In recent years, Athens, Georgia-based guitarist and songwriter, Shane Parish, has been performing a collection of original outsider folk songs that combine play-on-words about cognitive dissonance, personal excavation, sweet longing, subtle subversion, moral support, and mourning, with his singular and intricate acoustic guitar inventions. Like the scattershot trajectory of his career—free-folk improvisor, finger-style experimentalist, prog-punk shredder—Parish’s songs integrate a wide range of styles and techniques into well-crafted nuggets of sincerity and whimsy.
A blazing country blues about apocalyptic forebodings careens into a mid-tempo minimalist pulse drone, ornamented by ethereal whispers of good intentions. An odd-metered contrapuntal prog-folk psychological thriller depicts the inner tension between multiple selves searching for authenticity. Delicately fingerpicked minor figures cascade beneath a deadpan spoken word poem about the futility of waiting to subvert the system from within. Harmonically rich and meticulously constructed musical eulogies mourn the passing of friends and loved ones, while basking in their eternal presence. The pieces move seamlessly in and out of Parish’s breathtaking instrumental flights of fancy, and candid extemporaneous musings.
At home, Parish devotes much of his time to developing his singular and expressive voice on the guitar. He is a self-taught musician who communicates through emotion, unexpected melodicism, technical whimsy, a nuanced sense of form, and rich timbral variety, simultaneously drawing from the guitar’s history and aiming for its future. In 2016, he was recognized for his solo acoustic efforts by composer John Zorn, who issued the album Undertaker Please Drive Slow on Tzadik Records, hailing it as “a remarkable and soulful acoustic solo project that digs deep into Appalachian roots… At times reminiscent of John Fahey and Robbie Basho, at times of John Cage and Morton Feldman.” Parish has self-released numerous recordings of folk interpretations in the years since Undertaker. In 2021, he released Liverpool (Dear Life Records), a collection of sea shanties and nautical ballads reimagined for electric guitar. Folk Radio UK noted, “One of his reasons for making this album was to unlock ‘the code to resonance within the body’, the inscrutable power that exists within worksongs that makes them timeless and uniquely human. It’s safe to say that he has achieved that goal and made a breathtaking and singular album in the process.”