Where has To All My Dear Friends been for the last 4 months? No touring. No album release. No site updates. So what has been going on? Don't worry! There has been plenty of bustle.
Remember awhile back when we wrote about the concept of busking, or street performing? Marc has taken it to a whole new level this year. First he upgraded his gear, which included creating his own portable and rechargeable power source (we hope to write about this soon in an upcoming article). Then, with little to no rehearsing, Marc journeyed to the streets to create all new performances. Not only was everything performed live but Marc also chose to create entirely new music, often times completely improvised in the moment.
"Creating sound on the street is very special and unique. It's composing a soundtrack in realtime. My muse is downtown Asheville. In the beginning I found that I had to do a lot of recreating from scratch. I needed to customize my violin tone in a way that wouldn't work on the stage. And vice versa, my stage effects wouldn't work on the street. Or it's not that they wouldn't work, it's just that I found certain things to work better."
Performing on the street is more than just developing perspective and creativity. There's quite a bit of opportunity for exposure and financial gain. "I was about halfway done with the new To All My Dear Friends' album and I ran out of money. It's always been a DIY effort for me. Probably due to the fact that I grew up poor and also because I have an insane work ethic. Little resources is what I'm used to. Find a way to make things happen and then do it. Period. So I hit the streets, and I hit them hard. It's crowd funding without a computer!"
"There's a special flow to the streets. And once you learn this flow, the city will start working for your greater good, and not against it. I basically developed a work routine to maximize my time out on the streets. And in the process I found myself gaining relationships with some amazing people."
There's almost a month of studio time invested in the new album, recorded in both Ohio and Florida. Plus a vinyl and CD release is slated for early next year. Be sure to keep an eye out for updates on the new album. If you're not signed up for the newsletter, than you should do it here. With tourist season coming to an end in the Appalachian Valley, Marc will dedicate this winter to finishing the album, composing a soundtrack for an upcoming film, and refining his sound for some big activity next year.
06/28/13 Live Artwork!
Wow! It's so amazing when visual artists feel inspired to create while listening to TAMDF live. We though it'd be fun to show off some of the artwork that has been gifted to Marc after performances. Whether on the street, at a concert hall, or in someone's home (house shows woot woot).. these spontaneous creations never cease to amaze us with how well they capture musical moments in time.
We start with a simple sketch. Simple yet complex, this piece was created and gifted to Marc at a house show in Rochester New York back in July 2011. It was a phenomenal night with TAMDF playing alongside Jeffrey Lewis, Seth Faergolzia, and John Ludington! This art piece definitely was the icing on the cake! Unfortunately the artist never told Marc her name. Very mysterious and beautiful!
Next up is a moment in time. It's an amazing capture but we're not sure who the photographer is. This was at a house show in Asheville North Carolina.
Here now is an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING piece that was "photographed" by the very talented Henry J. Sullivan. Henry was passing through Asheville and happened to catch Marc performing on the street last week. What a beautiful piece of art! Marc has this framed and it is on display in his studio.
Ok so it may be weird to hang up artwork of yourself but because this is such a beautiful piece, that should make it ok and not weird!
This piece was created at a show back in July 2010. The artist is Evan Galbicka of The Church of Holy Colors. It was done on a 6" x 6" block of wood and was gifted to Marc after the show. It's so neat to see visual interpretations of music!
Next is a sketch that was done just last Sunday. That's right, less than a week ago! The artist, whose name is unknown (unless you can decipher the signature), caught Marc performing in downtown Asheville in front of an art gallery. This is better than any tip put in Marc's tip jar!
And finally we thought it'd be fun to add this beautiful piece into the mix. Although it wasn't done at a live show, we're pretty sure Alma Elaine Shoaf was listening to TAMDF at least some of the time while she created this piece. Haha. This poster art was commissioned by Marc and is available for purchase at live shows.
To all you visual artists out there... if you're ever at a TAMDF show and feel the desire to do what you do best, please don't hesitate to break out the pen and paper or the camera or even the paint brush! We'd love to see your creations! And to all the artists that have created while listening to TAMDF, whether live or with a recording: Thank you for creating something beautiful and intertwining TAMDF's music into the process. It really does mean the world to Marc!
And here are some highlights from the three weeks Marc spent in Houston. This was part of a collage that was gifted to the Houston Met.
01/25/13 Dear Friends
Hello. My name is Marc Hennessey and I am the creator of To All My Dear Friends.
It started out as a project to express my emotions through a violin and in doing so turned into a whirlwind of dreams becoming reality. It felt like I had somehow found a way to connect people with their true selves, others and the world around them. All this through emotions. I've always been a firm believer in the deep rooted emotions that are hidden away from our daily lives. Using a violin as my tool, I've been able to tap into what some would call the heart or intuition.
