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Doors open at 7PM | Show starts at 7:30PM | 21+ | $15 Advance | $17 Day of Show
Charlie Parr’s new album, Last of The Better Days Ahead, is a collection of powerful songs about how one looks back on a life lived, as well as forward on what’s still to come. Its spare production foregrounds Parr’s poetic lyricism, his expressive, gritty voice ringing clear over deft acoustic guitar playing that references folk and blues motifs in Parr’s own exploratory, idiosyncratic style.
“Last of the Better Days Ahead is a way for me to refer to the times I’m living in,” says Parr. “I’m getting on in years, experiencing a shift in perspective that was once described by my mom as ‘a time when we turn from gazing into the future to gazing back at the past, as if we’re adrift in the current, slowly turning around.’ Some songs came from meditations on the fact that the portion of our brain devoted to memory is also the portion responsible for imagination, and what that entails for the collected experiences that we refer to as our lives. Other songs are cultivated primarily from the imagination, but also contain memories of what may be a real landscape, or at least one inspired by vivid dreaming.”
On his Smithsonian Folkways debut, there’s something resoundingly new. The faithful will find an even more intense focus upon the word, and folks new to this titan of international folk-blues will discover poetry so clear and pure it feels like he wrote it with an icicle on a window. Over the course of a prolific career spanning 13 full-length albums, the Duluth virtuoso has earned a passionate following for his strikingly candid songwriting and raw stage presence.
Parr’s work digs deeply into his personal experiences with depression and the existential questions that weigh on it. “Parr is a master storyteller,” said PopMatters. “One can’t help but come back and marvel at his ability to make us believe that we know each of [his] characters or that, maybe, there’s some part of them in each of us.” Mojo said of his most recent effort, “Parr continues to spin life’s small details into profound lyrical observations of acceptance and wonder….the further adventures of a guitar-picking great.”
Born and raised in Austin, Minnesota, Charlie Parr first grabbed a guitar at age 8. To date, he has never had a formal lesson, but wows crowds with his incredible fingerpicking on his 12 string baritone resonator, guitar, and banjo. All that locomotive melodic work is simply the scenery in the tales he’s spinning lyrically. Early in his career, Parr was employed by the Salvation Army as an outreach worker. He spent his days tracking the homeless in Minneapolis, providing blankets and resources. But they offered him something greater in return. The experience completely rewired him and left him with a newfound respect for human resilience. And along the way, he collected stories from the folks he would meet. These characters continue to show up in Parr’s songs even today.
Throughout Charlie’s music you can hear his sense of place. These are songs from the iron country. They are tales from the paper mill. You can hear the fisheries and the Boundary Waters. In Last of the Better Days, you are met by someone who prizes quiet reflection over hustle and who shuns distraction for a long walk in the woods. “It’s one thing to be able to say that I’m not what I own or what I do,” says Parr, “but it still leaves behind the original question of what am I unanswered.”
S U P E R I O R S I R E N is an all-female Eerie Folk project created on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. The music vexes listeners with alluring vocals, haunting melodies, and mesmerizing blends of strings and percussion. Superior Siren is led by singer-songwriter and guitarist Laura Sellner. Since her solo debut in 2012, the musician has continued to enchant audiences with songs of unfeigned honesty and heartfelt emotions. In 2015, Sellner joined forces with cellist Rachel Gobin, bassist Nyssa Krause, and drummer Emma Deaner to craft a dark and raw folk sound.
S U P E R I O R S I R E N released the debut, self-titled, full-length album on January 12, 2018. The collection of songs, written by Laura Sellner, portrays the waves of raw emotion and alluring intensity that lives within the music. The album features four songs previously released on the solo Superior Siren EP Lotus in the Muck. Those tracks have since grown in captivation with the talents of a minimalistic band: cellist Rachel Gobin, bassist Nyssa Krause, and drummer Emma Deaner. The remaining six songs of new material complete the album with swells of enchanting melodies and moods of ominous storms. The album will intrigue listeners with dream-like serenades and eerie echoes of doom.