Danny Rectenwald of Bastard Bearded Irishmen releases his first solo album | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Danny Rectenwald of Bastard Bearded Irishmen releases his first solo album 

With the release of Samadhi, and by being a part of Bastard Bearded Irishmen, Rectenwald is able to show multiple sides of himself as an artist.

click to enlarge Danny Rectenwald - ADAM THOMAS
  • Adam Thomas
  • Danny Rectenwald

Bastard Bearded Irishmen (BBI) fans may recognize Danny Rectenwald as the band’s mandolinist and guitar player. But the wild-party persona seen in BBI performances is just one public side of the musician. Last Friday, Rectenwald released his first solo album, Samadhi – a solo guitar project that is the complete opposite of the high-energy mood of BBI. 

Don’t expect to hear any drums, bass, or even vocals. The blissful 15-track album is a mix of Rectenwald’s own compositions and arrangements, as well as music from the classical guitar repertoire. With slow and relaxing meditative melodies and beats, Samadhi pairs well with any laid-back party, gathering, or yoga session which provided the inspiration for the album. 

“A while back my sister-in-law became a yoga instructor,” says Rectenwald, “and she said I should record an album that she could play during her classes. It got me thinking that I could make a guitar album for yoga, meditation, or relaxation. As I was deciding which pieces to include, I decided to make a meditative, relaxing album that wouldn't be just background music.”

Why this move to mellow music? The decision didn't come out of nowhere. Putting out an album comprised of classical guitar has always been a plan for Rectenwald. It was actually his original career goal – performing and making records with classical guitar. He’s been playing the instrument since he was 12 years old. 

“What started as a dream to play primarily classical guitar music has turned into a wild mixture of me performing many styles of guitar and mandolin,” says Rectenwald. “This album is me sharing my first musical language: classical guitar.”

Over the years Rectenwald has gotten more and more into mindfulness and meditation. The guitarist explained he wanted to make an album that reflected what he loved about the stillness achieved through meditation, and “the capacity for our hearts to open to our true nature.” That’s why he titled the album, Samadhi, which is a state of intense meditative focus.

With song titles like “Wait,” “Daffodil,” and “Rainbow Connection,” the softer side of Rectenwald is on display. Often, musicians are put in box, but with the release of Samadhi, and by being a part of Bastard Bearded Irishmen, Rectenwald is able to show multiple sides of himself as an artist, both rowdy and subdued. 

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