On February 2, 2013, The Henningsens made their Grand Ole Opry debut. We caught up with the sibling trio shortly afterwards to chat about their experiences.
While growing up with 10 children on a farm in Illinois, how did you all find enough downtime to write songs?
During the winter/farming down time, we’d go down to Tennessee to our house in the country and we’d write in the evenings. Aaron and Dad would work construction and write on the way to their jobs. I’d sneak out to the porch and write!
Do you have a favorite song out of those you’ve written thus far?
Brian: “Down.” Aaron: “I Miss You.” Clara: “American Beautiful.”
How did the idea for “American Beautiful” come about?
The title, “American Beautiful,” was Aaron’s idea. When we got together to write with Brett Beavers, we thought it sounded like a love story and an American spirit song. So we combined the two!
There have been many great family groups in country music from The Carter Family to The Whites to The Band Perry. Was there anyone in particular who had a big influence on your dreams of a career in music?
Country music has strong family roots, and we are certainly honored to continue that tradition. We’ve admired many family groups, from the classic songwriting and harmonies of The Carter Family, to the Kendalls, the Judds and our friends The Band Perry. Sometimes it’s the easiest thing in the world to work closely with your family and sometimes it’s the hardest, but it’s really been worth it!
If you could perform one song with an artist (past or present), who would it be and what song would you choose?
“Sweet Baby James” with James Taylor. That’d be a dream come true!
If we looked at your iPod or turned on the radio in your car, what would we be likely to hear?
Anything from Queen to Glen Campbell to Miranda Lambert.
Are there any other Henningsens we can expect to hear music from in the future?
That’s a story in the making.
Did you listen to or watch the Grand Ole Opry growing up? Who’s your favorite performer?
Sometimes at night up in Illinois you can get 650 AM on the radio. One of Dad’s favorite Opry shows was when he got to see Jack Greene sing “Statue of a Fool.” That was a real highlight for him.
How did you find out you were invited to play the Grand Ole Opry? What were your first thoughts?
Our manager called us to let us know, and we were so excited. February 2, 2013 will always be a special day for The Henningsens!
Who were you most excited to cross paths with backstage at the Opry?
Of course The Band Perry, and it was definitely a highlight meeting John Conlee and Holly Williams!
Did anything else interesting or unexpected happen behind the scenes that night that fans would like to know about?
The Band Perry brought us some wonderful cupcakes . . . They were tasty!
We heard you brought quite the crowd with you that night. Were all of the other siblings able to make it?
Yes, ALL ten brothers and sisters of the Henningsen family were there, including their spouses and children. It was such a cool thing to experience the Opry with our whole family!
In five words or less, how would you describe your Opry experience?
Adrenaline rush. Historic moment. Honored. Humbled.
What is one thing that you would want country fans to remember about The Henningsens?
For the time being, just how to pronounce our name. Haha.
The Henningsens will return to the Opry stage on Tuesday, April 9 along with Dailey & Vincent, Jimmy Wayne, and more. Get your tickets here!