Monday, December 30, 2013

January Tour Dates

1/10 - Trollhaugen (Dresser, WI)
1/11 - Orpheum Theater (Hancock, MI)
1/15 - Fitger's Brewhouse
1/17 - Bo Diddley's (St. Cloud, MN)
1/18 - Richard G. Hardy Performing Arts Center (Cambridge, MN)
1/19 - Hell’s Kitchen Brunch w/Leo Welch (Minneapolis)
1/19 - Hymie’s Vintage Records w/Leo Welch (Minneapolis)
1/19 - 331 Club w/Leo Welch (Minneapolis)
1/19 - Ed's (No Name) Bar w/Leo Welch
1/22 - Fitger's Brewhouse
1/24 - "Frozen River Film Fest" @ Dib's Cafe (Winona, MN) (tix)
           *Meeting Charlie Parr Screening w/performance after.
           *Separate event. No other FRFF pass or tickets gains admittance.
1/25 - Sacred Heart Music Center (tix)
           *Duluth Hollandale release show
1/31 - Harbor City International School (Duluth)
            *"Raising Awareness for the Hungry and Homeless" 
              with Mary Bue and Rachael Kilgour

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Barn Swallows At Twilight

"The songs will never come out that way again, but that's alright," Parr says about the improvisational heart of his new material. "They'll come out some other way, and that's what I love about this style of music. Without lyrics occupying the songs, the (challenge) was to create something that makes sense. I was more relaxed recording than ever before."

Read more about Charlie's upcoming instrumental album Hollandale in the City Pages.

Tickets are on sale now for the release show at The Cedar Cultural Center on Feb. 1.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Live at the Brewhouse LP

Charlie returns to the Brewhouse on Dec. 18 for a Live at the Brewhouse LP release show. The release features a different set of songs taken from the 2006 Backslider shows and will be for sale at the Brewhouse and online. Proceeds from this album will go to Loaves and Fishes. Limited edition: 300 hand-printed and numbered copies.

Order online from Fitger's Brewhouse website HERE.

Album artwork designed by Maxwell Mcgruder.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Caravan Du Nord interview

Bill DeVille and Charlie talk before his Caravan Du Nord concert in October. Video recorded by eSessionsStudios.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

WDVX Blue Plate Special

Charlie will be performing live on the WDVX program Blue Plate Special on Dec. 16 at noon EST. The program airs on WDVX 89.9FM Knoxville, TN and streams online at

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

December Tour Dates


12/4 - Fitger's Brewhouse

12/6 - Duke's Alehouse (Crystal Lake, IN)
12/7 - Sleepy Creek Vineyards (Fairmount, IL) (tix)
12/11 - The Village Idiot (Maumee, OH)
12/12 - Wolf Hills Brewing Co. (Abingdon, VA)
12/13 - The Pour House Music Hall (Raleigh, NC) (tix)
12/14 - MOTR Pub (Cincinnati, OH)
12/15 - Barley's Taproom (Knoxville, TN)
12/16 - Blue Plate Special on WDVX  (listen live on WDVX)

12/18Fitger's Brewhouse (live LP release show)
12/20 - Bayport BBQ (tix SOLD OUT)
12/21 - Oak Center General Store (Lake City, MN) (tix)
12/22 - Ed's (No Name) Bar  (Winona, MN)

12/27 - The Root Note (La Crosse, WI)
12/28 - "Snow Lights and Sound" at Hobgoblin Music (Red Wing, MN)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Radio Adelaide interview (11/07/13)

Minnesota Blues on Radio Adelaide, listen to the podcast HERE.  Interview and live performance of "True Friends" and “Last Freight Out Of Asheville."

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Tour Dates

California shows after the OZ tour wraps up:
11/14 - Urban Homestead (Pasadena) (tix)
11/15 - WORTH Street Reach fundraiser (Santa Barbara) (tix)
11/16 - Long Beach Folk Revival Festival (Long Beach) (tix)
11/16 - Solstice Skyline (Pasadena) (RSVP)

Sound Unseen Film and Music Festival (Saint Paul):
11/17 5pm: Meeting Charlie Parr screening with Charlie Parr and director Francois-Xavier Dubois at the McNally Smith College of Music (tix)
11/17 7pm: The Amsterdam Bar and Hall concert with Charlie Parr, Frankie Lee, and The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank (tix)

11/19 - The Hammond (Superior, WI)
11/20 - Fitger's Brewhouse
11/22 - Minocqua Brewing Company (Minocqua, WI) (tix)
11/23 - Grand Hotel Ballroom w/Joe and Vicki Price (La Crosse, WI) (tix)
11/27 - Fitger's Brewhouse

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Drawing Room interview (10/31/13)

Waleed Aly hosts Chris Wilson and Charlie Parr in a conversation about the impact globalization has on blues and roots music.  The segment concludes with an excellent performance of "Jimmy Bell" by Chris and Charlie.  

Listen to "Globalisation meets the Blues" on The Drawing Room HERE.

