Saturday, August 5 • 1:30pm • The Bowl
Many people play roots music, but few modern musicians live those roots like Minnesota’s Charlie Parr. Recording since the earliest days of the 21st century, Parr’s heartfelt and plaintive original folk blues and traditional spirituals don’t strive for authenticity: They are authentic. It’s the music of a self-taught guitarist and banjo player who grew up without a TV but with his dad’s recordings of America’s musical founding fathers, including Charley Patton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. With his long scraggly hair, father-time beard, thrift-store workingman’s flannel and jeans, and emphatic, throaty voice, Parr looks and sounds like he would have fit right into Harry Smith’s “Anthology of American Folk Music.”
Taking his acoustic blues and folk to the darkest edges of town via driving arrangements which emphasize steam-driven tempos and a doom-slinging attitude over spit and polish studio shine, Parr nonetheless manages to sound breathtakingly immediate and authentically antiquated at the same time. Musically and visually Parr resides in a pre-television world of front porch blues, roadhouse bars, and Sears catalog guitars, while maintaining that sound which will keep his music current for generations to come.