Pop Music Plans for Classical Guitarist

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Eric Henderson Photo by Mitch Ridder

Eric Henderson
Photo by Mitch Ridder

For the first time in years, classical guitarist and Laguna Beach native Eric Henderson will be playing an electric guitar with a quartet, including a former drummer for world-renowned musician Sting. The concert will take place at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28, in Bridge Hall at Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Drive.

Under the classical music label Deutsche Gramophone, Henderson is trying his hand with a quartet to test his ability to attract a broader audience to his seemingly effortless yet difficult and passionate arrangements and compositions. He will also play an amplified Spanish guitar.

“I realized that for so many years I was attempting to get the results of sustained notes and phrasing that only an electric guitar could accomplish,” said Henderson. “We decided to record the album ‘Turned Up,’ which would consist of a classical guitar repertoire recorded exclusively on an electric guitar.” Henderson will play new tunes from his most recent album at the Saturday concert.

Henderson plays a highly technical and crowd-pleasing version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Painted Black,” the Chantays’ “Pipeline” and Steve Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” that have attracted a loyal following for years. Henderson will also play his popular original composition “Flamenco Surf.” “Crowds used to line up around the Marine Room to hear me play 10 years ago,” said Henderson.

Henderson describes his original instrumentals in the style of Gypsy Kings, flamenco, rumba and pop combined with Latin funk. The quartet includes Richie Garcia, percussion, Alan Deremo, bass, and Rob Whitlock, keyboards. Garcia played for Sting, Phil Collins and Elvis Costello, among other major rock groups.

Henderson was stricken with necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria in his right arm more than 10 years ago and was in a coma for nine days. When he awoke, he said his first request was for his guitar to see if he could still play. During his recovery, he learned how to rely more on his left-hand strumming the strings on the neck of the guitar and developed a unique and complicated style of playing. He also arranges and composes his own classical music. Henderson was trained by Andres Segovia in Spain when he was 13 years old.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at EricHendersonGuitar.com or by calling 800-838-3006. Seats are limited and advance purchase is recommended. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Jumpstart program to assist children who need help preparing to start school.

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