Alex de Grassi was one of the founding artists for Windham Hill Records with ground breaking acoustic guitar performances. More than 20 years ago Cookie Marenco and Alex recorded a solo guitar album for Windham Hill and it was time to do it again!
Alex de Grassi has a way with his guitar. On Shenandoah, his performances tell a story, transport us to a different world. It is a reflection of emotional sensitivity, of being able to express feeling through pure musical expression. There are no lyrics, no literal story to be told, and yet, de Grassi tells many throughout the album. Cookie Marenco plays a crucial role in facilitating this in her role as producer. Shenandoah was recorded using Blue Coast Record's Extended Sound Environment technique (E.S.E.) to capture Alex's incredible sound on DSD. The warmth and diversity of textures you hear are both a testament to de Grassi’s adeptness as a guitarist and Marenco’s masterful skill in capturing his performance in such an organic and precise way.
The title track of the album is a gorgeous, shimmery, meditation. Slow and heartfelt, de Grassi plays his guitar with such earnest emotion it can move you to tears. It is a piece of healing and love, like feeling the warmth of the sun against your skin as it rises in the early morning. “Angel” is de Grassi’s acoustic ode to Jimi Hendrix. It begins with the same shimmery twang as “Shenandoah” before entering a full jam. The textures here are a treat to the ears. The melody is peppered with little sharp, stylish accents, while still dipping into tender, soft moments. As the sun rises higher in the sky, we begin our day. “Single Girl,” then, finds us in full swing. A relaxed, easy groove opens the piece. De Grassi moves effortlessly through a heavy swing feel to a faster, moving fingerpicking section, all the while making the melody sing through clearly. “Bury Me Not” opens in a slow and brooding mood. De Grassi pays the utmost attention to space, letting the guitar breathe, before gently entering a jazzy swing feel. The effect is uplifting and refreshing.