Mark Shepherd is a singer-songwriter from Cambridge with a strong, distinctive baritone and a dark brand of folky, thought provoking acoustic rock/Americana that explores the stygian side of life with a rough warmth sure to stay with you long after you finish listening.
“Americana, as you'd expect, is pretty much the preserve of the Americans. Mark Shepherd, a very clever Englishman indeed, provides a glorious, emotional and insistent offering of the highest standard.” - Fireworks Magazine
Mark has featured on BBC Introducing and a host of radio stations and blogs. Performances all over the UK and USA have included The Cambridge Folk Festival, Cambridge Rock Festival, Camp Bestival, London: 02 Academy Islington, Borderline, 229 the venue, The Islington, The Spice of Life... New York: Rockwood Music Hall, The Bitter End, Pianos, Arlene's Grocery and many more.
A musical omnivore, Mark grew up listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Jimi Hendrix as well as Miles Davis and Kraftwerk, Devo and Gary Numan. School bands led to a recording deal with a label that went bust before the band’s music was released. Mark played in local rock bands for several years and in 2017 released his first solo acoustic album, “Bad Man”. He followed it up with a string of releases: The Grand Scheme of Things EP (2019), and singles She Didn't Answer (2019), The Grand Scheme of Things (2019), Driving (2020), Devil in The Mirror (2021). I Wish I Knew and World on Fire were released in 2022 on The Animal Farm label. 2023 has so far produced two singles - Would You Help Me and Don't Stop Walking. More are coming.
The music was enthusiastically received on BBC Introducing and BBC Cambridge who invited Mark for sessions.
“Awesome!” - Tom Simkins, BBC Introducing
Pre-Covid, Mark made trips to the US twice a year, performing a host of gigs in small venues from New York to Austin and the Bay area, recording a session for Radio Free Brooklyn and drawing favourable comparisons to artists as different as Paul Weller, Garth Brooks and Danny Vaughn.
Mark's music is on all digital platforms - just search Mark Shepherd.
“Mark Shepherd’s “Don't Stop Walking” has a classic folky sound with a dark edge. The acoustic guitars are down-tuned and the chords they play are frantic and Mark’s baritone singing adds to the uneasy feeling the song is trying to convey. Featuring an unforgettable guitar motif the song delivers a sonic experience that’s anxious and paradoxically warm at the same time. Mark’s music is the type of music that sticks with you long after you stop listening. He is unbelievably talented and “Don’t Stop Walking” is a testament to his skill in building tone and atmosphere. I loved every second of this track and I’m sure so will you! ”
“With a skillful blend of light and dark dynamics, this track showcases Shepherd’s exceptional songwriting prowess, proving that it’s all about the music, not flashy production tricks. From the opening, it’s evident that the production on “Don’t Stop Walking” is top-notch. The finely recorded guitar and meticulous post-production work create a sonically rich experience that captivates the listener. The acoustic guitar takes center stage, delivering a mellow yet powerful dark energy throughout the song. On the chorus, a touch of light piano enhances the musical landscape, adding an extra layer of depth to the track. It’s impressive how a simple acoustic rock song can feel so heavy and groovy with just the guitar as its backbone. The songwriting on “Don’t Stop Walking” is excellent, capturing the essence of Shepherd’s influences while infusing his unique touch. From start to finish, Shepherd showcases his talent and passion, leaving listeners craving more. Whether you’re a fan of acoustic rock or simply appreciate exceptional songwriting, this track is sure to leave a lasting impression. Mark Shepherd’s “Don’t Stop Walking” is a true rock anthem that will pump you up with its infectious energy. With its powerful acoustic rock sound, masterful songwriting, and impeccable production, this uplifting track deserves a special place in your playlist.”
