Friday, November 14, 2014

Violitionist Session

3 Songs and 3 Questions from Denton, Texas. See the performances and read the interview at

Live from Studio A (9/11/14)

Charlie Parr and Ben Weaver perform songs from their split 7" "Ramblin' Bones Outlastin' You" live in KUMD's studio A.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

November Tour Dates

11/01 - Minocqua Brewing Company (Minocqua, WI)
11/05 - Fitger's Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)
11/06 - Devil's Flying Machine @ Red Herring Lounge (Duluth) 
11/07 - The Turf Club (St. Paul, MN)
11/08 - Russell's Bar (Annandale, MN)
11/09 - Minnesota History Center (SOLD OUT)
11/12 - Rochester Civic Theatre (Rochester, MN)
11/14 - Three Springs Barn (SOLD OUT)
11/15 - Owatonna Arts Center (Owatonna, MN)
11/18 - "Take It With You" live radio theatre @ The Underground (Duluth)
11/19 - Fitger's Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)
11/21 - Prairie Berry East Bank (Sioux Falls, SD)
11/22 - Little Big Fest (Des Moines, IA)
11/26 - Austin VFW (Austin, MN) *
11/28 - Hell's Kitchen (Minneapolis, MN) #
11/29 - Red Herring Lounge (Duluth) #
11/30 - Ed's (no name) Bar (Winona, MN) #

* Show is being recorded for live album
# w/ Leo 'Bud' Welch

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Dave Ray, A Legacy" : CD release and celebration

"Dave Ray, A Legacy" : CD release and celebration
featuring performances by Spider John Koerner, Tony Glover, Charlie Parr, Camille Baudoin, John Beach Band, Willie Murphy & Max Ray, Bingham & Thorne, David Babb & Randy Webb, and Jeff Dagenhardt

More details and tickets link HERE.

Monday, September 29, 2014

October Tour Dates

10/01 - Club Cafe (Pittsburgh, PA)
10/02 - The Bop Shop (Rochester, NY)
10/03 - The Monkey House (Winooski, VT)
10/04 - Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 (New York, NY)
10/05 - Atwood's Tavern (Cambridge, MA)
10/06 - Cafe Nine (New Haven, CT)
10/08 - Burlap and Bean (Newtown Square, PA)
10/09 - Gypsy Sally's (Washington, DC) #
10/10 - Haw River Ballroom (Saxapahaw, NC) *
10/11 - The Pour House (Raleigh, NC) @
10/14 - Barley's Taproom (Knoxville, TN)
10/16 - Deep Blues Festival (Clarksdale, MS)
10/17 - The BEATnik (New Orleans, LA)
10/18 - Satori Coffee (Mobile, AL)
10/20 - Mercury Lounge (Tulsa, OK)
10/22 - Lucky's Everyday (Wichita, KS) %
10/23 - Replay Lounge (Lawrence, KS)
10/24 - Donnie's Homespun (Springfield, IL)
10/25 - Fitzgerald's Nightclub (Berwyn, IL)
10/30 - Beaner's Central (Duluth, MN)

# opening for TR3
* with Phil Cook and Ryan Gustafson
@ with Phil Cook
% opening for Crushed Out

Thursday, September 25, 2014

While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records

"While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records" will be released on November 18th as a limited edition double CD or triple vinyl. Charlie covers Devil in a Woodpile's "Manifold" for the release.

Full track list and pre-order info HERE.

Rolling Stone previews the album HERE.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Manifold Destiny article

"The thing about cooking food on the exhaust manifold of your car is that small things can make a big difference in the results you get, so the type of car, engine size, weather (a big one), traffic and even time of day can throw everything off. And there's no good way to achieve any kind of consistency, which many folks will find very frustrating when a meal works very well one day and is a disaster the next. It's all part of the trip, though. One day you eat the tamale, one day the tamale falls off the motor onto highway 99 and a crow eats it."