The Breakfast Spread interview (10/31/13)

Charlie talks touring and recording Barnswallow on "The Breadfast Spread" (PBS 106.7 FM), listen to the podcast HERE (begins around 126:00).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blind Boys of Alabama cover "Jubilee"

From Rolling Stone online: "The Blind Boys of Alabama haven't lost their spark over their seven-plus decade, and on their new track "Jubilee," the veteran gospel group finds bliss with Patty Griffin. "Are you ready for jubilee to come?" sing Griffin and the Boys over rambunctious piano and a smoldering call-and-response free-for-all. But that joy comes at price: material possessions and dear friends must be left behind. "Are you ready to turn in the keys to your mansion?" asks Griffin."

Read the full article and give a listen to "Jubilee" on the RS website.  The Justin Vernon produced I'll Find a Way is in stores now.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

KFAI House Party (10/16/13)

Charlie appeared on Harold's House Party yesterday and treated radio listeners to a Skip James cover and talked about his forthcoming recording project - an instrumental record with Alan Sparhawk.  He also talked about screen doors.  Stream the session HERE (two weeks only, begins around 81 min mark).

And it's the Fall Pledge Drive at KFAI so if you enjoy programs like Harold's House Party you can make a donation through their website.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bike Rides Session

Photo Credit: Chaperone Records
Check out Charlie's guest appearance on the Austin, MN based radio program Bike Rides featuring some great performances and lots of bike talk.

Listen to Bike Rides live on Fridays at 1:00 pm Central on 91.3 FM in Austin, 89.7 FM in Mankato and find previous shows in their online archive.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Austin Daily Herald article

“I’m kind of a long haul trucker who doesn’t deliver anything.”

Charlie talks travel and Minnesota roots with the Austin Daily Herald in advance of the Caravan du Nord show in Austin, read the full article HERE.

Updated:  Highlights from Parr's talk with The Current’s Bill DeVille before the show HERE.

Caravan du Nord
Facebook page for Parr show
Paramount Theatre

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Current's "Artist of the Month"

"Charlie Parr didn’t get discovered on a televised singing contest. He didn’t have a YouTube video go viral. Charlie doesn’t employ a stylist and he’s not likely to be a cover model anytime soon. Yet, Charlie Parr is a popular guy. He has a devoted fan base throughout the Midwest, not to mention a dedicated following in Australia and the United Kingdom. He sells records around the world, and he’s done so by being himself. Never has the label of a man’s musical style (traditional, authentic) ever seemed so apt a descriptor for the man himself."

Read the entire article by Walt Dizzo on the Local Current Blog.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Argus Leader Interview

"I started playing when I was around 7 or 8. I didn’t take any lessons, so it’s been a lifelong journey figuring stuff out. There was a seminal point in my teens where I think I realized that I had learned so many things kind of the wrong way that, at this point, taking actual guitar lessons would be wasted on me."

Read the full interview: "Inspiration thrives in Minnesota for country blues musician."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Barnswallow" on Bird Songs

A new recording of the instrumental tune "Barnswallow" appears on Bird Songs, a compilation by House of Mercy Recordings and companion CD to Rev Debbie Blue's book Consider the Birds.

1. The Great Speckled Bird / Blood Washed Band        
2. Pigeon (On the White Line) / C.P. Larson        
3. Gray Highway / The Roe Family Singers        
4. His Eye Is On the Sparrow / Angel Sanchez        
5. Early Bird / The Neighborly Deeds       
6. Awake / John Hermanson        
7. I'll Follow You / Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers        
8. Darkest Feathers / Douglas Trail-Johnson        
9. Great Bird / Brett Larson    
10. Lonesome Bird / Jon Rodine        
11. Barnswallow / Charlie Parr        
12. Rooster / Dewi Sant       
13. Song of the Bird / The Cactus Blossoms       
14. Hope's Too Hard / Kate Campbell       
15. Albatross / The Neighborly Deeds

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Corpse Reviver

Corpse Reviver's CD release show with Charlie Parr is coming up next week at The Cedar.  It's going to be a good one and tickets are still available so grab 'em HERE while you can.

Corpse Reviver's first album, I'll Be Rested When the Roll is Called, has been available digitally on their Bandcamp page for some time now, give it a listen below:

The City Pages interviewed them recently about the release and the article serves as a good introduction to the band if you're not familiar with them yet: "Corpse Reviver: Culture got a kick in the ass from the Anthology of American Folk Music."

Hymie's Vintage Records put together a nice review that includes an overview and selections from the Anthology of American Folk Music: "An introduction to the Corpse Reviver album."

Listen to a more in-depth interview with KQAL along with some clips from their Boats and Bluegrass show last year: The Live Feed Presents: Corpse Reviver

And thanks to Tommy the Beard for recording the entire Boats and Bluegrass set:

Video by Mirlen Nelson from the opening set with Spider John Koerner joining Charlie and Mikkel on stage:

Corpse Reviver Facebook
Bandcamp Page

Friday, August 30, 2013

I Dreamed I Saw Paul Bunyan Last Night LP

Chaperone Records will soon be releasing a soundtrack to the Meeting Charlie Parr documentary titled I Dreamed I Saw Paul Bunyan Last Night.  Details about the release on the Chaperone website here and pre-order here.  The LP will be out on Sept. 24 and includes a DVD of the film and a digital download of the soundtrack with bonus tracks.  Limited edition of 200.

