Somewhere between the rhymthic yodeling of “The Singing Brakeman”, Jimmie Rodgers and the flavorful grooves of ragtime guitarist/singer, Blind Blake lies the roots of Jim Henman’s musical beginnings. Writing his first tune, at age 12, Jim spent much of his youth strumming a Stella acoustic guitar on the sandy shores of Clam Harbour, Nova Scotia. By the mid-60s, Jim, with high school friends Myles Goodwyn, Greg Stephen, Dave Dodsworth & Doug Grace started the top 40 band, “Woodies Termites”. Jim and Myles went on to co-found the Canadian rock band, April Wine, in the fall of 1969 with Jim’s cousins, David and Ritchie Henman . Jim , David,and Ritchie ,along with George Mack , had formed the band Prism from late 1968 until summer 1969 . April Wine moved to Montréal in 1970, signing with Aquarius Records.
Shortly after the release of their debut album in 1971, Jim decided to leave the band, moving back to the East Coast to start a family and pursue a career in Medical Technology. While his career as a professional musician may have been put on hiatus, Jim remained connected to the musical community in Halifax, continuing to write music and performing locally.
Jim officially re-emerged onto the East Coast music scene in the 90s, co-writing and co-producing the album,” More Than My Share” for Cape Breton singer, Jeannie Beks. He also co-wrote the music for “Death the Musical”, a stage production performed both at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre and in French, at Théâtre Génération in Montréal. This musical score was later released on CD. In addition to writing and producing, Jim also began performing in songwriters’ circles throughout Nova Scotia, alongside artists such as Terry Kelly, Laura Smith and Cheryl Gaudet.
Despite the mainstream success of April Wine, Jim’s contribution to the band can hardly be deemed his greatest musical accomplishment. Over the passed thirty years, Jim has dedicated his passion, enthusiasm and expertise to numerous projects, much of which hold special meaning in his life. One such project, “Night to Remember”, was a musical event (held annually for four years) that Jim co-produced along with Halifax entrepreneur Joe Graves , in support of recovery homes for men and women in Halifax.
In keeping a promise to his late friend, Canadian blues artist, Rick Jeffery, Jim completed and produced Rick’s final album, 13 Vultures in 2009. The CD/DVD was released at the Dutch Mason Blues Festival in July 2009 with a twenty member tribute band who performed select tracks from the album. The tribute band included various artists from the Maritime Blues scene, including, Joe Murphy, Thersea Melenfant, Pam Marsh, Wayne Nicholson, Carter Chaplin, A. Jardine, Charlie Phillips, Mike Legget, and Shirley Jackson.
Currently, Jim is performing acoustically, and alongside Mike Trask, a local singer/songwriter whom Jim has been mentoring for the pass five years. Jim is planning to travel to Crowley, Louisana in early 2010 to record his first solo album, one that will return him to his Rag/Blues acoustic roots. His music career has most certainly come full circle.
In 2009 Jim was installed along with April Wine in to the Canadian Music Industry Hall Of Fame and in April 2010, Jim had the great honour of receiving a Juno award, commemorating April Wine’s induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Indeed, this is the ultimate achievement for any musician.
For Jim, this award has been somewhat bittersweet; prompting sentiments of accomplishment and nostalgia . Yet, in many ways, this award has also provided a sense of closure on this chapter of his musical career, while providing the ideal momentum for propelling him into new directions and establishing new beginnings as a solo artist.