Read the full article (including recipes for a three course manifold meal) written by Charlie at Peninsula Pulse.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Repost: Lost Duluth Soundtrack

Watch Lost Duluth, a historical documentary with an original soundtrack by Charlie that aired on WDSE•WRPT based on the book "Lost Duluth" by Tony Dierckins & Maryanne C. Norton.

Charlie says the songs are all improvs built around a couple old songs, variations on a theme from 'Poor Boy, Long Ways from Home,' etc. Stream the entire soundtrack below.

September Tour Dates

9/3 - Fitger's Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)
9/4 - Rourke Art Museum (Moorhead, MN)
9/5 - Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen (Crystal Lake, IL)
9/6 - The Varsity Center for the Arts (Carbondale, IL)
9/10 - Fitger's Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)
9/11 - Red Herring Lounge (Duluth, MN) *
9/12 - The Waterfront Bar and Grill (Menomonie, WI)
9/13 - Door County Brewing (Baileys Harbor, WI)
9/17 - Fitger's Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)
9/18 - The Mill (Iowa City, IA)
9/19 - DG's Tap House (Ames, IA)
9/20 - Midtown Tavern (Mankato, MN)
9/22 - Papa Charlie's @ Lutsen (Lutsen, MN)
9/24 - Fitger's Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)
9/25 - Boats and Bluegrass (Winona, MN)
9/26 - The Orpheum Theater (Hancock, MI)
9/27 - Richardson Nature Center (Bloomington, MN)

* w/ Ben Weaver

Saturday, August 9, 2014

L'├ętoile Magazine interview

"I toured in an RV for a little while. Parts would fly off of it all over the place. I lost the awning the second day out. It unrolled, became like this big parachute just filled with air and I’m on the freeway going 75 miles an hour. It finally ripped off. Pulled to the side a bit and sped up trying to, well.. I saw it flying off in the back, and we just drove away, ya know?"

Read the full interview "Le Talk: Charlie Parr"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August Tour Dates

8/6 - Fitger's Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)
8/7 - Mile of Music (Appleton, WI)
8/8 - Mile of Music (Appleton, WI)
8/9 - Pizza Luce Block Party (Minneapolis, MN) 4pm
8/9 - Bayport BBQ (Bayport, MN) 8pm #
8/10 - Russell's Bar (Annandale, MN) #
8/14 - Ayre in the Square (Milwaukee, WI)
8/15 - The Icehouse (Minneapolis) *
8/16 - Free The Music Fest at Lakenenland (Chocolay Charter Township, MI)
8/17 - Ore Dock Brewing Company (Marquette, MI)
8/20 - Fitger's Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)
8/22 - Porcupine Mountains Music Festival (Ontonagon, MI)
8/23 - Porcupine Mountains Music Festival (Ontonagon, MI)
8/23 - Chaperone Records' Block Rockin Bday Bash (Duluth, MN) 9pm
8/24 - Austin ArtWorks Festival (Austin, MN)
8/27 - Fitger's Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)
8/28 - The Root Note (La Crosse, WI)
8/30 - Trollhaugen (Dresser, WI)
8/30 - Falconer Vineyards (Red Wing, MN)

# w/ Dave Arcari
* w/ Jack Klatt

Friday, July 18, 2014

Folkadelphia Session

1. Jesus On The Mainline
2. Badger
3. On Marrying a Woman with an Uncontrollable Temper
4. Cheap Wine
5. True Friends
6. 1890
7. Mastodon   
8. Temperance River Blues