MP3s of the full 13 song soundtrack can be purchased through iTunes and Google Play.

I Dreamed I Saw Paul Bunyan Last Night

1. Midnight Has Come and Gone
2. 1890
3. Coffee's Gone Cold
4. True Friends
5. Jesus on the Mainline
6. Just Like Today

7. Cheap Wine
8. Rattlesnake
9. Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The American Soundtrack interview

"I think that everything that I’ve done or seen or heard influences my writing and I end up with a lot of threads that include a mash-up of philosophers/philosophy/theology/advice from my Dad/advice from my Mom/advice from homeless Vietnam veterans/bits and pieces of songs and stories from others like Robert Pete Williams, Bukka White, Jack Rose, Gabe Carter/observations from my kids/observations from my dog/conversations with the mailman/conversations with the guy who fixed my furnace..." 

Read the full interview at The American Soundtrack

Monday, August 19, 2013

Christian McShane interview

Begin by talking a bit about how you and Charlie first met and began playing music together.

Back in 2000, I had just started working with Aaron Molina in Duluth, MN, on what would become the band "if thousands". An old friend of mine named Elliot Harris stopped by our practice space one night and wanted me to listen to a cassette he recorded of a guy named Charlie who was new in town. I had no idea anyone played that kind of music anymore, much less as honest as I heard. When Elliot told me it wasn't some kind of archival recording and Charlie was indeed alive and lived in Duluth, I didn't believe him.

I'm fairly sure the first time I ever played with Charlie was on King Earl. Charlie and my own band (if thousands) were performing a lot around that time, and we were both beginning to get reputations around the Duluth & Minneapolis music scenes on different sides of the fence: Charlie on the folk/blues side; and if thousands on the rock/experimental side. He had all our albums up to that point (which surprised the heck out of me) and we had all of his (which surprised him). To this day, I'm sure he's still the only musician of his genre that's an if thousands fan. Usually, musicians from those two sides of the fence are repelled by one another. Still, we became friends regardless of what kind of music we played (which is the way it should be, anyway).

Back to King Earl. Charlie knew I used a theremin in if thousands. One day, he said we should play together. He on resonator, me on theremin. I told him he was crazy. I said it would never work because they were too dissimilar instrumentally. Charlie said his resonator was from the 1920's and the theremin was from the same era, so it would be fine. He convinced me, even though I thought it would sound awful.

We began recording "Miner's Lament" in the same fashion that I would revisit on many future recordings. There was no practice, no rehearsals. Just an "ok, let's go!" from Charlie and down goes the record button with me grinding my teeth in front of my theremin, hoping I could keep my hands steady enough to hit solid notes. That was "Miner's Lament", as well as everything else I've ever recorded with him thus far. One take, no practice (because there's never enough time anyway) and that's it.

There's an immensely simplistic beauty in recording this way. Most musicians record a song to death in order to get it "right", and in the end, there's something lost. If you beat a song to death with retakes, overdubs, effects, and recording tricks, it loses it's original fire. Charlie though - - what you're hearing on his albums is first takes. Real Charlie, always. If a second or third take actually gets on an album, it's because something major was awry like recording problems, broken strings, dogs barking in the background, etc.

Rooster sounds very different than King Earl, I would describe it as maybe broader or more expansive. Was creating a more diverse sounding album something you guys talked about before the recording sessions?

Yes. Those days were some of the best times I've ever had in my life, musically speaking. I also haven't laughed as hard since. At the time, Charlie and I were working together a great deal on a side project called "Devil's Flying Machine". In the end, I think we accidentally influenced each other a little without trying. At that time, Rooster ended up being broader and expansive (like if thousands). A large chunk of if thousands' album released at around the same time (i have nothing) ended up being largely acoustic (like everything Charlie does). To this day, I continue to accent more on acoustic instruments over electronica in if thousands, and it seems like Charlie has at least one drony, intense song on all his albums. It's just one of those nice things that happens when musicians collaborate in the right way. Or maybe I'm just full of it.

Which Rooster songs did you perform on?

Ukelin on "Dead Cat On The Line."
Cello on "Bethlehem."
Rhythm guitar on "Wild Bill Jones."
Rhythm guitar on "Ellen Mayhem."

This Ukeline discography has an entry for your (or the devil's) Ukelin. What's the story behind that instrument?

The Ukelin is a bizarre thing. A friend of mine, Haley Bonar, was working in an antique shop in Duluth around that time and called me to let me know that a weird instrument was in her store. Of course, I went as soon as I could and bought it for $50. I had no idea what the heck it was, but it looked old and cool. It smelled like a farmhouse basement. After researching (and trying to play it) I found out that the Ukelin is a beastly amalgamation of a ukulele and a violin from the early 1900s. It's nearly impossible to play. No, actually, it's definitely impossible to play. I've heard sound files of "professional ukelinists" and it still makes you squint. People find them all the time in the rafters of old homes and stuff and think they're worth a bunch of money, when in reality they're worth about $50. There was a reason why the last person hid the thing in the rafters.

