Shane Parish

While it’s likely that Parish’s name may be familiar, especially if soli guitar plays any part of your musical repertoire, its also likely that it’s in concert with other names. The last few years have seen Parish push to the forefront solo, but in the past he’s been an integral part of Bill Orcutt’s Guitar Quartet, collaborated with Jason Stein, Wendy Eisenberg, Tatsuya Nakatani, Tashi Dorji, Frank Rosaly, and Michael Potter. While he’s alone on his latest release, the record carries the spirit of collaboration in its cadre of covers. Interpreting everyone from Aphex Twin to Roland Kirk, Minutemen to John Cage and Mister Rogers, there’s certainly a wide breadth envisioned on Repertoire. The spirit of the originals flows through Parish’s interpretations weaving around and through their boundaries, pacing their performances while taking the time to run tributary from the source in delightful abundance.

Parish notes that the melody is the key, but with his deft hand the guitar covers more than merely one facet of some of the more complex works. Often his renditions will recast songs in a new light — turning Mingus’ “Better Get Hit in Your Soul” into a barn light lingering gospel, Aphex into a contemplative fingerpicked saunter, and Beefheart into a virtuosic, almost baroque piece of folk, trading caustic corners for a gilt frame. Parish brings the better part of the 20th Century into the parlor and places it under glass, but his pieces can’t help but wander into the woodwork. Repertoire proves that all music is indeed folk music — storied melodies that carry us, calm us, and caress us, no matter what corner the genre hounds have tried to put these pieces into originally. Parish is one of our most vibrant interpreters, and Repertoire finds him as near as ever to a definitive statement.

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