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July Tour Dates

7/2 - Minocqua Brewing Company (Minocqua, WI)
7/4 - Nippersink Music and Arts Festival (Spring Grove, IL)
7/5 - Forest History Center (Grand Rapids, MN)
7/6 - Stoughton Opera House (Stoughton, WI) 4:15-5:30 outside
7/6 - Stoughton Opera House (Stoughton, WI) 7:30 opening for Iris Dement
7/9 - The Red Herring Lounge (Duluth, MN) *DFM show!
7/10 - Madeline Island Summer Film Series (La Pointe, WI)
7/11 - Buena Vista Music Fest (Bemidji, MN)
7/12 - Grumpy's Northeast Folk Festival (Minneapolis, MN)
7/13 - Wilkie Days (Winona, MN)
7/16 - Surfside 7 (Fort Collins, CO)
7/17 - The Garage on Beck (Salt Lake City, UT)
7/18 - Neurolux (Boise, ID)
7/19 - Willamina's Wildwood MusicFest (Sheridan, OR)
7/20 - Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture (Weed, CA)
7/21 - The Sanctuary (Arcata, CA)
7/22 - Crow's Feet Commons (Bend, OR)
7/25 - Top Hat Lounge (Missoula, MT)
7/26 - Oyster Ridge Music Festival (Kemmerer, WY)
7/29 - Tractor Tavern (Seattle, WA)
7/30 - The Green Frog (Bellingham, WA)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wisconsin Public Television: 30 Minute Music Hour

Charlie's "setlist"

Green Music Fest

Schedule for Sunday's Bike Powered Stage at Green Music Fest at Wicker Park in Chicago.

SUNDAY JUNE 22, 2014
7:30 - 8:30 Chicago Farmer
6:15 - 7:00  Charlie Parr
5:20 - 5:55 -  The Root Cause
4:40- 5:00 Pat McKillen
3:50 - 4:20 - Simpleton & Cityfolk
3:00 - 3:30 - Althea Grace
2:15 - 2:45 – Nick Fisher
1:45-2:00 - Pat McKillen
1:00 - 1:30 - Tarek Salam 22 Peace Movement
12:15 - 12:45 - Eugiene Grey

"I imagine that Charlie Parr will be tickled to play on the Green Music Fest’s bike-powered stage, which gets its juice from eight riders on stationary bicycles; he’s mounted a rack on his car in case he feels like taking his own bike on tour." Read the full article in Chicago Reader: Green Music Fest: Moon Taxi, the Features, AM Taxi, the Soil & the Sun, Charlie Parr, and others 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ramblin’ Bones Outlastin’ You

Limited edition Charlie Parr / Ben Weaver split 7" titled Ramblin’ Bones Outlastin’ You available now from Chaperone Records. Preview "Outlastin' You" below.

Side A: Ben Weaver - Ramblin' Bones
Side B: Charlie Parr - Outlastin' You

“I’m not content with much that we have given up. Even less content with what we have given it up for. Taken starlight from the surfaces of water, stolen from the night and the eyes of our kids by streetlights, empty office buildings, and constant progress. Whatever the forest had in mind before the wooden axels rolled up, that’s the voice I’m listening for. Not as an activist or provocateur, but a steward for what little is left. Ramblin’ Bones came from a thin place, somewhere in the Black Hills. On most days if there is a few feet of space between this world and the spirits, the place where I found Ramblin’ Bones was worn down to an inch or less. I’m willing to risk sentimentality or an over sincere jest to say these things, to preserve the rivers and box canyons, the needlework light in the tall pines, and the blank spaces on the map for the wolves, bears and my heart to wander.” -Ben Weaver

"One of the many little rivers called Red Cedar runs through Austin Minnesota where I was born and raised and I remember wading in it, and collecting valuable junk that had been left in it, fantasizing about jumping our bikes over it, trying to remove a beaver dam with a dull axe from a leaky rubber boat in it. This past plays havoc with my present and impacts my future. Rivers always bring it back to me that everything changes and some things change real fast like me and my little life and some things change slowly like rivers and hills and deserts. My present is built out of regret and worry and indescribable joy, it is both an apocalypse of fiery hail and a long boring Tuesday afternoon, but as long as I keep my eyes open it is my present: it is where I live right now." -Charlie Parr 

More about the release from Star Tribune : Ben Weaver wheels out Charlie Parr 7-inch before 26-inch tour dates

