Diggin’: Henderson Brothers’ “Wayfaring Stranger”

inNewson February 28, 2013

HendersonListen: Wayfaring Stranger

Brothers have long played together throughout bluegrass and country history—from Bill and Charlie Monroe to Ira and Charlie Louvin to Carter and Ralph Stanley. The Henderson Brothers are no exception. Wayne and Max, who were born in Grayson County, Virginia, grew up playing music together. It’s easy to see their brotherly bond translate into their 1995 recording with Music Maker. Aaron, our Artist Services Coordinator, says that it almost sounds like the brothers are harmonizing—but with their guitars rather than their voices.

One song that Wayne and Max recorded one March day years ago is “Wayfaring Stranger.” The track is a staple in spiritual, folk and bluegrass music, and the first version I ever heard was by Johnny Cash from his American III: Solitary Man album. Like when I heard Johnny Cash’s version, Wayne and Max’s rendition has stayed with me. It is amazing how the song’s sorrowful image—of a man roaming the earth and on the journey towards the other side of death— is still communicated, but through the mood the instruments create in the absence of vocals (theirs is an instrumental version).

So take a listen and keep your eye out for more music to come from Wayne and Max Henderson. You won’t be disappointed.

— Margot

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