Duluth Artist Charlie Parr Records For Smithsonian Folkways Records
Charlie Parr is a name most people around our area know well. He has been a writer and musician for some time and has built a name for himself.
I first heard about Charlie when I went to Chester Bowl a lot for the music series there. I could tell he had his own style. I noticed his unique voice then and that is what has kept him a fan favorite with his fans and wins him new fans all the time.
His new album is called "Last Of The Better Days Ahead" and it's kind of a "poke fun at himself" title. As Charlie Parr tells Folkways, it's talking about the fact that he is getting older and his perspective is changing. He says his Mom told him there comes an age in your life that one starts remembering the past more than you look toward the future. He said to Folkways that there are more songs that look back than look forward.
The new album is on the Smithsonian label, which some of Charlie Parr's idols have recorded for, like Peet Seger and Arlo Guthrie. Charlie tells Minnesota Monthly that it still hasn't sunk in that he is on the same record label that his father used to collect of some of the best folk music ever. Parr goes on to say it was a relaxed experience because Smithsonian Folkways was so easy to work with.
When asked how to describe his music, Charlie Parr told Minnesota Monthly;
I don’t care what it’s called. I think it’s music. I’ve been using terms like folk and blues, just because people are concerned about it. They want to know:
What is it? I get that. Especially, people who are dipping their toe into music, they’re scared and they want to know what they’re getting themselves into. And the deeper you go, the less it matters. If you envision music like a river, by the time you get to the middle of the river, you’re in it now and it doesn’t matter what it’s called.
Charlie Parr revealed to Minnesota Monthly that he had to finally talk about mental illness and wanted to show his humorous side. Parr says this is the best record he has ever done because the Pandemic made him face a lot of things about himself that he never looked at and the songs became more honest for him.
Here is an example of one of the tracks from the record.