Saturday, May 31, 2014

June Tour Dates

6/1 - Grand Old Day (St. Paul, MN)
6/3 - Hymie's Vintage Records (Minneapolis, MN)
6/3 - Harriet Brewing (Minneapolis)
6/5 - Patrick's Cabaret (Minneapolis)
6/6 - Red Herring (Duluth)
6/6 - Rob's Mahtowa Tavern (Mahtowa, MN)
6/7 - Park Theater (Hayward, WI) (tix)
6/8 - Beaner's Central (Duluth, MN)
6/13 - The Old Jehova Hall (Wheaton, MN)
6/14 - Solstice Festival (Mankato, MN)
6/15 - Winona Arts Center (Winona, MN)
6/17 - Chester Bowl (Duluth, MN)
6/19 - The Orpheum Theater (Hancock, MI)
6/21 - Lake Ave. Live (Duluth, MN)
6/22 - Wicker Park's Green Music Fest (Chicago, IL)
6/22 - Beat Kitchen (Chicago, IL) (tix)
6/24 - Tuesday Night Blues (Eau Claire, WI)
6/26 - 2nd Street Stage (Park Rapids, MN)
6/27 - Paul Bunyan Days (Akeley, MN)
6/28 - Souris River Brewing (Minot, ND)
6/29 - Lakeview Terrance Park (Robbinsdale, MN) (tix)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wall of Power Radio Hour

Charlie, Spider John Koerner, David Morton, and Judy Larson discuss Bob Dylan's Minnesota roots in this episode of Wall of Power Radio hour hosted by Paul Metsa.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Green Room Session

The Green Room Sessions is a new series brought to you by the Nippersink Music & Arts Festival. Charlie will be performing at Nippersink on July 4th, tickets for the festival are on sale HERE.

Monday, April 28, 2014

May Tour Dates

5/1 - Turner Hall (Milwaukee, WI) (tix)
5/2 - Fitzgeralds Nightclub (Berwyn, IL) (tix)
5/3 - Martyrs' (Chicago, IL) (tix)
5/8 - Leo & Leona's Dancehall (Bangor, WI)
5/9 - The Turf Club (St. Paul, MN) (tix)
5/10 - The Aquarium (Fargo, ND) (tix)
5/11 - Ashland Folk Festival (Ashland, WI)
5/15 - Tent Show Radio @ The Grand Theater (Wausau, WI)
5/16 - Silver Dome Ballroom (Neillsville, WI)
5/17 - The Mousetrap (Eau Claire, WI)
5/21 - The Sh*tty Barn (Spring Green, WI) (tix)
5/22 - The Sh*tty Barn (Spring Green, WI) (tix)
5/23 - Eronel (Dubuque, IA)
5/24 - Revival Fest (Clarks Grove, MN)
5/29 - Duluth Dylan Fest @ Redstar Lounge (Duluth, MN)
5/30 - Amici's Event Center (Ely, MN)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

City Pages Best Of 2014

"But when the bearded Duluthian who dresses like he's been fixing his truck all afternoon — and he might've been — starts singing, he's not backing down."

Congratulations to Charlie on being awarded the 2014 Best Vocalist (Male) in the annual City Pages "Best of the Twin Cities." Read the full piece HERE.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

April Tour Dates

4/1 - The Garage on Beck (Salt Lake City, UT)*
4/2 - Dornan's (Moose, WY)*
4/3 - The Filling Station (Bozeman, MT) (tix)*
4/4 - The Top Hat (Missoula, MT) (tix)*
4/5 - Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR) (tix)*
4/6 - Tractor Tavern (Seattle, WA) (tix)*
4/8 - Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse (Berkeley, CA) (tix)
4/9 - The Crepe Place (Santa Cruz, CA) (tix)
4/11 - The Satellite (Los Angeles, CA) (tix)
4/15 - Standpipe Coffee House (Lufkin, TX)
4/16 - Fred's Texas Cafe (Fort Worth, TX)
4/17 - Dan's Silverleaf (Denton, TX) (tix)
4/18 - Mojo's (Columbia, MO)
4/19 - Taste of Whispering Beard @ Southgate House (Newport, KY) (tix)
4/24 - Mid West Music Fest (Winona, MN) (tix)
4/30 - Duluth Homegrown Music Festival (Duluth, MN) (tix)#  

* tour with Betse Ellis
# The Black-eyed Snakes with Charlie Parr

Friday, March 28, 2014

Western Tour with Betse Ellis

Kicks off tomorrow, see Facebook event page for more details and updates.

