Charlie Parr, the Duluth, MN based virtuoso, has long been making music but spent most of his years working with the homeless throughout the Northern Minnesota region, while playing shows at night. His observations from his time spent working with the less fortunate, coupled with his own life path make for a rich well of stories to draw upon. Those day-in-the-life narratives together with his incredible acumen as a guitarist have rightfully earned him his rabid fanbase both here in the US and in Europe.
Dog, Parr’s new album which is just out, is his most personal record yet. It’s an album that focuses on emotional issues, issues of mental health and the existential examinations of life, the soul, and the purpose of life and living. Originally, Charlie had planned to record these songs stripped down and alone but at the urging of a friend, he ended up asking his most trusted collaborators to play on the record. Experimental folk artist Jeff Mitchell, percussionist Mikkel Beckman, harmonica player Dave Hundreiser, and bassist Liz Draper, who traded her typical upright bass in for an electric at Charlie’s request, found an instant chemistry in the studio, capturing some of the tracks on the first take.
With fingers flying like a hornet’s nest knocked on its side, Peaceful Valley is a song for devil-may-care hermits and hoarders that could very easily be pitch-black, but offers some self-deprecating light at it’s end. It „came from me trying to write a sad song and it got much too sad, so I re-purposed the bulk of it with this kind of silly-sounding junk rag I’d been kicking around,“ Parr tells NPR.