I needed to find a way to get the music out into the world. I couldn't keep it to myself. But in a world of saturation and disconnect, how could I find a way? Thousands of others scramble every single day in an attempt to rise up to financial success with their artistic merit. Where did I fit in? Where do I fit in? It's never been about money for me but unfortunately in this day and age funds are required to record albums, go on tour, and keep the various musical tools in working order.
Thus began the DIY ethos. Do it yourself refers to a concept of self sufficiency. Follow steps 1 - 20 without the aid of a paid specialist. Of course first you must create steps 1 - 20 and then you can follow through with them. It's a very hard and lonely course. But you do it anyway. Perhaps you don't have the means to pay an expert or perhaps you have no other alternatives. In my case it was both.
Harnessing the music has always been easy for me. Performing is something I love doing. Creating the proper environments through visuals and sounds capes is also fun. The hard part is booking shows, contacting press, doing graphic design, maintaining presence on the internet, and all the other aspects involved with touring. I know that I can only do this for so much longer on my own. I took a break from heavily touring in 2012 to give myself a rest from these tasks. But to obtain the goals I have in mind, eventually I will need help. To create performances that will greatly impact the lives of many, I will need help.
A new album is in the works though! It's being recorded over these next two months and though it will be ready this spring, it's likely to not be released until summer due to financial reasons. It's a very expensive undertaking to reach the quality that I desire and the listener deserves. I won't be doing a fundraiser this time but may offer pre-sales online to help raise the necessary funds.
The new album will be something great and I will tour in some fashion after it's release. Thank you for all your support. Past, present and future.
09/21/12 Ballet Collaboration!
We are proud to announce a collaboration with The Houston Metropolitan Dance Company and Hope Stone Dance Company. TAMDF has been commissioned to compose a new ballet to be performed live November 9th & 10th in Houston Texas at The Wortham's Cullen Theater.
Marc is diligently working at creating his first full-length ballet. "I've always wanted to compose for dance. Back in college I took ballet classes to prepare myself for the task. I've learned two things from the experience. One, I have horrible balance. Two, my passion for ballet has become stronger than ever."
squared dancer will be performed on stage with 25 dancers as a collaboration between the two Houston based studios. Choreography will be done by Jane Weiner, artistic director of Hope Stone Dance Company. The contrast of Marc dancing with his violin on stage alongside Jane's choreography will create quite the visual experience.
This ballet will take the audience on a journey where a do-si-do and an allemande-left face the fear of moving outside the box.
"In 1942 Copeland composed his famous American ballet for the 20th century. I hope to do the same but for the 21st century, integrating what America has become in the last 70 years."
Throughout the world, if you've walked the streets of any major city, you've probably heard the occasional street performer. Sometimes you can't pinpoint their location and the sound becomes an intoxicating breeze. Other times you'll catch it head on in all it's splendor.
Although, not every busking artist is worth a listen. Yet if you spend some time this summer in Asheville North Carolina then you may find a treat. To All My Dear Friends recently created a portable street worthy setup and has been using it throughout the streets of downtown Asheville.
The design is entirely battery powered. Marc created it with ecological impact in mind. He made the box frame entirely from reclaimed wood. All the electronics use rechargeable lithium ion batteries and so there is no physical waste from the pedals themselves. The amplifier uses built-in 12V lithium ion batteries. Everything is lightweight and easy to transport.
The term busking has been around since the mid 1800s. Before the advent of recording, it was a common means of employment for entertainers. Marc first decided to try his hand at it when he noticed how popular Asheville North Carolina was for tourists.
"I'd seen other musicians doing this through watching videos on YouTube and the like. I figured, there's gotta be a way I can do that without wasting resources."
Burning through a pile of batteries each week does not aid in the creative process. So Marc did some research and got to work.
"Instead of working through old material, I challenge myself on the street by always playing new music. It's improvisation. I can equate it to backing myself into a corner and then trying to find a way out. I enjoy the challenge."
Not only has he found another way to get TAMDF out into the world, but he makes a few bucks during the process. This money can go towards the next album, due out early next year.
04/10/12 Gallery Installation?
Well how about that? To All My Dear Friends is in an art gallery! And for all of April, you can check out the installation at The Alexander Breast Museum & Gallery in Jacksonville, Florida.
Andrew Keller, graphic designer, created a design thesis based around rebranding TAMDF. He did a wonderful job at creating all sorts of fun merchandise items.
At the artist reception there were buttons, business cards, and bumper stickers galore! The photo session was done by Laurel Housden Photography. Andrew Keller, who works under the pseudonym Keller Productions, made some neat concepts based off Laurel's photography. The reception was well attended with a warm response.
And the best part about this all? Being featured in an art gallery of course! Although it's pretty silly strolling into a gallery only to see giant posters of your face on the walls.