3/29 - Hi-Dive (Denver, CO) (tix)
3/30 - Park City House Concert (Peoa, UT)
4/1 - The Garage on Beck (Salt Lake City, UT)
4/2 - Dornan's (Moose, WY)
4/3 - The Filling Station (Bozeman, MT) (tix)
4/4 - The Top Hat (Missoula, MT) (tix)
4/5 - Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR) (tix)
4/6 - Tractor Tavern (Seattle, WA) (tix)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Couch by Couchwest

Watch Charlie perform his new song "On Marrying A Woman With An Uncontrollable Temper" on Chaperone Records' couch for Couch by Couchwest.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Arts Extract Interview

"I don’t have any kind of training in music, so everything has a bit of an improvisational feel to it, for me, at least, but these songs are 100 percent improvisation, except for the first couple of moments.

When I re-tuned my 12-string for example, to some of these tunings I wasn’t used to, I heard things happening that implied other things, and I found myself just kind of following—this is going to sound really hippie—I found myself kind of following the songs. If I got myself into funny corners, I’d just be patient and hang in there with it, and the funny corners would find a way to something that led out of it."

Charlie and Alan talk in-depth about Hollandale in this feature by Arts Extract titled "Charlie Parr and Alan Sparhawk: Moving Air Molecules Around."
Charlie Parr and Alan Sparhawk: Moving air molecules around - See more at:

WDRT Interview

Charlie Parr talks to WDRT about his upcoming concert in Viroqua at The Ark on March 22 and his new album Hollandale.

Acoustic Magazine Interview

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Caravan du Nord 2013: Live at the Paramount Theatre

OFF 90 Presents "Charlie Parr Live at the Historic Paramount Theatre" :
Worried Blues; True Friends; 1922 Blues; 1890; Union Tramp; Jesus is a Hobo; Mastadon; Coffee's Gone Cold; Cheap Wine; Stagger Lee; Just Like Today; Badger; Ain't No Grave; Don't Send Your Child to War

Bill DeVille and Charlie talk before the show.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March & Early April Tour Dates

3/1 - Cafe Club (Pittsburgh, PA) (tix)
3/5 - Fitger's Brewhouse
3/7 - Midtown Tavern (Mankato, MN)
3/8 - The Waterfront (Menomonie, WI)
3/9 - Ed's No Name Bar (Winona, MN)
3/12 - Fitger's Brewhouse
3/13 - AYNAH presents MEAL & MUSIC @ The Nicollet (Minneapolis, MN)
3/14 - Mountain Top Music Fest (Wakefield, MI)
3/15 - Stoughton Opera House (Stoughton, WI) (tix)
3/19 - Papa Charlie's at Lutsen Moutain Resort (Lutsen, MN)
3/21 - Minocqua Brewing Company (Minocqua, WI) (tix)
3/22 - The ARK (Viroqua, WI) (tix)

Goin' Out West
3/26 - Front Range BBQ (Colorado Springs, CO)
3/27 - Surfside Seven (Fort Collins, CO)
3/28 - Oskar Blues Grill & Brew (Lyons, CO)
3/29 - Hi-Dive (Denver, CO) (tix)*
3/30 - Park City House Concert (Peoa, UT)*
4/1 - The Garage on Beck (Salt Lake City, UT)*
4/2 - Dornan's (Moose, WY)*
4/3 - The Filling Station (Bozeman, MT) (tix)*
4/4 - The Top Hat (Missoula, MT) (tix)*
4/5 - Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR) (tix)*
4/6 - Tractor Tavern (Seattle, WA) (tix)*
4/8 - Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse (Berkeley, CA) (tix)
4/9 - The Crepe Place (Santa Cruz, CA) (tix)
4/11 - The Satellite (Los Angeles, CA) (tix)

*with Betse Ellis (of the Wilders) 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Watch Charlie's recent performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts HERE.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Daytrotter Session Vinyl

Charlie's session is now available on vinyl from Daytrotter. You can get a copy of the record free with a new annual Daytrotter membership or order it through their online store HERE.

