10/5 – Private Album Release Event
by Roger Friedman
I am just back from the Cutting Room, where Jill Hennessy played a phenomenal rock show with a tight –and expanded — band that now has a Mumford-like richness, beautifully written ballads and economically bluesy tunes that showcase solos, and her own very real, no kidding mellifluous voice. She can sing! She’s gorgeous!
You know Jill from her long runs on shows like “Law & Order,” and “Crossing Jordan.” She’s been on “The Good Wife” more recently.
But her friends and family know her as a country-tinged rocker. Tonight was her special evening at the Cutting Room, but she’s playing there again October 12th and 14th. If you’re in New York, you don’t want to miss her.
Jill’s friends, by the way, tonight, included Alec and Hilaria Baldwin, Patricia Clarkson, Lea Delaria, Bobby Flay, Dylan Walsh, Brooke Shields, Chris Noth (who co-owns the Cutting Room but rarely attends), Sebastian Stan, Laila Robins, as well as famed E Street band drummer Max Weinberg.
I overheard someone say, “This is the most attractive crowd I’ve ever seen for a music show.”
Jill’s longtime devoted husband Paolo Mastropietro masterminded the whole event, with help from press whiz Claire Mercuri and the Cutting Room’s Steve Walter.
But it wouldn’t have mattered who was there if Hennessy didn’t have the goods. She’s sort of a cross between Bonnie Raitt and Jennifer Nettles, with a little Alison Krauss thrown in for good measure. The band is mostly trained out of Austin, Texas, and they have an authentic feel that should hold them in good stead far from the East Coast.
Country radio should be clamoring for her new album, called “I Do,” and available on iTunes, Spotify, and so on. “Edmonton,” “Heaven” and “Digging My Own Grave” were among my favorites. The audience liked them, too, since they each got thunderous ovations. Hennessy’s acting training certainly helps– she’s very much at ease in front of an audience, self-deprecating and engaging, and ready to kick ass. As she pointed out, it’s a mom and pop operation.
“I’ll bet Taylor Swift has a whole room full of guitars and people to hand them to her,” she joked as she switched among her own two instruments. “I have just have me.”