By Karen Kennedy
Not every local musician can say that they just got back from a European tour. Of course, local musician Doug Henthorn is far too modest to say it, even though that’s exactly what he just did. Which is why his wife Kelly has to tell people about it.
“I didn’t even know she sent out that email,” he responded when contacted for an interview. His laid-back demeanor suggests that it wasn’t really a big deal; just all in a day’s work. But it’s not every day that a Carmel musician is hand-picked to play in Europe with blues and rock legend Joe Bonamassa.
Henthorn took the stage in London, Luxembourg and Amsterdam and played four sold-out shows with Bonamassa, along with renowned musicians Lenny Castro and Anton Fig (who plays in David Letterman’s band.) He sang lead vocals on the Led Zeppelin song “Tea for One,” and did back-up vocals on other songs throughout the show. The tour culminated at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which was a surreal experience for Henthorn.
“All of my idols have played that stage: Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Cream– to set foot on the same stage as they did was amazing,” he said.
Henthorn first picked up a guitar when he was 11. He dutifully majored in business at Butler University but also studied classical guitar on the side. After graduation, he landed his first interview at General Electric. Dressed and ready to go, he found he could not do it.
“I just blew it off!” he laughs, shaking his head.
Instead he went to an entertainment booking agency downtown and registered with them. Shortly thereafter, he got a call to play his first gig, and he never looked back. He’s made his living as a professional musician – playing guitar, singing and song writing for the last 20 years.
Henthorn has been involved in many bands throughout the years, including the popular but recently disbanded Healing Sixes. On a fairly regular basis, he is asked to go out to L.A. to sing back-up vocals by record producer Kevin “Caveman” Shirley, most notably singing back-up on two of John Hyatt’s most recent albums. He also has created a recording studio in the basement of his Carmel home where he has lived for the past five years with wife his Kelly, an R.N., and sons Sam, 15 and Gabe, 10.
He is often asked to produce albums for other local bands, and is a prolific songwriter as well.
“More than anything else, I want to be a songwriter,” says Henthorn. “I want to write songs that tell a story; that have humor and a little bit of an edge.”
Henthorn can be seen on Wednesday nights in June at the Ale Emporium on Allisonville Road where he will be hosting a singer/songwriter open mic night. The DVD of his tour with Bonamassa is due to be released shortly and is slated to appear on PBS. More information can be found on his website www.doughenthorn.com.