Wayne Henderson and Helen White will be gracing West Jefferson with an appearance Friday for this week’s edition of the Backstreet Concert Series.
Wayne Henderson is a renowned finger-style mountain music guitar player from Grayson County, Va.
The sounds of his guitar have been heard at Carnegie Hall and on three national tours of “Masters of the Steel-String Guitar.” Henderson has also played abroad, in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Henderson is also a well-regarded craftsman. He creates around 20 instruments (mostly guitars) every year, for which there is a long waiting list. Blues guitarist John Cephas said that Wayne Henderson “is probably the most masterful guitar maker in this whole United States.” A book was written about the guitar he built for Eric Clapton.
White will be accompanying Henderson on stage this Friday. Along with being an award-winning singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer, she is also the founder and regional coordinator of the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program.
The program was founded when White, who was an elementary school counselor in Alleghany County, convinced the music teacher to let her bring some instruments for the students to see. Each student played their instrument of choice for 30 seconds.
Impressed by the ability of one student, she conceived the idea for the JAM program. Out of this humble beginning, there are now 22 programs spread across three states that serve more than 900 students.
JAM students had the opportunity to play at last Friday’s Backstreet concert with the Crooked Road Ramblers, but they will not be joining Henderson and White this week.
Both Henderson and White are frequent instructors at traditional music camps across the country.
This concert will be held in West Jefferson’s Backstreet Park behind the old West Jefferson hotel from 5:30 until 7 p.m. and is free for all those who wish to attend. In the event of rain, concerts are moved to the Ashe Arts Center in West Jefferson.