Shane Hennessy

Shane Hennessy

Shane Hennessy is a virtuoso guitarist and composer from Ireland, whose unique and energetic guitar performances have amazed audiences all over the world. His cross-genre guitar playing style and cinematically vivid compositions tie in multiple forms of world and ethnic musics, and have caught the attention of big names like guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel and super-producer Nile Rodgers (CHIC). He also works as a songwriter, and is an in-demand session musician.

At the young age of twenty-three, Shane tours consistently in some of the most well-known venues in Ireland, and has been a featured performer in some of Ireland's biggest music and arts festivals, including Electric Picnic (2013, 2014, and 2017), Longitude (2014), and The Guitar Festival of Ireland (Headline Act, 2016). In addition to his solo shows, Shane has shared the stage with guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel (National Concert Hall Dublin, July 2017) and works as a songwriter and session musician in Ireland and the UK. Shane has released two albums of original music on his label ‘Exchequer Music’; Zephyrus (2015) and Marrakech (2017). Shane has also toured abroad extensively with his own repertoire, and on occasion with Irish Trad-Fusion band MOXIE.

Shane launched his sophomore release ‘Marrakech’ in a sold-out concert in the National Concert Hall on July 20th 2017. An Irish tour followed, and a worldwide tour over 2017/2018 has seen, and will see, stops in The United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, the United States of America, Russia, and Australia. Features of this tour include Electric Picnic 2017, DisneyWorld Florida, and The Guitar Academy of The Netherlands.

Shane started out initially as a concertina player, playing strictly Irish traditional music from the age of 4. He attended an Irish-language primary school in his hometown of Carlow, Ireland, and was taught the basics of the concertina and the tin whistle there by his teachers. Later, he was taken on by the legendary Irish concertina player Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh as an understudy, and studied intensively with him. Shane achieved great successes in the Fleadh Ceoil competitions, winning titles in both the Carlow and the Leinster provincial concertina competitions aged 12. To this day, he accredits the strong background that Irish traditional music gave him to his solid understanding of melody and rhythm.

“When you think about it, Irish music traditionally only features melody and rhythm. There was very little to no harmony when I was learning how to play. Discovering the possibilities of harmony when I later picked up the guitar was what drew me to it so much – it can really offer potentials that most traditional Irish instruments cannot.”

Shane discovered the acoustic guitar at age thirteen. Inspired by hearing the music of James Taylor, he developed an interest in solo acoustic guitar after being pointed in the direction of Tommy Emmanuel, and rapidly became an avid fan and player of acoustic music, citing players such as Clive Carroll, James Taylor, John Mayer, and Mark Knopfler - as well as Emmanuel and Rodgers - as his biggest guitar influences.

“Seeing Tommy Emmanuel play the guitar on a Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour episode was definitely a moment of epiphany. for me His energy and music are both amazing, and I was blown away by the possibilities that could be unlocked by learning to play fingerstyle guitar. It was like I had only seen the guitar in black-and-white, and all of a sudden it was in colour!”

Shane’s style of music is difficult to explain in words; he calls it simply "fingerstyle" guitar. It encompasses virtually every facet of music. In his repertoire of music, Shane performs everything from funk-driven blues to classically-touched jazz standards, with Irish traditional, jazz manouche, bluegrass, progressive, and world influences thrown in the mix, as well as periodic bursts of energetic improvisation.

With Shane’s musical background being rooted firmly in Irish traditional music, he initially approached playing the guitar more like a traditional instrument, playing single note lines and phrases, and focusing on keeping a steady pulse throughout the music: a trait of Irish music that, although heavily disguised at times, is present in every piece he performs. He learned how to play the guitar by transferring the tunes he knew from the concertina, and from that working out how to form chord shapes. Shane’s musical style has since progressed to a more modern groove-based sound with jazz and world influences, citing CHIC, Snarky Puppy, Punch Brothers, Relish, and Steely Dan, as well as Irish and ethnic musics, as big influences on his style of playing and composing.

"My main aim as a guitarist is to bring the acoustic guitar to places it has never been, to really show that it is the most versatile instrument in the world.”

"Watch Shane perform for the first time and you'll feel like your brain is going to explode, you'll be like 'how does anyone do that? It's so complex but so musical and so emotional, and that's the beauty of what he does." says Shawn Jones, acclaimed American singer-songwriter (Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson).

