Strip Me Down is one of two new singles from Nashville singer/songwriter, Mark Henes. The sound fits broadly within the “Americana” umbrella, but there are elements of full blown rock in this track. I started listening to it before even looking at his bio, and the guitar intro made me initially wonder if this might even be an indie pop punk release, mostly based upon the pacing and tone. It actually kind of is! As the song revs up though, the southern rock vibes casually kick in and you get the idea of the blend at work here. This jam is peppy and catchy. This isn’t coffee house style folk Americana on poetry reading night. This absolutely rocks. Mark is really a fantastic singer too. He belts out these lyrics without any autotune or other processing, making it look easy. Everything on this recording comes through crystal clear. Henes claims to want to “reimagine Americana for the 21st century.” Strip Me Down has the energy to do just that.
In demonstrating the artist’s versatility, the second single Ghost Train has more of a classic country rock sound, with some organic and twangy guitars that are played with delightful attention to detail. There’s nothing at all hidden from the listener in the mix, and that is a good thing. Even in this case, Mark shows his willingness to experiment as the song takes on a number of notebending twists and tonal turns. The structure is very fluid and dynamic. He doesn’t seem to settle on formulas and keeps it creative. Top notch production here as well. This guy obviously has a lot of talent and gives a charismatic performance. Both of these singles indicate he has the means to stand out artistically in a crowded and competitive field.
Be on the lookout for his upcoming full length album Crystallized Reﬂections, which I guarantee will be worth listening to.
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