However, you can also make some of the most ungodly teeth-grinding, crappy sounds with it, which is all I can do with it. If you could bow a dying seagull, it would sound like a Ukelin. Charlie insisted I use it on the album. On "Dead Cat" there's a strange sound in the background that starts around 3:00 and sounds like feedback from Charlie's resonator. That's the Ukelin. Since then, it's come unglued and nearly snapped in half, so I glued it back together and bought a special clamp to hold it in place. My wife wishes I'd throw it away but I can't seem to part with it. Charlie nicknamed it "the devil's own ukelin". I believe it truly is from hell.

The Devil's Flying Machine was mostly active around this time period. Can you talk a little about what you and Charlie were trying to accomplish musically with the band and how that project evolved?

The band name comes from a recording from the one & only Reverend J.M. Gates called "Devil In A Flying Machine". Charlie & I were driving around one day listening to an archival recording and thought it would make one of the best band names ever, so we made a band. It was originally meant to be a drone-inspired project, focusing on the somewhat creepy, dark, death-heavy underbelly of old folk music in the vein of Doc Boggs and the like. We practiced honing this idea for quite some time, but we found that audiences went crazy whenever we played the super fast foot stomping stuff, so we gravitated in that direction and grew farther and farther from the original idea. Not long after, we added David Frankenfeld on drums and an old gas can instead of a snare. It's an old worn-out yarn, but we really had no idea the band would get as popular as it did. We thought everyone would ignore us. Near the end of the first hiatus (around 2007), about 300-500 people would show up whenever we performed. Then we took a break, as Charlie's touring schedule became more intense. We decided to give it another try in 2012 with a much larger band. Charlie, myself, a drummer, upright bassist, violinist, harpist and a washboard player. The audiences went crazy, but it was a bit too much. We barely fit on stage and it was even farther away from the original idea. The Devil's Flying Machine is currently on yet another hiatus until we figure out what the heck we want to do with it.

Any other memories or stories from the Rooster sessions you'd like to share?

"Wild Bill Jones" was a total accident and wasn't originally planned to be on the album. I heard Charlie perform it once on stage and really liked it. We were sitting around waiting for Tom (Herbers, the recording engineer) to set some things up and I told Charlie we should give it a try just for the heck of it. We did just one take of the song. The scratchy vinyl record sound to the song is actually Charlie's finger picks hitting the banjo head while he's playing.

Finally, tell us about what you've been up to lately and whether you'll be working on some new if thousands material in the near future.

if thousands will be releasing their first full-length album since 2005 this Fall (2013). It will be available for free on our website. My wife, Jessy, myself, and our son Payton currently live on a small hobby farm where we raise heirloom chickens and red wattle pigs. We're signing the papers this week on a 40-acre farm about an hour southeast of Duluth and we'll be moving before Thanksgiving this year. In addition to what we currently do, we'll also be raising turkeys, sheep, milking goats, and cattle in due time. With any luck, moving closer to Duluth will allow me to perform more often like the old days!  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

An oral history of Rooster

Charlie Parr: "Those songs on Rooster, most of them were written around the time that most of King Earl was written, which was over a period of time from about 1997-2004. I had tried to write a short story which had turned into a short novel and I passed it to a friend who was also a very good writer and an honest man and he told me that it wasn’t very good although it had its moments. So I took those moments and made songs out of them. “Cheap Wine”, “Gone”, “Public Record Rag”, “Samuel Grady”, “Dead Cat on the Line”, and “One Eyed-Jack” are all from that bad little book, which might explain why they all feel related, at least to me. The little book focused in on a neighborhood and a pretty unsavory shut-in named Eddie who narrates the action from his window, making up a good part of the story that he can’t really see but feels qualified to make conjectures about. So it’s a series of digressions that start from a simple event but by the end of the story you’re left kind of wondering if the initial event wasn’t the only real thing in the whole story. Anyway it was a bad idea and the digressions ended up being better songs in any case.

My favorite song on the record is “Bethlehem” and that had to do with a dream (nightmare) I had about my Dad after he’d passed on. When I woke up, trying to remember the dream and figure it out (all I can see from it now is my Dad lying in a giant kidney-shaped pan in a hospital corridor and me yelling up and down the halls for help but there was no one around) for some reason I started thinking about Herod. I thought about what kind of horror it must be for any parent in any time to lose a child because of some greed for power or money or nonsense like that. Then the song showed up.

The traditional songs on the record are “Samson & Delilah”, taken from both Blind Willie Johnson (who was arrested for singing it in front of a local government building) and Reverend Gary Davis; and “Wild Bill Jones”, an old murder ballad that was covered by the great Dock Boggs and had a powerful effect on me and my relationship to the banjo.

It was a great time, recording this record. Tom Herbers brought up all sorts of cool old gear including the largest ribbon mic that ever lived, we had a bunch of good friends stop by including Molly Maher and Dave Carroll, Karl Anderson played bass and my friend Christian McShane brought a thing called a “Ukelin” over, which we decided must be satan’s favorite instrument (at least his particular one, which made us all cringe). Mikkel and I lined up behind the giant microphone and we just played, like we always played, and made it work. Not much changes around here."

