Phil Henry
Phil Henry
Phil Henry is that rare contemporary folk artist who will impress you from every direction. There’s his sweet and strong voice, that intricate and flawless guitar work, and songs so rich and sweeping you’ll wish you wrote them yourself.

But he’s also got an authenticity that can’t be taught or bought. He’s an old-school storyteller who builds songs from a place of honesty, without crossing over into the T.M.I. of confessional songwriting.

He’s been honored by the top tastemakers in contemporary folk. He’s played the big stages – Kerrville, Falcon Ridge – and won top prize at SolarFest and the Susquehanna Arts and Music Festival.

“It’s no surprise that Phil is finding his way onto the best folk stages.” – Sarah Craig, Caffe Lena

“Thanks to years of formal training, his arrangements and melodies are works of real craftsmanship,” said Sarah Craig, director at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., one of the top folk clubs in the nation. “Combine that with his playful and compassionate nature, and it’s no surprise that Phil is finding his way onto the best folk stages.”

Henry builds a connection, gently shaking an audience out of their own heads and into the vivid world he creates. He’s that rare breed of egoless musician who truly believes in the communal experience between performer and audience.

He crafts characters with real motives, puts them in situations and makes you care enough about them to want to hear how their story ends. Henry is a builder, in every sense of the word. He doesn’t just make songs; he builds stringed instruments by hand. He builds albums, too, as a producer with a keen sense for what makes great ear candy. And he doesn’t just make music; he teaches it, conducting a high-school chorus in the snow-covered mountains of central Vermon

A product of Saranac Lake, N.Y., and graduate of SUNY Potsdam, Henry says he was inspired to perform after seeing a Martin Sexton show in the late 1990’s. “That was it,” Henry says. “I started writing, and started working on making my voice and guitar sound like THAT.”

Of course, during his own journey, Henry built his own unique voice, borrowing from the traditions of Richard Shindell, Peter Mulvey and Paul Simon, even finding inspiration in the books of Kurt Vonnegut and the movies of the Coen Brothers. But there’s no one quite like this quiet Vermonter whose powerful voice speaks for itself.

Aaron Nathans THE “BAND”: