Reviews

Artist Spotlight – Mark Hennessey

Mark Hennessey is a prolific singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Reading, Pennsylvania. After being introduced to songwriting at the age of fourteen, he went on to play in various local bands and pursue a music technology degree at Duquesne University. Aside from this, Hennessey has pursued an active solo career for several years. 2016 saw the release of his debut EP ‘The Difference Engine’, which effectively combined electronica and rock influences. This was swiftly followed up with the ‘Silent Running Vol. 1’ EP in 2017, which further developed his electronica and rock fusion with influences of folk and blues music. However, as the majority of Hennessey’s live performances were solo efforts with just acoustic guitar and vocals, he felt his first full-length album should better represent the nature of his live performances. The resulting product, ‘Calling Card’, was recorded live with minimal production and no cutting between takes.

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‘Calling Card’ truly encapsulates the very best of Hennessey’s talents; his singing voice is filled with passion from start to finish, whilst his guitar playing is varied and consistently well-executed. The stripped-back and dry production only stands as testament to the strength of Hennessey’s material and certainly has a very live feel to it. The album is a roller coaster throughout, from the jovial nature of ‘Weekend Away’ to the more somber and intimate nature of ‘Zugzwang’. Whilst it’s certainly a departure from his previous work, ‘Calling Card’ showcases a fantastically-formed sonic identity throughout and is a direction I’d very much urge Hennessey to continue to pursue on future releases.

Whilst his sonic identity is certainly very strong and memorable, I struggled to find an image of him online that accurately represented his visual identity. If Hennessey was to look into further marketing opportunities, I’d thoroughly recommend sourcing a professional full-body shot that accurately depicts a well-crafted visual identity in line with his already well-formed sonic identity.

On the whole, his social media presence is off to a brilliant start. He uses his own dedicated website as a reference point for all of his musical activities and crosslinks his Facebook page. Whilst his Facebook page features effective posts updating fans on his performing and recording activities, I found that his updates had a tendency to be irregular at times. I would suggest he considers updating his Facebook page more frequently in order to stay relevant as well as possibly making use of a platform such as Twitter for some more lighthearted and engaging fan content.

Overall, there’s no doubt Hennessey is a fantastic songwriter and is truly passionate about his craft. I’m looking forward to seeing where he ventures next and would very much encourage him to continue playing live at every opportunity. Thoroughly recommended for any fans of folk, soft-rock or electronica.

https://markhennessey.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/themusicofmarkhennessey/
https://markhennessey.com/

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