Patrick McHenry has been a fixture in the local music scene for most of the past decade.
As a popular solo singer-songwriter, in indie rock bands such as Favorite Color Blue and Smile Line Spark, in a duo with Caroline Francis, and most recently, co-fronting with Francis in indie-jazz pop quartet Mon Cheri.
In three years, Mon Cheri became one of Spokane’s most popular live bands and released three albums, one of which was tracked with Grammy-winning producer Kory Kruckenberg.
But tonight it all comes to an end as McHenry, aka Wayne Patrick, makes his exit from the music scene after Mon Cheri’s farewell show at Spokane’s newest dedicated live music venue, the Red Room Lounge, 521 W. Sprague Ave.
McHenry is leaving the local music scene, and Spokane as a whole, as he and his wife begin their journey as traveling nurses in Connecticut, where they just landed jobs. While it’s entirely possible McHenry’s work could bring him back to the area, even within months, he’s asked that the band not hold its breath for him.
“I’ve been telling the band since I started my career as a nurse that I wanted to do some traveling for a year or two and I didn’t want them to get their hopes up that we’d start touring a lot or trying to get signed,” McHenry said. “I’ve always been upfront that I didn’t want music to be my job and have to rely on creating music and always having to be touring to survive. We’re saying this is the last gig because we don’t have plans to come back to Spokane except to visit friends.”
Mon Cheri’s last gig being a benefit for the Second Harvest Food Bank is incidental, but all the more special, McHenry said.
“We’ve booked a gig around the holidays the last three years, it’s sort of like tradition,” McHenry said. “The first year we played a bunch of sappy lovey-dovey songs. The second year we did a food drive. I wasn’t expecting much but people really brought out a ton of food. That was one of the best moments for me as musician. Most of the time we played shows the focus was on the money, this time the whole point of the show was to benefit the food bank and that felt awesome.
As for the other three-fourths of Mon Cheri – Francis, drummer Brandon Vasquez, and upright bassist Kurt Olson – time will tell.
According to McHenry, Francis has been singing with Vasquez’s wife, Karyn, while Vasquez continues to moonlight in Dead Serious Lovers and Olson forges ahead with his performance poetry.
“I don’t want them to wait around in Spokane for me and not play music,” McHenry said. “I told them to consider it our last show ever and go do something else. I told them to replace me.”