Dale Watson (Side A)
1. I'll Show Ya
2. Tequila, Whiskey and Beer
3. Who Needs This Man?
4. Mamas Don't Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be Babies

Charlie Parr (Side B)
1. Motorcycle Blues
2. Temperance River Blues
3. True Friends
4. My Wife Left Me

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rochester Campus Times Interview

"It was not nice – it wasn’t like the friendly, happy Paul Bunyon. It was really a bad thing.  It was scaring the crap out of me, and I was running through the woods trying to find a place that I could hide from this menacing lumberjack. I had told Alan about that dream, and it was on my mind when I was working out that particular tune. It’s in this banjo-inspired tuning from double C, you know, “C G C G C C”. It’s very drone-y. It’s more or less thinking about that bad dream."

Read the full article "Charlie Parr and the Truth" in Campus Times.

Democrat and Chronicle Interview

"It hasn't been above zero degrees in weeks," he says. "When it's 27 degrees below zero, you can actually see the air hanging around, because it's frozen. When it's 27 below zero, you can sit down and die."

Read the full article "Parr's Music Evokes a Bygone Era" at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle website. Parr will perform at the Bop Shop in Rochester, NY on Feb. 20th.

Friday, January 31, 2014

City Pages Interview

"I have been easing a lot of this style of playing into my sets this past year. Anyone who's seen me in the last year has heard my more instrumental, improvised stuff. I did a show the other night with Alan Sparhawk at Sacred Heart and we did the whole thing. I mixed in my other stuff, it felt really natural."

Charlie talks Hollandale, upcoming recording projects with Davina Sowers and Phil Cook, and his ice-bike with City Pages. Read the full article: "With this job, there's no way to retire."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

February Tour Dates

2/1 - The Cedar Cultural Center (Minneapolis) SOLD OUT
2/5 - Fitger's Brewhouse
2/7 - Eronel (Dubuque, IA)
2/8 - Bayport BBQ (Bayport, MN)
2/12 - Fitger's Brewhouse
2/13 - The Gramophone w/Chicago Farmer (St. Louis, MO) (tix)
2/14 - The Castle Theatre w/Chicago Farmer (Bloomington, IL) (tix)
2/15 - Winter Roots at Mackey's Hideout (McHenry, IL)
2/19 - Tip Top Deluxe w/Nathan Kalish (Grand Rapids, MI) (tix)
2/20 - Bop Shop Records (Rochester, NY)
2/21 - Higher Ground w/Gold Town (South Burlington, VT) (tix)
2/22 - HubBub Coffee w/Ryan Petrillo, Snagwing (Philadelphia, PA)
2/23 - Chameleon Club (Lancaster, PA) (tix)
2/24 - Cafe Nine w/Orb Mellon (New Haven, CT) (tix)
2/26 - John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC)
2/27 - Atwood's Tavern (Cambridge, MA) (tix)
2/28 - Rockwood Music Hall (New York, NY) (tix)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hollandale Pre-Sale and Release Shows

From Chaperone Records:

All pre-orders come hand-signed by Charlie Parr and include a 320kbps MP3 digital download, AND on the day you pre-order from Chaperone, you will also receive the single, "Clearlake" delivered via email.

T-shirts are 100% cotton, natural color, S-XXL.

Posters are 18x24", hand screen-printed on 100 lb. on French craft paper, hand-numbered run of 200.

Tickets for the Duluth release show on Jan. 25 with opening acts Jerree Small and Ben Weaver.

Tickets for the Minneapolis release show on Feb. 1 with Chicago Farmer are SOLD OUT.

Hollandale tracklist
01. I Dreamed I Saw Paul Bunyan Last Night (pt. 1)
02. Hollandale
03. I Dreamed I Saw Paul Bunyan Last Night (pt. 2)
04. Barn Swallows At Twilight
05. Clearlake

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hollandale Interview

You've talked about the folk and blues influences found in your dad's record collection and how those musicians impacted you. What solo guitar or instrumental musicians influenced your style or development as a guitar player?

