Live Virtual Session: Charlie Parr at Sounds Like Home

Charlie Parr performs a set of songs as part of The Current's virtual Sounds Like Home Festival. (MPR)

Over the weekend of May 15-17, The Current hosted Sounds Like Home: a virtual festival of Minnesota music. You can find all the performances archived on The Current's Facebook page, and we're also sharing the archived sessions one by one on YouTube. Thanks to the Minnesota Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which allowed us to compensate artists for their performances.

"There's something so right about listening to Charlie Parr on a Sunday," said host Andrea Swensson after Parr's performance of "On Stealing a Sailboat." It's true. Parr's music resonates best off the wooden blanks of back porches, against an open view of a constellation, or between the banks of a charming river.

The piedmont-style (a specific finger-picking mode of blues) music that Parr's perfected has taken him far: he's traveled all across the country and done extended tours in Australia. To date, the 52-year-old has released two compilations, 15 studio albums, and countless vinyl releases.

Parr is an artist who is, both socially and artistically, preserved in amber. He has never owned a computer and much of his success has been achieved by word-of-mouth. He has also never owned a computer. "The way I've been living my life prior to this has mostly been on the road," Parr explained. "The thing I've always enjoyed the most about what I do is performing and going to places to play in theaters, clubs, bars and getting to meet people. You don't need a computer for that."

Despite being a relentlessly 20th century experience, Parr's knapsack folk music feels especially pertinent for this moment. The Duluth native weaves hope into his stories of melancholy and longing; the reverb of this twelve-string like a lighthouse guiding exhausted sailors to shore.

Songs performed

01:41 "Mag Wheels"
06:35 "On Stealing a Sailboat"
16:58 "Over the Red Cedar"

Hosted by Andrea Swensson
Produced by Jesse Wiza
Engineered by Erik Stromstad
Web feature by Caleb Brennan

External link

Charlie Parr - official site