Charlie Parr: Charlie Parr
Last August, Charlie Parr was skateboarding with his daughter and took a spill that shattered his shoulder. After surgery, it seemed doubtful he’d play guitar again. Against doctor’s orders, he began picking as soon as he could hold the instrument, and he was quickly back in the studio, making Charlie Parr . On this album, he rearranges songs that have been part of his show for decades, as well as offering two covers and a few new numbers. “Cheap Wine” and “Asa Jones’ Blues” are two parts of a quadrilogy of songs that was originally conceived as a short story about a liquor store owner who kills a homeless man and is eventually killed himself. Parr’s intricate resonatorguitar picking and Dave Hundrieser’s harmonica fills make the scenario come alive with dramatic vividness. Parr’s 12-string turns “Mag Wheels” into a quasi-talking blues tune that describes an older man coming to terms with the opportunities he let pass him by. Parr gives Spider John Koerner’s “Running, Jumping, Standing Still” a jaunty workout with his exuberant guitar work. He plays ex-Husker Dü drummer Grant Hart’s “Twenty-Five Forty-One” as a mellow folk-rock tune, while “Jubilee” is a modern reading of the biblical Jubilee year when slaves were liberated and debts forgiven. People often talk about the blues being timeless, and that rings true for Parr and the songs on this album. Given the current sad state of America, they’ll be just as compelling, and poignant, years from now as the day they were written.