b. Shetland Isles, Scotland. From an early age Henderson was exposed to country music via her father’s collection of Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline records. She learned piano at school, and aged 11 obtained her first guitar. Three years later she received her first payment for singing with the Country Club Band, thereafter undertaking regular club dates around the Shetland Isles. Her first big break outside of the islands came when she was booked to appear at the Wembley Country Music Festival in 1989. As she gained experience, she became a more confident songwriter, graduating from cover versions of material by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin and Matraca Berg. Her debut album, on which she was backed by a variety of local Orkney musicians, included readings of Carpenter’s ‘Walking Through Fire’ and Gail Davies’ ‘Jagged Edge Of A Broken Heart’. Afterwards she formed the Sheila Henderson Band, featuring Archer Kemp (drums), Jenny Napier (fiddle), Brian Nicholson (guitar) and Ivor Polson (bass/mandolin). The band made an impression on visiting country rock guitarist Albert Lee, who arrived on the islands to teach a guitar workshop. He asked the Henderson band to back him in concert, returning to the islands twice more and offering to write the liner notes for Henderson’s second album. Waiting For Venus was produced by Andrew Tulloch in Lerwick. It led to Henderson being nominated in a series of categories in the British Country Music awards, including Best Female Vocalist and Best Newcomer. However, with British country music attracting such a minority audience, she has to balance the demands of bringing up a young child and holding down a day job with her burgeoning musical career.
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