PLATTSBURGH - Gary Henry has been playing guitar and singing for some time now.
"I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't obsessed with some type of music," said Henry.
As a child, Henry performed as a vocalist in plays and operas in Ohio and Pennsylvania. During his high school years, he moved away from musicals and started trying to play the music he was listening to on the radio. Nirvana's album "Nevermind," which was released when he was a freshman in high school, was "a big influence" on him, said Henry, with groups like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Who, and Led Zeppelin being among others.
Henry began performing in coffee shops and bars as a soloist during his undergraduate years at Kent State University and, since that time, he's continued to play solo, as well as in duos, trios, and quartets at festivals, clubs and private parties. Henry originally began playing rock and folk music from the 1960s through the 1990s. It was about six years ago when, after moving to Dallas, Tx., Henry shifted his focus to playing rockabilly, honky tonk, and traditional country music from the 1940s through 1960s. "The music of The Beatles is still a large part of my solo shows," said Henry. " Today, my solo shows in Plattsburgh are mostly rock and folk, but I'd like to get back into roots music again."
Last spring, Henry started playing the Plattsburgh music scene after being in the North Country less than a year. He began being booked at the Naked Turtle, Dana's Rusty Anchor, and Irises Caf and Wine Bar in Plattsburgh and at Cricket's Restaurant in Peru. Wherever he goes, Henry said people have been receptive to his shows.
"I've enjoyed meeting new folks every time I play out," said Henry. "The crowds up here know and appreciate good rock music, so I've enjoyed interacting with crowds and finding out what they're into."
Performing primarily cover music, Henry said he puts a great deal of effort into interpreting songs consistent with the original recordings of other artists.
"It is an approach that has served me well over the years, as my vocal range is fairly wide and malleable," he said.
Though Henry's focus is on cover music, he has been writing his own music for as long as he's been playing, with the idea of recording his own album sometime in the near future.
"Right now, I'm focused on raising my musical profile locally, and the crowd at Irises is a great place to start," said Henry.
(Editor's Note: Gary Henry performs regularly at Irises, with his next show slated for 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2.)