Since the seventh grade, Amy Henderson has been strumming on her baritone ukulele or a guitar and perfecting humming on a harmonica.
Today, the Gainesville native and Gainesville High graduate lives in Richmond, Va., and will return home for a benefit concert Friday at The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega.
The night of acoustic music will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day walk in Atlanta.
"We have to raise $2,300 total a person, which is kind of daunting. So I've got about $800 now, so I'm hoping to make up that difference," Henderson said.
Henderson has sung along to her stringed instruments for more than 20 years and said she loves performing because "it is so cathartic to be able to get up and play what you are feeling."
We recently caught up with Henderson to talk about her return to Northeast Georgia, the Susan G. Komen benefit and where the inspiration comes from for her brand of acoustic music.
Question: Where did the inspiration come from for a benefit show for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk?
Answer: My mom (Helen Henderson) talked me and my brother (David Henderson) into the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk, and they do different cities. So she convinced us to do it, so you end up walking 20 miles for three days in a row. She had wanted to do this for a long time and it happens to fall on her birthday weekend this year. ... What a great cause, and I think everybody has been affected by breast cancer.
Q: You opened years ago for Shawn Mullins and your brother in Dahlonega. What was that experience like?
A: I think it was in 1993 ... My brother David was the bass player for Shawn, and they used to practice in our basement. I mean up here (in Virginia), everyone has their Dave Matthews story because Dave Matthews is a big Virginia guy. And down there we always have our Shawn Mullins or Indigo Girls story. It just makes you feel like you are a part of it, a part of something bigger. It is a neat feeling to see someone start from the ground up.
Q: The first instrument you learned to play was the baritone ukulele. Who taught you how to play that unique instrument?
A: My dad had bought it and we always had instruments around the house. We had a piano and my older brother played guitar, and I started playing that because the guitar kills your fingers when you are first starting and a baritone ukulele has plastic strings, so it is a lot easier on a seventh-grader's fingers. I would take it to camp and learn camp songs on it.
Q: How would you describe your style of music for folks who haven't heard you?
A: That's always a tough question. It is hard to put it in one box. I'd say acoustic alternative.
Q: Where or from whom do you get the inspiration for your music?
A: Generally personal events, you know, things that happen to you. I've found lately, because I have written enough about going through break-ups or you go through this and you write about that. But then after a while you get pretty stable and you don't have that to draw from anymore ... I work at Virginia Commonwealth University and there are a lot of things around here that inspire me, like graffiti on the wall or focusing more on other people's situations more so than my own.