Alexandre de Guise – Can’t Be In Vain

“Guitar virtuoso, singer/songwriter/composer with international experience and credits. Versatile, top level profile in various music styles ranging from Early music and Classics to modern Pop/Rock, Blues, Hard’n’Heavy, Neo-Classic fusion and more.”

This is Alexadre de Guise’s description and it just scrapes the surface. Over the last twenty years I have not only been an independent artist but I have always taken the time to recognize other independent artists who live for their music. Alexandre de Guise LaMarque is one of those artists. He is a classically trained guitarist and has worked with the likes of Nickolai Noskov (Gorky Park) and Andy Whitmore (Terence Trent D’Arby) and has done session work across Eastern Europe. Did I mention that Alexandre hails from Russia?

December 24, 2005 marked the official release of Alexandre de Guise LaMarque’s CD, Can’t Be In Vain (Digipack Golden Limited Edition) in Moscow, along with his live DVD entitled Live in Red Square, Moscow.

When I first heard this Russian virtuoso, I had stumbled onto his site by sheer chance. At the time the only music I could access were some incredible classical arrangements where the featured instrument was guitar. The release of his long awaited Can’t Be In Vain further proves the versatility of this Russian artist. I would best describe the musical genre of this disc as Adult Contemporary and light Progressive Rock with a touch of Celtic Folk.

I actually heard a preview from this CD earlier in the year and was pleasantly surprised to hear this ‘other side’ of Alexandre de Guise. The first cut Fly My Dove, Fly reminds me a bit of something Paul McCartney might have written at the time that, I felt, he was at his peak (late Beatles/ early Wings.) It had a somewhat emotional appeal. Later, when I actually received the disc, I took the time to analyze the music from a musical standpoint. (What do you expect? I’m a musician.) The full-length version of Fly My Dove, Fly clocks in at almost eight minutes in length, but there is also a radio version that has been edited down to less than four minutes. Despite Alexandre’s mildly thick accent his vocal is very appealing and he is very articulate and I do prefer the eight-minute version of the song. The arrangement is awesome. Like the entire CD, this song is fully orchestrated with an array of instrumentation. There is so much detail. It’s almost hard to believe that an independent artist, on the kind of budget many of us have to work with, could produce a record like this.

It’s fairly common to see a single artist take all the credits for a project in the independent world but it is rare that the artist is actually adept in all those departments. Alexandre is an exception to the rule. There is no part that has not received careful attention by this artist. Other key songs on this disc are Love Will Remain and the song containing the disc’s title, I Can Never Explain (Can’t Be In Vain). Although, I have to disagree with Alexandre because I think he explained it perfectly. It can’t be in vain.