Katie Henry

Katie Henry is an award-winning songwriter, musician, performer, and teacher based in Northern California. She grew up singing in Alaska with her father, performed for years in the Pacific Northwest as a singer-songwriter, and spent some time playing music in Chicago while starting a family and working in a genetics research lab. Katie founded Laughing Tree Music in 2000 while living in Vermont and New Hampshire, and continues to perform and teach with gusto in Northern California today.
In 2004, Katie moved to California with her two children and husband, Petr Janata, who studies music cognition at UC Davis’ Center for Mind and Brain. Katie quickly melded into the Davis music scene, and together with Laura Sandage and Ray Frank formed the delightful trio MudLark. Their debut CD, Nest, and live performances captivate audiences with poignant lyrics, inspiring vocal harmonies, and impeccable musicianship. MudLark produces a house concert series in Davis, and has shared the stage with a growing list of traveling folkies includging Bryan Bowers, Joe Hickerson, Cindy Kallett and Grey Larsen, Buddy Tabor, Priscilla Herdman, Kim Barlow, and local heroes Rita Hosking and Cousin Jack.
In other recent musical projects, Katie perfomed for two seasons with the OK Chorale, has often played the chirp for Davis folk-rock favorite, Hardwater and is a member of The Vocal Art Ensemble, a 23-voice a capella choir directed by Tracia Barbieri that “presents exquisite evenings of music, ranging from the elegant beauty of Renaissance motets to the compelling excitement of modern choral works.” The VAE had tow sparkling international tours, first of Ireland in September of 2010 that culminated in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, and most recently of England and Scotland in May of 2014. May of 2015 will see the group touring closer to home, focusing on the Napa Valley region next door. As a teacher, she is actively involved with Education Through Music (ETM), and has incorporated many ETM principles of musical play into her teaching at the Peregrine Project. She also has a second solo recording project of new songs in the works at Studio E in Sebastapol, California.
Laughing Tree Music is Katie’s teaching and performance business, with the goal of encouraging joyful primary musical development in children and their families through hands-on musical experience and play. On the east coast, Katie conducted musical playgroups and family music workshops, and worked as a registered Music Together? teacher for Green Mountain Family Music. She facilitated children’s fundamental music education at preschools, early childhood programs, parent-child centers and libraries throughout the Upper Connecticut River Valley. She also taught private guitar, banjo, and voice lessons to children and adults.
Since moving to California, Katie has focused on studying and teaching music using the song experience games of and process of Education Through Music with children ages 0-14 in Davis schools, the Davis Art Center, and the Richards Institute of Education and Research. In 2008, Katie finished an education masters degree at Sacramento State University in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis in arts in education. She is fascinated with the powerful role play has in learning.
As a musician, looking back, Katie has performed in many of the Pacific Northwest’s most respected venues as a solo act and with a variety of musical groups, including the four-woman-songwriter band, Babes With Axes. A longtime favorite of the Alaska Folk Festival and the Oregon Country Fair, Katie has opened shows for many popular contemporary folk musicians, including Greg Brown, Ani DiFranco, and Dan Hicks. Her many-textured voice, powerful rhythmic finger picking style, claw hammer banjo, and spunky, impressionistic songs earned her a place in the late ‘90’s as “one of the most popular folk singers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley” and throughout the Pacific Northwest (Northwest Independent News).
Katie’s first solo CD, Bears in the City, was deemed by KLCC in Eugene to be one of the finest new acoustic recordings to be released out of the Northwest in 1995, and receives continued national airplay from Boston to California. Her “highly poetic songs captivate the listener and take them on a remarkable journey of discovery” (Sing Out!, 1997). Katie’s music is included on various compilation recordings, including Wounded Dove (2007), Highlights of the Fairbanks Folk Festival (‘91 and ‘92) and Eugene Folk. She appears on many other artists’ recordings, and has collaborated with many fine musicians and songwriters, including Joanne Rand and the Little Big Band, Laura Kemp, T.R. Kelley, Peter Wilde, Lea Jones, Buddy Tabor, Laura Sandage, and Hardwater. Babes With Axes also released two critically acclaimed live CDs, W.O.W. Live Babes! (1995) and Live Axe! (1997), which also receive continued airplay across the country.

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