Tom Herbers: "Rooster was all recorded live to analog tape, using one microphone. No mixers or compressors or equalizers were involved in the recording. The "mixing" of Charlie's voice, guitar etc. was accomplished by moving the microphone around until the proper balance was achieved. This is true for all the guest players as well. Players and instruments were moved around the room in relation to Charlie and the microphone. This is a classic technique that was used in the early days of music recording. We were all set up in one room at the school, so we would record some, listen to a playback through a single studio monitor speaker, make adjustments as needed and then record again. That was the basic process. The microphone we used was a beautifully restored RCA 77A ribbon, circa 1932. (Special thanks to Wes Schuck at Two Fish Studios in Mankato for loaning us the microphone for the sessions.) The microphone was plugged into a vacuum tube Ampex MX10 mic preamp and from there, straight into one channel of an Ampex ATR-102 half inch 2 track recorder. Glorious mono sound."

Mikkel Beckmen (washboard/percussion): "Coming off of the immensely well-received King Earl Record, which Charlie and i recorded live in about 3 minutes, the success of which i think puzzled Parr, Rooster required a bit more science as we were using a huge, ancient microphone that took two people to lift and which, like some Galilean solar system rendering, required us all to orbit around its central location in an old boxing studio somewhere in downtown Duluth, measured off at different lengths depending on the loudness of the instrument being played. I, like Pluto or Neptune, or some Gospodorian roadside monument, floated furthest out, around the 15 foot mark. It was June 2005 and people everywhere had been on the march in Seattle, in Genoa and Cancun, demanding an end to globalization, and what Subcommandante Marcos called a global machine that devours flesh and defecates money, while ever mellow Duluth stayed cool by the lake. We also stayed cool in the dusty, dormant gymnasium, methodically and professionally creating a backdrop of sounds to accompany Charlie's take on the human condition and collection of stories - of farmers driven from their land to the bar, of oppressed women in the madhouse, cheap wine drinkers, desperate workers. Well prepared as always, and working efficiently, Charlie led us through the songs, and after 1 or 2 takes we moved through the process with ease. It seemed at the time that all of us were tired fathers of toddlers or infants. That, coupled with the almost church-like and serious atmosphere of a sparring gym, where everyone whispered a lot and went about as if in a museum, created, i think, an intensity that is clearly heard in Cheap Wine, Bethlehem, Ellen Mayhem and indeed the entire thing. I may have driven up to Duluth and home again to Minneapolis in a single day, enriched and filled with quiet satisfaction. That session was 8 years ago and now I am sitting here in Oregon waiting to play a show with Charlie and we will play some of those songs and they will be new all over again."

Dave Carroll (banjo/"Rooster"): "When Charlie asked if I would record a tune with him for his Rooster album I was thrilled. I had been a fan of Charlie for a few years so I was also pretty nervous. The studio space was huge, and so was the mic we recorded with. It was as big as a football. Charlie played the song once while I figured out my own part, and then we recorded it. I think it took us 2 takes. The whole experience was awesome. I was really new at recording, as well as playing, and Charlie made it easy on me. I'll never forget it."

Molly Maher (slide guitar/"Cheap Wine"): "When Charlie asked me to play on "Cheap Wine", I think I asked him, "Why?" I was living in a studio above Third Ear, where he recorded it. I remember coming down stairs, walking into the studio and saw 2 mics set up. One for him and one for me. Really my knees were shaking. I had just realized we were tracking live together. I'm not a strong lead player, hell, I'm not a strong guitar player in general. Once Charlie started singing though, I was swept up in the story. Swept up in the melody. I'm still haunted by his phrasing. I can hear him singing the word "I". I remember the way it came out from his mouth, the way he sang it, the story he was telling.

A while later, I got to play the song with him at the Turf for the release of the record. It felt so good to be back inside the story with Charlie. Here's a photo from that night."

Karl Anderson (upright bass): "The remarkable thing about recording Rooster was the marriage between Charlie’s production style and the recording equipment he used. Any other modern studio session involves a lot of “punching in” with recording software to correct bad notes, adjust vocal and instrumental intonation issues, add harmonies or other backing instruments, etc. Charlie didn’t want the manufactured sound, and the vintage equipment he found didn’t allow for that kind of editing. We all played acoustically into one giant old ribbon mic, so once the tape started rolling there was no going back to change what happened. As a result, when you listen to Rooster you hear exactly what you would have heard if you were with us in the studio instead of the illusion you get from other albums."

Christian McShane (Ukelin, guitar, cello): "Those days were some of the best times I've ever had in my life, musically speaking. I also haven't laughed as hard since. At the time, Charlie and I were working together a great deal on a side project called "Devil's Flying Machine". In the end, I think we accidentally influenced each other a little without trying. At that time, Rooster ended up being broader and expansive (like if thousands). A large chunk of if thousands' album released at around the same time (i have nothing) ended up being largely acoustic (like everything Charlie does). To this day, I continue to accent more on acoustic instruments over electronica in if thousands, and it seems like Charlie has at least one drony, intense song on all his albums. It's just one of those nice things that happens when musicians collaborate in the right way. Or maybe I'm just full of it."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rooster LP

Get your copy of the new Rooster LP from Chaperone Records and check out their post about the release, Rooster Redux.