I first heard Leo Kottke when I was really young, that Armadillo record is still one of my very favorite records, and Kottke led me to listen to Fahey and Lang and Basho and eventually to obsessively seek out all kinds of solo guitarists. At home I listen to mostly instrumental guitar music lately, and have been lucky enough to strike up friendships with players who have inspired me like Dakota Dave Hull, Peter Lang, and Paul Metzger.

Photos by Nath Dresser

Talk about working with Alan Sparhawk and how this collaboration came about. You've both worked with Chaperone Records before, can you also talk a bit about the label and if there are plans to reissue any more of your older albums?

Alan is also one the players who have been a big inspiration to me, both as a musician and as a friend. He carries a real sense of self-confidence with him that makes recording an easier experience for me. I had told him how much I'd like to record an instrumental record and how much the thought scared me. My confidence over the past couple years has been pretty weak, but Alan was extremely encouraging and recording at his house was very comfortable. Chaperone's been great - they're friends, plus they're in my town and connected to a lot of Duluth artists and musicians. We won't be doing any more reissues as far as I can tell, but I hope to release other new records with them if they're willing.

Was this a difficult album to record? How did it compare to other recording experiences?

Not really difficult, just very different. I normally record with a set number of tunes, and I know them from start to finish. Here I started with a tuning, and maybe a couple of phrases, and then improvised the rest. I got into tight spots and worked my way out of them, and finished when I thought I was done. The tunings are variations on open D and open C and the songs are improvisations that build off of the tunings. Nothing real fancy...

Do you start with an image or idea and create music around it, or does the music come first and the title later? And how does that relate to the album title?

While I was playing these songs, I let my mind wander to wherever it wanted to wander to. I titled the songs later to reflect whatever it was I was thinking about at the time. Hollandale is simply the landscape around Hollandale, MN where I spent a good part of my childhood. It's beautiful, slight rolling hills, rich farmland, with yard lights that you can see from 5 miles away. It's mostly landscapes, something to focus on while yr playing that keeps you in line, so that the piece (hopefully) will reflect a kind of continuity of thought rather than just a random collection of figures.

"I Dreamed I saw Paul Bunyan last Night" had me thinking about a nightmare where Bunyan terrorizes me during a hike in the woods. "Hollandale" is looking out over the fields, the town is like an island in the middle of them, and imagining what it was like when it was all swamp and then thinking ahead to when they were drained for farmland (my grandpa was there and helped with that). "Clearlake" is a dear friend, and thinking about the Mississippi river running behind her house, and "Paul Bunyan" is the north at night and noises in the woods that make yr hair stand on end.

Will you be doing any completely instrumental shows?

I'm planning on playing one or maybe 2 of the songs during shows, but probably not the whole thing and not exclusively. The songs are long, and I like singing, too.

You played a few shows with Jack Rose in 2008. What do you remember about watching him perform?

I was lucky enough to know and play a few times with Jack Rose, and I'm still inspired by the memory of him. He played a show with me in Duluth when the folks wanted to dance and I didn't know how they'd react to instrumental guitar music. Jack was a powerful guy, and stormed into his set and dropped jaws and kept the dancers moving and saying "holy shit" for days. I'm grateful to have seen him play. I was profoundly moved by his music, and I appreciated how uncompromising he was in making that music. He was full of life, when we talked, and it made me happy to know that he was out there somewhere.

Who are some of your current favorite instrumental musicians?

Daniel Bachman, Steve Gunn, Glenn Jones, Daniel Higgs, Paul Metzger, Bill Orcutt, Cian Nugent (Desert Heat is amazing), Mike Gangloff, there are a bunch out there ... and I know my record doesn't belong anywhere near any of these folks, but I guess I really did it mostly for me in any case.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Get On Board

"Get on Board" is an original song written for the Minnesota History Center's "Then Now Wow" exhibit.