Dear Life Records


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In a career defined by breakthroughs, “Liverpool” finds masterful guitarist Shane Parish at a natural culmination point. Following years of intensive self-directed musical study and teaching, as well as a move to Athens, GA, Parish set out to continue his work arranging traditional folk music for solo guitar with bursts of improvisation ala his 2016 album “Undertaker, Please Drive Slow” (Tzadik 4016), or 2019’s “Way Haul Away: A Collection of Fireside Songs” (Dear Life 005); this time exploring sea shanties as source material. By repurposing nautical worksong melodies and “lover-lost-at-sea” ballads, Parish provides a unique window into their universal evocativeness and ever-fluid evolution. Parish hypothesizes that “These old melodies are timeless due to their physiological power to vibrate the human nervous system in just the right way, they are the code to resonance within the body, and thus a fantastic and magical part of our evolution.”

Parish’s source material for making guitar arrangements of folkloric music is always the human voice, rather than the accompanying guitar or banjo playing one might hear on archival recordings. He transcribes the vocal melody first, then builds his own unique arrangements, allowing the contour of the tune to dictate the harmony, embellishments, and tunings that best resonate and give expression to the song. His process of giving primacy to the human voice naturally jives with the sea shanty repertoire because it is traditionally a choral music, sung a cappella. His passion for deeply feeling music has always drawn him to the minor contours and hypnotic longing of Irish music, and the spirituality, phrasing and harmonic tension within old blues music. The primary influences of Sea Shanty music are Irish and African-American, thus a truly world fusion music that predates recording and broadcasting.