The music world lost an icon on Friday, September 22, 2023, when Mike Henderson, the 69-year-old American singer-songwriter, passed away. Henderson was the founder of the SteelDriver, and his work has graced the country music scene for many years. He left behind a legacy that is unmatched, and it is only fitting that we take a moment to remember this legend.
Who was Mike Henderson?
Henderson’s contributions to country music were nothing short of extraordinary. In 1981, he was a member of the blues band the Bel Airs when the band initially joined together. In 1984, they released an album under the name Need Me a Car on the label Blind Pig Records. A few years later, he left the band and moved to Nashville to pursue his passion for music. In Nashville, he joined The Roosters, a roots rock band and, also a side project known as The Kingsnakes. Beginning in July of 1986, The Kingsnakes began making appearances at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville on a consistent basis. Following their signing with Curb Records, the band changed their name to simply “The Snakes.” A record titled The Snakes was issued by Curb in the year 1989.
In addition to being a musician, Henderson was also an accomplished songwriter, and his songs have been covered by some of the biggest names in the music industry. The song “Powerful Stuff” was written by Henderson for The Snakes, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds recorded it in 1988 for the movie’s soundtrack. His other works were covered by the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Gary Allan, and Patty Loveless, to name just a few. In the years that followed, Henderson became a member of the writing staff of EMI.
Mike Henderson was known for his outstanding slide guitar skills, and he was able to find work in Music City thanks to his abilities. He was part of the SteelDriver band, which he founded in 2005 and produced the band’s first two records, The SteelDrivers (2008) and Reckless (2010). As a member of the SteelDriver, Henderson’s genre-bending style allowed him to create something fresh and exciting in the country genre.
Back in ‘87 – ‘88 me and my band mates started hanging out in Nashville and our minds were BLOWN by the incredible artists that we saw that were not in the “Country” genre .
None more than Mike Henderson. He was in The Kingsnakes at the time – but he held court at The Bluebird on Monday nights for 40 years.
Mike and I eventually became friends- I feel SO incredibly lucky that my musical hero could also be my friend.
THEN – I got invited to the Wednesday night Snooker Club . (It took me a year to get the guts to actually go )
THEN – I actually got to play with him in his band a few times.
Mikes death has hit the Nashville music community like a F&@“king freight train . Completely unexpected. I’m devastated
How Did Mike Henderson Die? Know more about his cause of death ?
Henderson’s passing is a great loss to the community of musicians and fans who appreciated his work throughout the years. Even though Mike Henderson’s cause of death is yet to be disclosed, his music will undoubtedly live on in the hearts of country music lovers for years to come. He left an indelible mark on the music world, and his contributions will be remembered forever.
Rest in Peace Mike Henderson. Although I was not a close friend of Mike’s, just a fan, I took pride when he gave me a warm hello and how ya doin’ at The Bluebird Cafe. When I said to him that he seemed to be taking the “Starting Over” success in stride (being at his standing Monday gig the next night after CMA recognition) – Mike took a shot, smiled and replied “I’ve been doin this a long time.” I’ll miss seeing you playing on Mondays and the world will miss out on the songs yet to be penned by this master musician and songwriter. Thank you for bringing Michael Rhodes Garry Tallent Kevin McKendree Pat O’Conner to the BB😢💙
Stunned at the moment. Just heard the sad, sad news my old pal Mike Henderson has passed away.
I spent many late nights with Mike…listening to him play his unigue style of blues guitar, writing songs late into the evening (we never started before 9:00) and just hanging and shooting the shit.
He’ll will be missed by his friends, family and the Nashville music community.
Rest easy Buzzard….
Mike Henderson Obituary
Mike Henderson was truly a remarkable musician and songwriter, and his contributions to country music cannot be overstated. He spent his life dedicated to creating art that was innovative, fresh, and exciting. Henderson’s passing is undoubtedly a great loss, but his legacy will live on through his music. Our thoughts go out to his friends, family, and many fans during this difficult time. Rest in peace, music legend.
A Lonesome Goodbye…..
I remember the call from Mike Henderson when he just casually asked if I wanted to get together at his place on a Sunday night around 8:00 and play a little bluegrass. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he had been writing for several years with a young man named Chris Stapleton and had the idea for a group that would maybe play once a month down at the Station Inn. When I arrived that Sunday evening, I met Chris, Mike Fleming, and I had known Richard Bailey since I was a teenage. What started as a casual jam changed the course of my life. I can’t begin to explain and share all the craziness and great times we all had together but I will say as I always have, it was all Hendo’s fault! So all the SteelDrivers, past and present, are in shock today as we have lost our original architect…..we send our heartfelt condolences to Janet, Lauren, and Shannon. Hendo, we will see you again where rainbows never die ❤️