Download a free Chaperone Records 2013 sampler.

Some reviews and interviews from the original album release:

Charlie Parr's New Weird America (City Pages)

Rambles.NET review

Charlie Parr's Rooster and the Case for Authenticity (Flak Magazine)

The Turnpike interview and performance

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Temperance River Blues

Listen to the Charlie Parr/The Murder of Crows track "Temperance River Blues" from the upcoming Industry​.​Peace​.​Environment. One compilation.  Stream below courtesy of The Arrowhead Story.

A first run of the CD is being released later this July followed by a formal release in Sept.  Order a CD and/or digital version HERE.  Read more about the project on The Arrowhead Story FB page and "Northern MN artists drop politically charged mining album."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Live from the Divide

LIVE FROM THE DIVIDE is a radio broadcast created simply as a "A Celebration of the American Songwriter". The 60 minute show features regionally established & legendary songwriters alike. 

Listen to Charlie's session HERE.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Live at the Louisiana (5/28/13)

Recorded by symran3.

Charlie Parr
The Louisiana
Bristol, UK

Motorcycle Blues
Worried Blues
Coffee's Gone Cold
Cheap Wine
Don't Send Your Child to War
Ain't No Grave
Eli Green

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hermit Music Festival interview

Interview reprinted from Hermit Music Festival website:

“I guess it’s a weird way to play sometimes.” Those are the words of Charlie Parr, reflecting back on how he learned to play guitar, starting when he was 7 or 8 years old. “I was in a tiny little town which was a great little place, but not a lot of people were playing music that I liked.”

So when his dad got him a guitar, he learned to play by listening to records, listening to the songs he wanted to play, and trying to copy the songs he heard. “Weird things come out of that music,” he reminded me.

I spoke with Charlie Parr by telephone on an afternoon in mid-May as he was preparing for a three-week tour in Europe. He was at his home in Duluth on what he called the first nice day in Minnesota this year. “Everybody’s outside wearing shorts and taking down their Christmas decorations.”
Parr started playing a traditional wooden guitar, but eventually found the instrument he is known for today, a National Reso-Phonic guitar. “The National guitar spun my head around,” he said. “It was all I could think about.”

I asked him about his approach to songwriting. “I wanted to write stories,” Parr told me. “I wanted to write like Raymond Carver, stories that were startling and real.” He says most of his songs start with foggy ideas, and over the years he has learned to pay attention to those ideas. “I kinda know when I should pay attention.” Once the idea hits he starts fitting it into song form – verses, choruses, bridges. “But then I think about a song like ‘Pretty Polly’ which has no chorus. Dock Boggs isn’t gonna give anybody a break.”

A lot of people I know listen to music all shuffled up by an iPod or some other means. But artists still tend to put out music in the form of albums. When I asked Parr about this, he said he always thinks in albums. For example, on his most recent record Barnswallow, he found songs he wanted to record but they just didn’t fit. I asked if listeners were missing anything if they didn’t listen to his records from the first track to the last. “I have a foot on both sides of that fence,” he offered. “I’m not writing a rock opera.” After mulling over some of the pros and cons of various listening experiences, he came to this conclusion. “People do what they need to do.”

Many of my favorite tunes Charlie Parr sings are gospel songs. I asked if he learned those from growing up in church. It turns out he learned them from records. “We went to a Methodist church until I was about 5. Then we didn’t go anymore. My dad didn’t like to be inside, and he didn’t like to be preached to. But he did have a beautiful singing voice, a beautiful baritone, and in church I’d just listen to him sing.”

Parr plays quite a number of gospel songs he learned from oldtime mountain music records, particularly those based on styles from before the second world war. He mentioned the Goodbye, Babylon box set and releases from the Tompkins Square label. “I’d buy it all up.” He plays gospel music because he likes it. “And if God likes it too, double bonus!”


The Hermit Music Festival is July 26th and 27th in Kuna, Idaho.  Charlie is the Friday night headliner.  Click here for ticket info.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

KQAL's The Live Feed: Charlie Parr and the Blood Washed Band

This edition of KQAL's "The Live Feed" features an interview with The Blood Washed Band and live performances from their set at last year's Boats and Bluegrass with Charlie and Emily.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Meeting Charlie Parr news

Meeting Charlie Parr will be shown at the Duluth Superior Film Festival later this month with director Francois Xavier Dubois on hand to present the film. Check here for details and ticket info.

The film will premiere at Parr's upcoming show in Paris on May 27th at le Sentier des Halles.  The Meeting team was recently interviewed by Gigs in Paris.  Listen below (segment starts around 15:30):

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ain't No Grave in Los Angeles

"Ain't No Grave" and "Don't Send Your Child to War" with Mikkel and Dave recorded live at The Echo by Heyday Media.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Southwest Tour Dates

The Barnswallow tour continues with a stop in Iowa then onto the Southwest.

