Jim Henman – The Man who Placed Myles Goodwyn in April Wine

If you want to make it as a Canadian rock star – Upper Canada Village is the place to be …

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At least that was what April Wine co – founder Jim Henman thought in 1969.

” I do recall wanting to quit university and approaching my cousin David with the idea of starting a band and try to make it.” Says Jim from his home in Nova Scotia.” David came up with the name and asked me to try to bring Myles Goodwyn on board.”

He continues.

“I went to Antigonish where Myles was living at that time and told him our plan. I thought he might want to join but I was not sure until about a week or so later.”

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Seven days later, Myles did join and April Wine was born. It marked the second time Jim Henman and Goodwyn played together. The duo were once part of a group named Woodies Termites between the years 1965 – 67. It was in that band, Jim and Myles wrote  songs together for the first time. It was not the first time for Jim however.

“I had been writing songs since I was 12 or 13.” Says Jim. “I don’t know when Myles started but we both wrote for our old band and we collaborated with one of the other members … ” He continues. “I still have that tune on tape. It reminds me of the Animals’ sound.”

It was around that same time when Myles wrote “You Won’t Dance With Me” – a hit for April Wine later on.

Jim Henman grew up a bIg fan of country music and the blues. All types of blues …

“In the 50s, I was listening to country on the radio. Jimmy Rogers and the Singing Brakeman, which was white country blues from the 20’s and early 30’s. In the 60’s – I was mystified by the McCartney / Lennon and Richards / Jagger compositions. I lalso enjoyed the Loving Spoonful and especially John Sebastian’s writing.”

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As the 70’s commenced, Jim discovered the likes of Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Neil Young and Arlo Guthrie. He also uncovered some real blues from the 20s and 30s. As the 70’s commenced, Jim also discovered the bad side of music …

” I was very attracted to the dark side of rock and roll life … the destructive side. It was dangerous for me and I developed problems very young. I really was not serious about having a “career” as a working musician nor did I have the first clue on how to do it. The party side and a poor work ethic worked well together. After 2 years of that I was lost, depressed and confused. The only way to fix everything was a job and geographical change.”

After stints playing in three bands – Prism, Termites and Wine, Jim left the music business and went into Medical Laboratory work, the furthest thing from songwriting. After all these years, he holds Myles Goodwyn in very high esteem.

“I respect what Myles has done with his talent.” Says the father of two full grown children. “He lived his dream and did it well. If I had stayed I would have died. I have no regrets about leaving.”

Jim Henman married in 1977 and has lived near Martinique Beach on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia since 2001. He is very close to his cousins David and Ritchie. He also was close to the late Jimmy Clench, the bass player who took his place in April Wine. Wine’s former drummer, Jerry Mercer, is also a close friend since 1970 and Jim has known Brian Greenway since 1977.

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Henman, since 1990 – has stayed with old blues as his music of choice. The Delta and Piedmont styles mostly. He played bass out of necessity in the old days and was a self- taught and simple player. Over the years, he has played bass in studio sessions and with a few small dance bands but sees the acoustic guitar as his instrument now.

Henman’s proudest musical moments have come more in the past twenty years. More specifically – his proudest songwriting moments.

I wrote a song called “I Will Get Over You” for Jeannie Beks CD “More Than My Share ” in 1992. “Journey”, a tune from the Musical I co-wrote in 1999 called “Death The Musical ” which has gone on to take on a life of it’s own.”Down’s Really Up” which I co-wrote for the Special Olympics, and “Starting Today ” a tune that was a single released in 2008 for a local band here in Halifax. I have a few of my own compositions on my new CD which are simple but I like them melodically and lyrically.”

“Say Hello” and “Just Between You And Me” are two of Jim’s favourite Myles Goodwyn songs and he is very good friends with Myles. The two are close to being the Canadian version of Jagger and Richards in terms of longevity. Myles and Jim met at the age of fifteen. The only other Canadian artists with a long span are Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush along with Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings from the Guess Who.

“I once challenged Burton Cummings to an arm wrestle while I was drunk.” Adds Jim. ” I lost …”

Myles, according to Jim was supposed to play on his recent cd; “Same old Feeling”.Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned. The pair of “Woodies Termites” exchange emails, phonecalls and visit after shows whenever they can.

If only they could meet in Upper Canada Village. That would be poetic, just like writing a song.

“Just between Jim and Myles” …

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Please visit Jim’s site. jimhenman.com

The CD; Same Old Feeling is available at iTunes and through Busted Flat Records

Photos courtesy of Jim and David Henman

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