Singer and instrumentalist, Pete Henry will play his first ever gig in Savannah, April 16, at Jazz’d Tapas Bar from 7:30 – 11 p.m. Connect Savannah caught up with him on tour to discuss his Savannah debut.
Connect Savannah: Where were you based for the pandemic? How did you focus your time and energy throughout 2020?
Pete Henry: I was on tour early in 2020 as things were escalating, there was a lot of chatter about this new virus everywhere I was going. As mid-March rolled around, I managed to fit in my last show for that tour in mid-state Washington. I remember waking up the next day to news of shutdowns, so I just headed straight for Southern Wisconsin which is where I hang my hat now and where I was based for much of the pandemic, at least the initial stages. Everything seemed to be happening so fast, as all of my future bookings and contracts were falling out from underneath me, I started to focus my energy on things other than music. I got back into construction, home improvement, and found some work at a local distillery that was faring the pandemic by switching over from beverages to hand sanitizer. I built a treehouse in the back of my dad’s property that I’m pretty proud of, and even tried my hand at learning how to do some computer programming. I got back into mountain biking, focused on my fitness, and took an awesome road trip around The Great Lakes. By that time, September came around and I just couldn’t help myself, as I knew I wanted to keep performing. I ultimately began planning a tour to head south for the winter where I would end up in Austin, Texas, and figured I’d go from there.
CS: What does it feel like to be on the road and playing live again?
PH: To me, being on the road and getting to see all these places, meet new people and share music with new souls is something that makes me happier than anything else, I find. It’s still slow going, as there are a lot of venues still sitting out while we all navigate how to do this safely and respectfully. But in a lot of ways, it feels just like it used to and it’s great. I’m not shy about playing to perhaps smaller audiences, I know that we’re still in a precarious situation. My dad likes to say, “There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, and let’s just hope it’s not a train.”
DJ: What does the 2021 tour season look like for you?
PH: This tour season looks like a lot of new venues, though some familiar. I’ll head through Georgia, make my way back to the Midwest, take a little time off to pay attention to some maintenance on the truck and some of my gear, and then head around the Great Lakes again, this time to do shows. I also got some great things lined up in California right near the town I was raised, then the Pacific Northwest and back to Wisconsin where I’m looking forward to hanging out at a music festival. All the while doing shows and getting to see friends, family and fans. It looks busy, and I’m super stoked.
DJ: In the wake of this cultural paradigm shift that we are all experiencing, do you notice a difference in your approach to making music?
PH: I’ve always been a fan of just trying to keep things light especially when I’m performing for people. To me, this shift is another subject that hopefully we can laugh about. I know it’s very serious and not everyone is going to see humor in it. But we’re all just treading lightly right now, aren’t we? What is peculiar to me is how often I’m faced with references of it in my songs or other people’s songs, such as wearing masks and things like that. Pre-pandemic, it’s almost like we saw this coming.
DJ: There’s something magical to me about the vibrations created by harmonicas and acoustic guitars. As someone who has a deep relationship with these two instruments, where do you think that comes from?
PH: It is an instrumentation that resonates quite literally with people. I mean, it can be explained quasi-scientifically, that is through sympathetic vibrations and complementary sets of pitches. Also, the two instruments are good examples of harp effects and overtones, and when put together, the sound can really fill a room. Furthermore, on an emotional level, it’s a very nostalgic sort of sound that captivates people.
DJ: Looking forward to your show in Savannah, what are you most excited about?
PH: I’ve always been amazed at how kind and generous and hospitable people can be from the South. So, getting to experience that again, along with sharing some new music ideas in a city with such an incredible history are the things I’m looking forward to the most.
For information on the show, visit petehenrymusic.com/tour or