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Shane Henry brings his blues back to Oklahoma, adding pop and soul to 'Beauty in the Struggle'

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Shane Henry and Marcy Priest
7:30 p.m. Saturday
the Blue Door
2805 N. McKinley
www.bluedoorokc.com
524-0738
$10

Shane Henry has been playing music professionally for a decade now " a fact made all the more impressive by the fact that he's only 26.

"I feel lucky to have been introduced to music so young," he said. "Music has been at the core of who am I for a very long time."

Henry recorded his first album at a time when most of us are just worried about getting a driver's license. He started performing in bars at 17, and just after his high school graduation, he struck out for Minneapolis to start a full-time career in music.

It was there that he got his first big break, opening for B.B. King. A gig like that would be great for anyone, but the opportunity was especially sweet for Henry, considering how the Oklahoman got into music in the first place.

"There was always good music being pumped at my house," he said. "I grew up on stuff like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Beatles from a very young age."

But when Henry's dad took him to see King, the young musician was inspired to pick up the guitar and master the art of blues.

Almost a decade later, Henry, fresh off the King tour, was signed to Shanachie Records, among the largest indie labels around, and recorded his first nationally distributed album, "Deliverance." He has been touring and playing music festivals ever since.

But Henry had started to grow a little restless.

"You are limited in blues, so I wanted to my foundation in blues music and make it into something more universal," he said. "It seemed natural for me."

So he began to incorporate the pop and soul elements he had grown up to, filling his sound with horns, keys and radio-ready melodies. That evolution can be heard in Henry's newest album, "Beauty in the Struggle," which will be debuted Saturday at The Blue Door.

Much like that of John Mayer or James Morrison, Henry's sound has swelled into a blend of rock, pop, soul and, of course, blues.

The ballad "Crying for Change" caught the ears of suits at CBS, who featured the song on its long-running soap opera "The Young and the Restless."

Henry hopes that this is the sort of thing that will allow him to do what has been at his roots for most of his life.

"I'm just hoping to make a living playing music, doing what I love and having success in whatever capacity that should be," he said. "People have different ideas of what success is. For me, success is just writing songs and putting out records for people who want to hear them. I'm just trying to do music and put something out there that means something to people." "Joshua Boydston

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