Shaun Hennessy, Producer, Engineer, Session Guitarist from Carlow, takes on our Guestlist series and chats about the 10 songs that shaped him as an artist. Shaun is a graduate of BIMM Dublin and over the years has performed on TV and radio along with playing venues such as Cork Opera House, the National Concert Hall, Button Factory and Whelan’s with artists including Jafaris, Kehli, Haiku, Donna Taggart, Patrick Bergin and Paddy Cole.
- Yesterday – The Beatles
This song taught me a lot about the brilliance in simplicity of songwriting – How far structuring some standard chords and writing a simple melody with great lyrics can take you. One of the best and most influential songs ever written, in my opinion.
- Lose Yourself – Eminem
I heard this song when I was 8/9 years old which began a spiral of love for rap music and hip-hop. To hear someone so raw and unfiltered on their songs, such as Eminem, definitely shaped what I searched for in the following years, a certain authenticity and moving quality that this song initially geared my interests towards.
- Superstar – Luther Vandross
A classic hit I was exposed to before I hit my teenage years. There was something about this song when I heard it that made me feel more than anything I had listened to previously. My first real introduction to love songs was this! The delivery in these lines is something no one else can replicate apart from Vandross himself. One of my favourite choruses ever.
- Untitled (How Does It Feel) – D’Angelo
This would be my favourite song on this album, but the whole of ‘Voodoo’ changed my perspective on drums and how you can groove over music in general. The energy in the tracks along with the slight push or drag on hi hats, kicks, and snares made me feel drums differently from that day forward.
- Since We Met -Tommy Emmanuel
Tommy Emmanuel would be one of - if not the most influential musicians I’ve come across. Seeing someone push the limits of the guitar (my main instrument) further than it had ever gone before with such musicality, technique and showmanship took my love of the instrument to a whole new level. I went on to learn fingerstyle guitar for years after, which furthered my knowledge exponentially in terms of arrangements and feel. This was the first tune I’d heard!
- Carolina In My Mind – James Taylor
As a kid this was my mother’s favourite album to have on in the car on long drives, with this song in particular embedding itself in my catalogue of all time favourites forever. James Taylor’s music was a massive influence for me wanting to write a song in the first place! Timeless music.
- Another New World – Josh Ritter (Chris Thile Cover)
Similar to Tommy Emmanuel, the arrangement of this song changed my perspective once more, as to what’s possible on an instrument – in this case the mandolin. Chris Thile is one of my all time favourite instrumentalists and his cover of this song kick-started me into listening to Bluegrass, Classical, Country and Trad music and got me into one of my favourite bands – The Punch Brothers.
- Stop This Train – John Mayer
John Mayer is one of my favourite writers ever, with this song coming out on top. It shows a lot of vulnerability and brutal honesty in the lyrics and although makes me sad to listen to - makes me feel something, which I believe a great song should!
- You & I – Jacob Collier
Jacob Collier is probably my No.1 influence when it comes to music and producing. Hearing his cover of this Stevie Wonder classic blew my mind, honestly. I’d never heard of microtonal chords, half keys, such intricate arrangements and such a gigantic sound in a song before. Still today can barely make it through the whole thing without getting emotional!
- Grace – Jeff Buckley
Jeff Buckley is one of my all time favourite songwriters ever. His music was so obscure to me at first but at the same time, I couldn’t stop listening. Jeff’s lyrics, chords, voice and arrangements left me baffled and still do to this day. This song in particular will always be an all time perspective shifter for me.