The overall-wearing girl with the two-dollar shoes from San Marcos, Texas, is still creating top-notch music that defies categorization. Hendrix specializes in upbeat rock-country-pop-roots-blues music. Her sixth album, The Ring, on her own label, Wilory Records, is her most mature album to date, but continues in the spirit of lively music and sing-along melodies that will not leave your head.
Like all her previous CDs, The Ring is coproduced by Lloyd Maines and features long-time bandmates Glenn Fukunaga on bass, Paul Pearcy on drums, and Maines on a multitude of stringed instruments. Other performers include John Mills on saxaphone, Riley Osbourn on keyboards, Adam Odor on accordian, and Marcus Hummon on madolin and accordian.
The album opens with Hendrix's driving mandolin riff to Goodbye Charlie Brown, a song about facing the end of her youth, but, like Charlie Brown, relentlessly tries to kick that ball. The song was inspired by the death of Charles Schulz. It's a strong start to the album and presages the quality of the CD to come later.
Spinning Off is a mellow rocker about trying to control her temper. Hendrix's fans will recognize I Found the Lions, as the guitar riff is similar to that of Invisible Girl off her 2000 album Places in Between. Truth is Strange is a compelling yearning to being truthful, despite the temptation to present a false persona.
Consider Me is an upbeat, mandolin-driven song with Sara Hickman singing background vocals.
The most different-sounding song on The Ring is From Another Planet — part rockabilly, part scat-jazz. Hendrix explains the origin of this song: "A woman at a show asked me to sign a CD to her friend Janet 'from another planet.' That started the ball rolling, and as ideas came to me, I'd call Lloyd Maines and leave him bits and pieces of the lyric on his cell phone. He'd edit me, and it wouldn't be long before I'd be calling again with the next idea. It took about a month of cell phone messages to finish this song."
The title track represents Hendrix's most personal story-song to date. When her parents would argue, her dad would go outside and craft a ring out of a 1955 half-dollar coin. It took years for him to complete, and, only after he presented it to Hendrix's mother, did the family understand what he did when he walked away from the fight. The song celebrates that ring that held the family together.
The album closes with the acoustic Prayer for My Friends, written by Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle. Akin to Hendrix's cover of Bill Malonee and Julie Miller's Last Song on 1998's Wilory Farm, the song makes for a wonderful closing tune to this exceptional album.
If you have not heard of Terri Hendrix before and are a fan of Eddie from Ohio or the Nields, this CD will not disappoint. If you're already a fan, this CD keeps up the excellent recorded output from this unique and fun singer-songwriter.
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