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The Art of Removing Wallpaper

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Album Review

Texas songwriter Terri Hendrix's fourth studio album, and fifth overall, is a stellar collection of folk and rock tunes that are lined with rootsy country; it delivers in full the promise she displayed on 2000's Places in Between. This is a collection of songs that deal with varying stages of transformation, and not in any new age sense of the word, either. First, there's awareness displayed in two different ways on the poignant "Breakdown," and the manifesto "Enjoy the Ride." The former is naked confessionalism: a beautifully fingerpicked acoustic guitar introduces the tough truth in this song before co-producer and business partner Lloyd Maines' steel glides into the body of it, buoying up Hendrix's protagonist. There is surrender in her honesty and therefore the door of possibility for other things is opened. The latter cut, with its shuffling harmonica and hand drums, is a statement for change via a dissatisfaction with the way things are: "Just getting by or just getting through/Don't cut it for me anymore/I'm ready to enjoy the ride, from deep inside/I want to know, what I'm here for." Elsewhere, on "One Way," Hendrix comments with brutal honesty on the brokenness of a love that would be perfect if its object were capable of receiving it: "You open my heart and you swim inside me/You open my soul and your blood runs through me/You're too wrapped up inside yourself to see/How it hurts me...I give up...." Sometimes transformation in political, cultural, and environmental spheres is negative, as in the rollicking acoustic country and gospel screed "Monopoly." Her version of LL Cool J's "I Need Love," is unique. Inside the grain of Hendrix's delivery lies an innocent heart. This is not a mere romantic platitude, it is a statement of truth; here the wish for physical pleasure gives way to the inner need for intimacy; for a love vulnerable and true enough to express itself nakedly. The album closes with the struggle of loneliness and the acceptance of a life that is true to itself yet forgoes many comforts. The last track, "Hey Now," expresses itself with stomping bluegrass righteousness, and proclaims the other side of that in the refrain: "Hey now/I think it's gonna be alright/Hey now, I believe." So simple, so strident, so gorgeously tough and impure; all that's left once the record ends is the realization that Hendrix has artfully laid bare that which was once hidden by life's wallpaper; it is a tabula rasa that can be adorned but never covered over.


Born: San Antonio, TX

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Singer/songwriter Terri Hendrix was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. She left home to attend Hardin-Simmons University in Abelene on vocal scholarship before transferring to Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, where she continues to reside. While there she came under the influence of a local philanthropist, Marion Williamson, who owned a property in Hye, TX called Wilory Farm. In exchange for working on the farm, Hendrix received voice and guitar lessons from Williamson and developed...
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The Art of Removing Wallpaper, Terri Hendrix
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