“an alt-folk thriller which details the paranoia that may set in when you are walking alone late at night. The song is highlighted by Mark’s strong vocal performance which glides over the frantic guitar in a narrator-like fashion. Mark Shepherd’s latest single, “Don’t Stop Walking,” is a cinematic folk hit and the perfect addition to any indie playlist”
“Scott Walker’s distinctive delivery and political tint, Johnny Cash’s acoustic guitar and prominent rhythm, Lou Reed’s identifiable baritone. Mark Shepherd has all of these things, but he’s remarkably his own, unique thing. World on Fire is his latest, heartfelt single.” - Moataz Gwaily
“‘World on Fire’ is the folky rock single that you’ll be listening to over and over this year. Mark Shepherd has filled the single with beautiful guitar tones, a smooth drum beat and texture and harmonic melodies that will warm you up no matter how cold you get. With a sound that hits like a country lover's Stereophonics, Mark Shepherd whittles away the beats of ‘World on Fire’ with confidence, passion and skill. The sound is classic, yet new. It feels like ‘World on Fire’ is a single that was always meant to be.” - Freddie Mckee
“'World On Fire' is the name of the new single from British singer-songwriter Mark Shepherd. The song was released via London label The Animal Farm on October 14 and graced the growing catalog of this talented musician. Mark Shepherd started releasing his own music in 2017, since then he has been actively performing on music venues in Great Britain and America, attracting more and more fans of his work. His songs are really worth the attention of connoisseurs of folk and Americana. The motif of Mark Shepherd's new track 'World On Fire' has its own character that inspires and gives hope despite all the moments of our anxious time. Strong and at the same time warm vocals give a beautiful melody that soothes and guides us through life. The musical accompaniment from the live ensemble has a rich acoustic soft rock sound that perfectly combines with the deep lyrics of this touching and soulful song. Listen to the single 'World On Fire' from Mark Shepherd below on Spotify and immerse yourself in the creativity of this great English artist.”
“Based out of Cambridge, England, Mark Shepherd brings a brand of acoustic rock-sounding, folk-themed music that, in his words, aims to explore the more ‘stygian’ things to life. I would describe his sound as a mix of storytelling ballad-style music, with deep, though-provoking lyrics. He here presents his latest project, “World On Fire”, where he talks about serious themes, all while weaving stories out of metaphors. Keep reading to know what I mean. The song is very melodically driven, with a consistent motif that keeps evolving as the seconds go by. This makes the song the kind of earworm you’ll find yourself singing inadvertently– in the best way possible. This is complimented further by Shepherd’s distinctive, power-laden baritone vocals that immediately resonated with me the way Rag N’ Bone Man sounded on “Human”. This lays a solid foundation for all the good things that further grow around the song as it progresses. The production is clean, minimal– making tasteful use of the instruments that are the most pertinent to the genre in discussion. The acoustic guitar lends itself very prominently here, forming the rhythmical and chord basis for this track. As a fan of the guitar myself, I could not stop myself from going in and looking at the kind of attention of detail going on in every aspect of the production, and at the end of my listening period, I will say I walked away a happy man. The energy is very well balanced throughout the song, the song picks up and lets off the gas exactly where feels appropriate– and in my opinion, it is the number one thing that people as songwriters tend to miss the mark on; here, I’m happy to report that that is far from the case. The mix is tight, spacious, and an overall A+ job, nothing to gnaw at here. All in all, “World On Fire” made for an excellent listen, and it is my pleasure to be able to tell you guys what I thought of the song. ” - Mohit Bagur
“"Short Sharp Shots of Rock - Steven Reid" Americana, as you'd expect, is pretty much the preserve of the Americans. Hence it's a welcome surprise that the authentic tunes of MARK SHEPHERD come from Hertfordshire - adding a pleasingly British slant on the most United States of sounds as they do. What's also rather exciting is that the singer himself has more than a hint of Danny Vaughan in his vocal delivery, which provides a more Melodic rock aroma than might otherwise have been expected. With each of the four tracks appearing in both electric mode and an acoustic re-imagining. 'It's About Time' is a glorious sing-along, while the title-track of 'THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS' is a more emotional, if still insistent offering. However, all four cuts are of the highest standard and Shepherd is a very clever Englishman indeed.” - Steven Reid
— The Grand Scheme of Things EP review - Fireworks - Issue 86 - Spring 2019