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Undertaker Please Drive Slow

by Shane Parish
Tzadik | November 2016

"A long time resident of the Appalachian town of Asheville, North Carolina, Shane Parish is the mastermind behind the cutting edge rock band Ahleuchatistas. Here he steps out with a remarkable and soulful acoustic solo project that digs deep into Appalachian roots. Taking classic old timey folk songs, Shane has abstracted them in utterly fascinating ways evoking the haunting and brooding world of the American South. At times reminiscent of John Fahey and Robbie Basho, at times of John Cage and Morton Feldman, Shane uses these beautiful songs as launching pads for his creative flights of fancy, at times boiling them down to their very essence. A spiritual project that will keep you riveted from first note to last." — John Zorn

"Shane Parish is one of the most interesting new guitar voices to come out of the country blues tradition of Mississippi John Hurt, Lightin Hopkins… via John Fahey, and the folkie fingerpickers….this recording finds Parish standing at the cross-roads between playing the country blues and… deconstructing? Devolving? Destroying?…them. Some of the miniatures are stunning, haunted by an Anton Webern-like economy. Check it out!" — Marc Ribot

"The longer pieces contain silences and pronounced dissonances that suggest a more than passing acquaintance with John Cage’s music for prepared piano, as well as melodic permutations that move as fluidly as Grant Green in a purposeful mood. Parish does not improvise according to any known set of jazz prescriptions, but like Django Reinhardt or Charlie Christian, his improvisations express a strong sense of form."--Bill Meyer, Dusted

"Parish's deeply personalized spin on roots music transcends any semblances of playing it safe. More importantly, he establishes a musical conduit that pays homage to tradition while unlocking new passageways, enacted with the utmost sincerity." --Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

“It’s not easy to find such vitality, originality, and fire in songs this old and familiar, but Parish both underlines the lasting power of these songs and makes them sound as if they’re new bolts of wisdom from the great beyond. His music has never hit me so hard.” —Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

 

Guitarist Shane Parish is an improvisor, composer, and educator residing in Asheville, North Carolina.  He founded the avant-rock band Ahleuchatistas in 2002, which has released eight studio albums to date on esteemed creative music labels such as Tzadik Records, International Anthem, and Cuneiform Records.  The band’s critically acclaimed 2004 album The Same and the Other was hailed by legendary NYC saxophonist and composer John Zorn as "one of the most intense documents of compositional rock complexity ever recorded.”  Pitchfork gave it an 8.0.

In late 2016, Parish released an instrumental solo acoustic album called Undertaker Please Drive Slow, on Tzadik Records. The music for this album was conceived in a single night of inspiration in February 2016 when Parish freely interpreted several Appalachian, folk, blues, gospel, and old English tunes into his tape recorder, allowing all of his background in classical guitar, country blues, jazz, and free improvisation to blend into a seamless and effortless flow. This demo caught the ears of Zorn, who immediately offered to produce the album. When guitar maestro Marc Ribot heard these recordings he proclaimed, “Shane Parish is one of the most interesting new guitar voices to come out of the country blues tradition of Mississippi John Hurt, Lightin Hopkins…” Having long established his creative voice as a radical and creative electric guitarist in the long-running Ahleuchatistas, Parish now reveals a more elaborate and intimate inner world with his solo acoustic performances of whimsy, passion and virtuosity. 

 

  "The longer pieces contain silences and pronounced dissonances that suggest a more than passing acquaintance with John Cage’s music for prepared piano, as well as melodic permutations that move as fluidly as Grant Green in a purposeful mood. Parish does not improvise according to any known set of jazz prescriptions, but like Django Reinhardt or Charlie Christian, his improvisations express a strong sense of form."--Bill Meyer, Dusted

 

"Parish's deeply personalized spin on roots music transcends any semblances of playing it safe. More importantly, he establishes a musical conduit that pays homage to tradition while unlocking new passageways, enacted with the utmost sincerity." --Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

 

“It’s not easy to find such vitality, originality, and fire in songs this old and familiar, but Parish both underlines the lasting power of these songs and makes them sound as if they’re new bolts of wisdom from the great beyond. His music has never hit me so hard.” —Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader