall of Famer) on a small stage in front of a crowd of people. Hendrix and Maines were both singing and playing artfully, as they performed and picked away with great verve. The audience seemed enthusiastic as they swayed and clapped to the upbeat music being played.  

Hendrix has been performing for 31 years and has released nearly 20 records to date according to her website. And all albums have been cut on her own Wilory Records label, as she garnered three generations of fans from coast to coast and overseas, running workshops from the Texas Gulf Coast to the Berklee College of Music. As a musician Hendrix has earned a Grammy for the The Chicks’ (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks) song “Lil’ Jack Slade” in 2002. And eager for new paths, Hendrix founded a flourishing 501(c)(3) non-profit music community center, the OYOU (which stands for "Own Your Own Universe"). Hendrix has done this with a can-do smile and seemingly indomitable spirit while simultaneously waging a lifelong battle to control epilepsy. 

“My work doesn’t have a genre,” Hendrix  acknowledged. “It has a mission, and that mission is resilience, rebounding and courage.”

But, given more room to roam than ever across the sprawl of Project 5, she approached each “chapter” as a means to examine the central themes from a distinctly different musical and emotional angle. Hendrix is releasing a new album, “Pilgrim’s Progress Project 5.5,” which features an artful collection of cover songs, and in this interview she talks about the new release and her love of life. 

Ithaca Times: Your last two releases (“Talk to Human,” and “Who is Ann?”) came out in 2019, but what is different about this new record?

Terri Hendrix: The past two records seem like a lifetime ago. A global pandemic hit. Like other artists, I had to pivot. While I was recording the last two albums, I had vocal trouble. I felt a tightness in my vocal folds. But I didn’t know why. The last two albums are part of Project 5. It’s a thematically linked series that crosses genre lines. But the subject of the song is thematically linked. “Pilgrim’s Progress” is different in the fact that I’ve never done an album of cover material. Project 5.5 was supposed to be a book. It’s not. It’s an album of country and alt-country covers. I can’t complete the book right now, because it’s still being written. Please see terrihendrix.com for information as to why.

IT: Producing a new record now is hard, but how did you come to sing and select the many thoughtful songs from it? (Such as “Wildflowers.”)

TH: It’s an album of cover songs. I’ve always loved “Wildflowers” by Dolly Parton. That was released on a record with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. It was a trio album. I feel that song to my core. I’ve never fit into our industry. I’m not folk. I’m not country. I hope I’m a wildflower. And if so, I hope folks see it as a genre.

IT: You have worked with Lloyd Maines on many of your past CD releases, but what is it like to create and perform with him in the recording studio for this current record?

TH: I’m an independent artist. I’m lucky to have a grassroots following. It has always been business. Even though we’re now “family,” it’s still business. This latest record is all business. That is the key. However, if the profit margin dips too low, we will no longer be business partners. We have had wonderful success. But going forward, we won’t tour like we once did. My health will prevent this. To see why, it’s on my homepage at terrihendrix.com

IT: What are your hopes for the rest of the year?

TH: It’s not “spending time.” It’s “living time.”

For more information on her next online performance go to Live From Wilory Farm - Terri Hendrix: Human.

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