05/04/13 - DG's Taphouse, Ames, IA 
05/05/13 - Mercury Lounge, Tulsa, OK
05/08/13 - Hopkins Icehouse, Texarkana, AR
05/09/13 - Live Oak Music Hall, Fort Worth, TX
05/10/13 - Dan's Silverleaf, Denton, TX
05/11/13 - Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, Austin, TX

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Jesus is a Hobo" in Uncut

The free compilation CD in this month's Uncut magazine (May 2013) features the Barnswallow tune "Jesus is a Hobo."

Strange Brew
1. The Flowers Of Hell - Mr. Tambourine Man  
2. Hollis Brown  Ride On The Train  
3. Blank Realm - Pendulum Swing 
4. Steve Earle & The Dukes (And Duchesses) - Burnin' It Down  
5. Crime & The City Solution - My Love Takes Me There 
6. The Soft Hills - Dear Mr Moonlight  
7. Life Coach - Fireball  
8. The Desoto Caucus - Leaving Odessa 
9. Barn Owl - The Long Shadow  
10. John Murray - California 
 11. Lower Plenty - Nullarbor  
12. Todd Rundgren - In My Mouth 
13. Charlie Parr - Jesus Is A Hobo  
14. The Kingsbury Manx  
15. Rick Redbeard - Kelvin Grove

4onthefloor's Hard Rain

Charlie and Sarah Kruger provide guest vocals on the track "Hard Rain" on 4onthefloor's new release Spirit of Minneapolis.  Stream the tune below courtesy of the band.

You can purchase the album in a variety of formats on the band's website.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Meeting Charlie Parr updates

Things are rolling along with the Meeting Charlie Parr documentary.  Check out the teaser trailer below:
Meeting Charlie Parr - Teaser from meetingcharlieparr on Vimeo.

The filmmakers have also started a KissKissBankBank page (similar to Kickstarter) to help finance the final stages of this project. Funds will be used to cover expenses for the DVD pressing and production costs. You can contribute HERE and receive some cool rewards like a digital live album and a copy of the DVD.  The documentary will debut at Charlie's show at Le Sentier des Halles in Paris on May 27th. Visit the filmmakers fundraising page for more details.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Westwardly Migration Patterns of the Minnesota Barnswallow

The Barnswallow tour continues out West!
Too many Tom Waits quotes to choose from!

03/28/13 - The Filling Station, Bozeman, MT 
03/29/13 - The Badlander, Missoula, MT
03/30/13 - Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR
03/31/13 - Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA 
04/01/13 - The Axe & Fiddle, Cottage Grove, OR
04/02/13 - Hotel Utah, San Francisco, CA
04/03/13 - The Crepe Place, Santa Cruz, CA
04/04/13 - The Echo & Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA
04/05/13 - The Sanctuary, Santa Monica, CA
04/08/13 - Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City, UT
04/10/13 - Hodi's Half Note, Fort Collins, CO
04/11/13 - Hi-Dive, Denver, CO
04/13/13 - Front Range Barbeque, Colorado Springs, CO

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grand Rapids Herald-Review interview

"I love to read, and I’m really influenced by books, especially by writers like Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner. I also like Steinbeck and Barry Hannah. The ones that kind of grab me the most ended up seeping into the songs, especially Raymond Carver, because he had such an amazing way of taking normal things -- maybe not normal, but people get divorced all the time, and you don’t really pay that much attention to it. And Raymond Carver takes things like that, and turns them into these events! You read those things and you realize after you finished that: 1. You just read 20 pages about the most mundane thing in the world; and 2. He turned it into the most horrifying thing, because it is! But we gloss over that."

Read the full interview: Ten Minutes with Charlie Parr

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lamusicahabla interview

Charlie talks about life on the road and the powerful effect Mance Lipscomb's music had on him in this interview with Lamusicahabla

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Charlie Parr Discusses Barnswallow" (Uprooted Music Revue interview)

Charlie Parr Discusses "Barnswallow"
Interview by Chris Mateer
March 11, 2013
Reprinted from Uprooted Music Revue blog

The last time I spoke with Charlie Parr, we dug through his rich musical history and personal evolution as a songwriter. It was a lengthy chat that has stood as one of my favorite interviews. When I heard the news at the end of last year that Charlie had a new album in the works for spring of '13, I reached out to check in with him to line up another interview.

Not only did he happily agree to answering my questions, he send me an advance copy of the new album along with some unexpected treasures: a rare import CD and two beautifully printed limited edition vinyl records that have been out of print for some time now! This is just the kind of guy Charlie is: a generous soul who is eager to share his music with fans that love it. I am thrilled to share my new interview with Charlie about his new record, Barnswallow.

Did you know what kind of record you wanted Barnswallow to be overall, or did it come together more song-by-song?

Charlie Parr: Not really, I did record more songs than I needed and some of them didn't fit, so I'll keep working on those for the next one. The songs had all been written from late 2010 up to now, so they span a pretty wide area for me since I normally write in clumps, time-wise. I did go into this one thinking about recording a 'live to tape' style record which was very much what we did, the whole thing took about three total hours and it's almost all first takes.

Which tunes came first and how did they set the course for the record?

