The Henningsens are a musical trio, related by blood and further bonded by the love of music. Comprised of Brian, Aaron, and Clara, this father, his son and daughter are best known for their debut single “American Beautiful,” but it won’t be long before their fame far exceeds a sole tune.
Perhaps what makes The Henningsens the most unique is the inability to pigeonhole the group; even by themselves. “We’re all the way from very country to bluegrass to something you can’t quite put your finger on,” Brian says of the band’s music. Likely lending a hand to the diversity found within their own music is the plethora of influences that each cites as theirs; none of which echo another band mate’s. Brian names Pure Prairie League, The Marshall Tucker Band, and The Eagles; Aaron is moved by Johnny Cash, James Taylor, and Brad Paisley; and Clara immediately lists Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss, and Nickel Creek.
The family admits that music was always a part of their lifestyle, but it wasn’t something they expected to become the forefront of their lives. Brian spent years dabbling in music, playing in local bands and songwriting on occasion, but it wasn’t until Aaron entered college and began performing with a band that a spark ignited and Brian’s vision for the future changed.
It was like you have that “Eureka!” moment. I’m not trapped in any circumstance I’m in. I have the ability to make my own destiny, which leads into the premise of “American Beautiful.”
Following their destiny, the family bought a home in Tennessee and began working toward the unexpected dream. Fast forward a few years and The Henningsens, who were not yet an established trio, were playing an open mic night at the legendary Bluebird Cafe. It was that night the trio was officially born and they realized the impact they could have on music if they performed as a group for the longterm. Clara explained, “We had no idea what to expect, and people were saying how great it was that we were performing as a family, and we really weren’t even thinking about that.”
As Nashville began to take notice, Aaron made a life-changing connection. He met musician/songwriter Cactus Moser, who shared some of the group’s demo recordings with producer Paul Worley. “Paul believed in us early on,” Aaron says. Paul solidified his belief in The Henningsens when he introduced them to Kimberly, Neil, and Reid Perry, another family formed trio that was working toward a record deal. The two groups came together in music and friendship and wrote three songs for The Band Perry’s debut album.
With songs “You Lie” and “All Your Life,” the genetically linked musical geniuses scored two hit songs (“You Lie” peaked at Number 2, while “All Your Life” soared to Number 1). Following the success of their songs being recorded by The Band Perry, The Henningsens hit the studio to write, record, and release an EP of their own. It was on that EP that “American Beautiful” found a home and worked its way into the homes of country music fans.
The Henningsens’ success and popularity has only continued to grow since that fateful day they took the open mic in Nashville to share their talents with the people of Music City. They opened for Brad Paisley through the summer of 2013 and are continuing to use their love for music and one another to push forward in their country music career. Their website describes them as:
Friendly, gracious, unassuming, and fun to be around, they share the candor and sometimes merciless teasing of family, and while they’ll be the first to say that it can be unusual to see two generations of family living and working so closely together, they love doing it – and they hope that it might be a positive inspiration to others.
And after spending some time with them on the CMT Awards Red Carpet, we can fully agree that these three are everything described and then some. Country Music #CMchat can’t wait to see what The Henningsens have in store in the near future, starting with their most recent project, Christmas album Our Family Christmas. You can stream and download the entire album below.
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