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