Charlie: The earliest songs were ballads and 3 of those were cut. "Jesus is a Hobo" and "Badger" were the ones left over, and all the rest are pretty upbeat. The livelier songs kind of took over and set the tone for the record.

Who are the players and your collaborators on the album? Can you share how you see their contributions regarding the writing and recording of the record?

Charlie: Mikkel Beckmen (washboard et al) has been a friend and collaborator for years and years and Dave Hundrieser (harmonica) is a close friend and neighbor of mine. We did this record more like a band, I think, would do. I played a bit of the song, they jumped in and as the song moved to accommodate them, we got how it wanted to sound and hit record. It would have been completely different without them, and I think it wouldn't have had the energy it has.

What were you listening to during your writing and recording of Barnswallow?

Charlie: I've been listening to a lot of folk-blues and particularly Dave Ray and John Koerner who are heroes of mine. They carried the tradition forward and that's been my goal for a long time, even though I have a long ways to go.

What were some of your non-musical sources of inspiration?

Charlie: I'm influenced by just about everything, especially the landscape around Duluth and Winona. The lakes and the river really seem to energize me and get me moving to write. Also, the weather has a big effect on me, and I think it seeps into the songs either when they're written or when they're performed.

How would you describe your songwriting process?

Charlie: I've never really thought of myself as having much of a process, and what of it there is changes all the time. Sometimes I come up with a story I'd like to tell, and set to hammering it into a song or a scrap of melody that's buzzing around in my head and sometimes I have the whole song show up at once and feel like I'm learning it whole from somewhere else. It doesn't feel very organized, in either case.

Was there a tune(s) that set the course for Barnswallow?

Charlie: We figured out a good way to play "True Friends" pretty early on, and that seemed to be the way to go from then on, kind of taking it as it comes and letting the songs fill whatever space they wanted to. Not to be too organic about it, but it felt right, and I don't like pretending that I know what I'm doing when it's clear that I don't. I usually don't.

Can you discuss the title of the album and the cover art?

Charlie: I wrote a banjo instrumental called "Barnswallow" and decided to leave it off the record. But Jamie Harper had already painted that beautiful cover art and so it had to stay. Plus Joe Tadie wrote this great essay about Barnswallows ... I really like them, anyway, they're very plentiful around the river watching them fly is pretty amazing.

What would you say are the biggest similarities between Barnswallow with your previous records?

Charlie: The way we recorded it, as a more or less live show, is my favorite way to record and the way I've relied on most. Also having these friends involved made it very comfortable for me, and that's a big deal. I don't like feeling too much pressure, and will go to great lengths to avoid it. That's been my mantra for all the time I've gotten to make records.

What aspects would you say sets it most apart for you?

Charlie: I think I've gotten a little bit more the hang of writing songs, and am kind of embracing the idea that songs are just a slice of whatever time you record or play them in and it's ok to go ahead and keep working on them after they're recorded and they might become different. I don't think I understood that before.

I'm really looking forward to seeing you at Mississippi Studios in Portland, OR on March 30th. What are your plans for 2013?

Charlie: I'm looking forward to Portland, too, I love MS Studios! I've got a lot of touring planned for '13 and maybe an instrumental record or another gospel record or a combination for late this summer/early fall. Also an EP for Tin Angel in the UK, and 2 UK/European tours, plus an Australian tour this fall... Things are going well.

At home I'm going to build a treehouse with my son, and possibly build a chicken coop underneath the porch that would have some access to the basement. Then we'll need some chickens ... I also have plans to outfit my pickup with some kind of camper/topper. Stuff like that. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

More 2013 UK and European Tour Dates Announced

Tour dates from Tin Angel Records:

05/19/13 -Monarch, Berlin, DE 
05/20/13 -De Unie, Rotterdam, NL 
05/21/13 -De Kargadoor, Utrecht, NL 
05/22/13 -Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL 
05/23/13 -Qbus, Leiden, NL 
05/24/13 -Kaffee t’Hof, Middelburg, NL 
05/28/13 -Louisiana, Bristol, UK (TicketWeb) (SeeTickets) 
05/29/13 -Bridge Inn, Exeter, UK  
05/30/13 -The Greystones, Sheffield, UK (tickets)
05/31/13 -St Mary Magdalen’s Church, Coventry, UK (tickets)

06/01/13 -Douglas Studio, Edinburgh, UK 
06/02/13 -Glee Club, Nottingham, UK (tickets) 
06/03/13 -Burston Crown, Burston, UK
 06/04/13 -The Slaughtered Lamb, London, UK (WeGotTickets) (SeeTickets) 
06/05/13 -The Slaughtered Lamb, London, UK (WeGotTickets) (SeeTickets)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Music City Roots

Charlie's performance on Music City Roots will be streamed live on Wednesday, March 6th at 7pm CST. Other artists on the bill for the evening include Johnny Swim, The McCrary Sisters, Alanna Royale, and The Danberrys. Watch the show at or on the Music City Roots website.

Charlie's set kicked off the evening and he was interviewed after The Danberrys performed. Watch the archived show below:

Watch live streaming video from musiccityroots at