Guitarist Shane Parish may be self-taught, but he’s no amateur | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Guitarist Shane Parish may be self-taught, but he’s no amateur



Shane Parish’s guitar playing in the eclectic, energetic rock duo Ahleuchatistas encompasses rapid neck tapping, convoluted chord sequences, and intricate rhythmic shifts. He and fellow guitarist Wendy Eisenberg improvise dizzily complex configurations of starburst harmonics and frantically negotiated counterpoint on their brand-new LP of acoustic duets, Nervous Systems (Verses). A resident of Asheville, North Carolina, he makes his crust as a guitar instructor, but while his technique is prodigious, he's a self-taught musician, and for his latest solo recording, Autodidact (Humanhood), he gleans creative inspiration from the state of not knowing. The album documents a journey that begins with a guitar in standard tuning, which alters course each time he changes the tuning or threads objects such as paper clips, Nerf darts, or strips of plastic through the instrument’s strings—and the less familiar the sounds that come forth, the more involved with them he becomes. Parish’s other recent solo recordings include Undertaker Please Drive Slow (Tzadik), which uses American folk and gospel tunes as launching platforms for winding improvisations, and Child Asleep in the Rain (Nullzøne), which douses Eno-like instrumentals with cosmic vibes. Tonight’s concert is Parish’s first solo appearance in Chicago in two years, and he’ll split his set between loop-based electric compositions and acoustic solo interpretations of tunes associated with 20th-century American balladeer John Jacob Niles.   v

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