Chris Henderson – That’s the Way of the World
Independently Released – 2021
Seven tracks; 33 minutes
Chris Henderson was born and raised in Chicago and was exposed from an early age to both the blues and gospel legends. He reportedly has been singing since the age of three. Henderson’s debut release is independently released, although produced and engineered by Jerry Parker and Slavic Livins. Michael Damni and Roy Hightower played guitar for this release, and Jimmy Tilman contributed drums. The release reflects Henderson’s varied influences and begins with a socially-relevant number entitled “It Don’t Make No Sense,” which questions such things as “why people are walking around with nothing to eat—someone tell me what we’re doing wrong.”
The title track is featured next, captures the great atmosphere of a live recording, and has a warm gospel feel to it. Next are two R&B tracks that appear influenced by Anthony Hamilton’s style, including one song about a very positive relationship, which notes, “you tell me that I’m worthy, you make me feel like a man.” The syncopation in that song is very intriguing, although not bluesy.
Henderson next pays homage to Billie Holiday with “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”. Although many artists have covered this song, Henderson has found a way to make it new and interesting. Like all good blues albums, this one contains a song about a relationship gone bad, with the bluntly named “You Ain’t No Good.” In that song he describes a man finding out his girlfriend is cheating on him. “I found out later it was my friend. It took some time for me to comprehend my love for you. I’m not gonna do it—now I’m gone.”
The record ends with one of the best tracks, a soothing slow blues entitled “I Got the Blues” and confirms that Henderson has the blues “down to my bones”.
Overall, “That’s the Way of the World” is an enjoyable debut which should earn Henderson many additional fans although the recording has significantly varying recording levels between the tracks. And, like any album with varied influences, blues purists are likely to wonder about the inclusion of the two R&B tracks.
However, Henderson’s powerful and emotional delivery of the vocals is consistent throughout the album, and listeners are likely to find it to be quite captivating.