At the young age of twenty-three, Shane has already featured on primetime national television in Ireland, has played in some of the most well-known venues in Ireland, and has been a featured performer in some of Ireland's biggest music festivals, including Electric Picnic (2013, 2014, 2017), Longitude (2014), and the The Guitar Festival of Ireland (2016, 2017).

Shane is also a fluent Irish language (Gaeilge) speaker and has performed on many occasions at Irish language and culture events. Highlights include a spot on the mainstage at St. Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin City at the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Festival (Féile Lá Fhéile Pádraig Baile Átha Cliath) in 2015, a guest appearance at Puball na Gaeilge at Electric Picnic in 2014, a high-profile solo set at Oireachtas na Samhna, a festival for ‘Sean-Nós’ ancient Irish cultural arts, numerous appearances on TG4 and Raidió na Gaeltachta, and regular slots at An Cabaret Craiceáilte (A famed Irish language and culture arts collective).

Shane's debut album Zephyrus was released in May 2015 to rave reviews. Called “an amazingly mature début” by The Irish Times, Zephyrus presented nine tracks of varying musical styles, tied together by strong melodies. An accompanying European tour saw Shane touring extensively - beginning in the UK in February; following on with shows in Austria, Switzerland, and Holland in May/April; Italy in July, and Germany over August and September. Toward the end of 2015 Shane began a residency in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin as a featured performer.

2016 saw seen Shane featured on primetime Irish National Television (RTÉ), a featured guest appearance at the Acoustic Night at MusikMesse Frankfurt, back-to-back performances in The National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland with Tommy Emmanuel and the Willis Clan, and a multitude of tours and concerts around mainland Europe. Shane is also a session musician and deputy guitarist with Irish trad-fusion band MOXIE, and is a collaborator and occasional band-member with country superstar Derek Ryan.

Shane released his sophomore album Marrakech in June 2017. The core musical concept of the album revolves around 'visual music' - music that transports the listener to a specific time or place. This album retains the melodic nature of Zephyrus while building on more complex harmonic structures and forms, as well as incorporating world and ethnic influences, cleverly playing against the natural strengths of the acoustic guitar at times. A stand-out feature of this album is the fact that all the tracks were composed away from the guitar, and then arranged for solo guitar. ‘Marrakech’ was officially launched at the National Concert Hall on Thursday July 20th, 2017, and an Irish tour followed covering Galway, Drogheda, Cork, Belfast, Sligo, and Dublin’s ‘Liberties Arts Festival’.

Subsequently in 2017, Shane travelled to the United States for the first time to make an appearance as a special guest performer at Raglan Road in DisneyWorld, Orlando, Florida. He also held a set at Electric Picnic on both the Salty Dog and Trailer Park stages, made appearances at the Sligo Jazz Festival, and was invited by the Guitar Academy of the Netherlands to hold a masterclass and a concert in Amsterdam. Shane also had a featured performace as part of Culture Night at Dublin Castle, as well as a continuing tour around Ireland and the UK. He capped 2017 with a special performance in the RDS in Dublin for the Business to Arts organisation with the Irish Government Minister for Arts in attendance.

2018 has already seen Shane play the Dublin Bowie Festival and at the Giengen Guitar Festival in Germany. March will see Shane visit Nashville, Tennessee for Music City Irish Festival, during which he will feature on the Riverfront Mainstage, in BB King’s Blues Club, and at other festival events. In April, guitar maestro Clive Carroll will join Shane on a duo tour of Ireland, and Shane will travel around Ireland with singer-songwriter Derek Ryan on a two-piece acoustic tour mid-year. Shane is also delighted to be attending and performing at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention for the first time in July in Nashville, Tennessee.

The future will see Shane perform at the prestigious MerleFest bluegrass festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2019, as well as the release of Shane’s forthcoming studio and live albums.

Shane is also an official Maton Guitars Artist, among a select few guitar luminaries such as Tommy Emmanuel, Keith Urban, John Butler, and Michael Franti, and promotes their guitars worldwide.



GA Seated || Please note, there is a two drink minimum in the room.

Advance tickets are available online until 5:30PM, day of show. Any remaining tickets can be purchased at the door at showtime.


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