Folk/gospel artist Jim Hendricks got his musical start in Omaha, Nebraska, during the early '60s when he was a member of the folk trio the Big Three, which also featured members Tim Rose and a pre-Mamas & the Papas' Cass Elliot. The trio relocated to New York City, eventually embarking on a college tour (alongside comedian Bill Cosby) and even a performance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. But by the mid-'60s, the Big Three were no more upon Rose's exit. Hendricks and Elliot decided to expand the group with newcomer Denny Doherty on vocals and update their sound under the new name the Mugwumps. Although the new group failed to hit the big time, they proved to be an important step in the formation of one of the most beloved bands of the peace generation, the Mamas & the Papas (which featured Elliot and Doherty, along with the husband-wife team of John and Michelle Phillips).
After the dissolution of the Mugwumps, Hendricks moved to Los Angeles where he began writing for Johnny Rivers' publishing company and launched his own solo career as well, including such hits as "Summer Rain," "Muddy River," and "Look to Your Soul." In the early '70s, Hendricks penned the theme song ("Long Lonesome Highway") for his friend Michael Parks' new series, Then Came Bronson, which became a crossover hit on the pop, country, and adult contemporary charts. In addition, Hendricks produced three albums for Parks, a pair of which obtained gold certification. By the late '70s, Hendricks had relocated once more, this time to Nashville, Tennessee, where he became a gospel artist, scoring hits with such titles as "The Mighty One of Israel," "New Wine," and "From Glory to Glory." This led to a recording contract with the Benson label, for which Hendricks has issued numerous albums over the years, including a series of instrumental folk and mountain music (as part of the Appalachian Memories and Appalachian Hymns series), as well as cowboy song collections (Home on the Range, West of the Pecos, etc.). By the late '90s, Hendricks had split from the Benson label, opting to launch his own record company, Maple Street, with old friend Johnny Rivers. Albums of like-minded instrumentals continued to appear well into the 21st century, including titles such as Iron Horse: Great American Train Songs, and Celtic Heritage: Favorite Irish, Scottish and Old English Melodies, both released in the 2010s. ~ Greg Prato