An easily confused and very shy individual, Charlie Parr has been traveling around singing his songs ever since leaving Austin Minnesota in the 1980's in search of Spider John Koerner, whom he found about 100 miles north at the Viking Bar one Sunday night. The experience changed his life, made him more or less unemployable, and brings us to now: Resonator fueled folk songs from Duluth Minnesota - 3 recordings, 250 shows a year or more, 200,000 miles on a well broke in Kia, and a nasty fear of heights.
Percussive and raw, Charlie Parr creates music that sound like it could be lost field recordings from another era. His blistering picking - he switches between acoustic guitar, dobro and banjo - and keening, cut-through-the crowd vocals resonate with a conviction that runs deep and true.
It's the music of a self-taught guitarist and banjo player who grew up listening to his dad's recordings of America's musical founding fathers, including Charley Patton and Lightnin' Hopkins, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. His heartfelt and plaintive original folk blues and traditional spirituals don't strive for authenticity, they are authentic.
Most of his recordings to date have eschewed typical studio settings; he's recorded in warehouses, garages, basements and storefronts, usually on vintage equipment, which gives his work the historic feel of field recordings. It's not because he wants to sound like he was discovered 75 years ago by Alan Lomax, it's because most modern recording studios make the reticent and self-effacing Parr feel uncomfortable.
After a health scare a few years back, he lives very simply, no alcohol and a vegan diet, often cooking up his rice and beans on his engine manifold on the lonely, cross-country drives. He doesn't go in much for fashion and frills and lives simply on the road.