Henry Dunkle
Gig Seeker Pro

Henry Dunkle

Band Rock Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Birmingham Weekly Article"

Day by day kid
Henry Dunkle plays Live in Mono!
By: David Feltman

When you hear Henry Dunkle's music you might picture a smoky honky-tonk veteran or a grizzled blues man. What you don't picture is a 21-year-old blonde kid with a self-deprecating sense of humor sporting a pair of Ray Bans. Perhaps it's just his '50s retro folk stylings or his crooning baritone, but watching him play there's no doubt that Dunkle is a man unstuck in time.

Immersed in an older generation of music since he was young, Dunkle began his musical exploration at the age of 4, banging on pianos and Fischer Price xylophones. His parents fostered his interests by taking him out to shows. Not like when your parents dragged you to a Moody Blues concert because they couldn't find a babysitter, but some quality concert experiences.

"My folks used to take me to see Topper Price at the Jazz Cafe when I was 8," Dunkle says, "and I got to meet him, which back then, to me, was 10 times cooler than seeing Tom Petty at the amphitheatre. There was that one song he had where he would start off with, 'My baby caught a train. Oh, my baby bought a ticket. Long as my right arm.' That was the first time I had ever been in such a small club with blues bands going. My legs were dangling from a stool and the music was so loud that the P.A. was vibrating my jeans and tickling my skin. It's wild how my brain works. I haven't heard his songs in years and I could still tell the lyrics to "Wade in the Water," but I couldn't tell you somebody's name I met three minutes ago. The live shows, when done right, used to really get to me and punch me in the heart."

Since then, Dunkle has been a yardman, a veterinarian's assistant, an accordion player and a one-time student of L.A.H.'s real estate school. Despite his bewildering résumé, music like Willie Nelson and Leadbelly stuck with Dunkle, influencing the developing songwriter. It was the stories behind the older music that captivated him.

"The sort of music I play and listen to has one main thing in common: lyrics. I listen to blues, folk, rock, country and even a little old-school pop music like Bobby Darin. Good accompaniment is very important, but if I can't hear what the singer is saying, than I rarely ever listen to them again. Certainly there are some exceptions with me but mostly I listen for words.

Ernest Tubb and Woody Guthrie send chills up my spine when I hear some of their songs and there isn't much out there right now that does that. Ernest would sing about his baby being born then dying a week later and all the heartache it caused. Guthrie sang about getting the Dust Pneumonia Blues or how the dust storms ruined his family's livelihood. Those guys had good lyrics and powerful stories. I want to write good, solid lyrics along with stories. The music from 50 years ago though seems to focus on that more so that is why I stick with mostly listening to that stuff."

And while Dunkle himself may have never lived through a crippling dust storm or lost a child, he tries to write songs that embody the same storytelling aesthetic. "Selma," from his demo album Live in Mono, is based off on something that happened to him personally – in Tuscaloosa.

"Some friends of mine who were in two punk bands and myself were booked to play this show in Tuscaloosa. When we get there the venue is locked up and no one is there. So for the next hour and a half we stroll around part of old downtown Tuscaloosa and by that time of night everything is shut down. Right around where the venue was there was this abandoned movie theatre and a few other condemned structures. Eventually the venue owner shows up and we play to a crowd of two people.

"We were pretty discouraged and frustrated so the next day I wrote 'Tuscaloosa' but Tuscaloosa is too many syllables and Selma conjures up historical images. So the song got changed to Selma and the lyrics were toyed around with more. Besides when I used the word Tuscaloosa people thought it had something to do with football rivalry so it had to be changed. I still thought that was crazy. Someone came up to me and goes 'So are you an Auburn fan?'"

Dunkle's sound is not unlike that of fellow local musician and occasional collaborator, Dan Sartain. The real similarity between the two isn't so much in their styles as their attention to producing a more vintage sound, especially when recording. Steering away from too much studio polish, Dunkle has created a crackling warmth in his recordings by sticking to low-tech techniques and equipment.

"Dan has been recording me in his makeshift living-room studio," he says. "I've played in two nice studios and I hated the recordings, but his $400 eight-track along with some tape delay does the job better than those $10,000 Pro Tools places so far. Live in Mono! was recorded in my bathroom and basement on a four-track. He's played drums and bass on the recordings, which I don't usually have on my songs. His addition to the recordings makes the songs more garage rock and less folksy. So far I really enjoy recording with him because he thinks up stuff I wouldn't have originally done."

Currently, Dunkle is working on a new album he hopes to have out by the end of the year. And in keeping with his old-time sensibilities, there is also a promise of a '45 on the way featuring the new "Mississippi Mud" and an alternate version of "Day by Day." But while his recording career is certainly looking up, Dunkle's ambitions aren't solely tied to being a musician.

"I think doing a weekly radio show where we mixed the Misfits with Howlin' Wolf and spun some records or doing a radio talk show or something like that would be fun. We could do a local "Coast to Coast AM"-style show. If people don't know what that is, there's a show that comes on at 12 o' clock at night that talks about aliens and shadow people. That stuff is a riot. I think I would also like to write some books but I have no idea on what."
- Birmingham Weekly


Henry Dunkle "Live in Mono!" E.P.
released January 2007

"Mississippi Mud" June 2008 L.p.



Singer and guitar player Henry Dunkle is a indie rock/folk rock act from Birmingham. He has a real retro sound and is heavily influence by the likes of Tom Waits and Hank Williams Senior. Songs include soft dark ballads and faster upbeat songs. Roaring Baritone and backed by Robinson on drums.