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Charlie Parr Brings Roots Music to the State Theatre

Charlie Parr

ZUMBROTA — Charlie Parr's heartfelt and plaintive original folk blues and traditional spirituals don't strive for authenticity: They are authentic. Crossings brings Parr to the State Theatre at 7:30 p.m., Fri., Feb. 10.

It's the music of a self-taught guitarist and banjo player who grew up without a TV but with his dad's recordings of America's musical founding fathers, including Charley Patton and Lightnin' Hopkins, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly.

With his long scraggly hair, "Father Time" beard, thrift-store workingman's flannel and jeans, and emphatic, throaty voice, Parr looks and sounds the part entirely.

"I Ain't Dead Yet," Parr's 2016 release, is the five-song EP that captures his blistering energy and features all but one new original, with one cover; Parr's own reworking of the traditional tune "Old Dog Blues."

The limited edition 10-inch record from Red House Records is on black vinyl and features cover art by the Duluth-based artist Shawna Gilmore.

Parr released a studio album, "Stumpjumper," in Spring 2015. Long a part of the vibrant Duluth music scene (Low, Trampled by Turtles), Parr traveled to North Carolina to record this album with fellow musician Phil Cook (Megafaun, Hiss Golden Messenger). This is the first album Parr recorded outside of Minnesota and the first to feature a full band.

Percussive and raw, the 11 songs on "Stumpjumper," (10 originals and his version of the venerable murder ballad, "Delia") could be lost field recordings from another era. He switches between acoustic guitar, dobro and banjo and his keening, cut-through-the-crowd vocals resonate with a conviction that runs deep and true.

Parr plays an 1890 banjo, a 12-string guitar and a resonator. Most of his recordings, including "Roustabout" (2008), "Jubilee" (2007), "Rooster" (2005), "King Earl" (2004), "1922" (2002) and "Criminals and Sinners" (2001) eschew typical studio settings. He has recorded in warehouses, garages, basements and storefronts, usually on vintage equipment, which gives his work the historic feel of field recordings.

A beloved regional artist, with a fan base spanning as far as Ireland and Australia, Parr, who grew up in Austin, draws inspiration from the alternately fertile and frozen soil of Minnesota.

Tickets are $16 in advance, $19 day of show. To reserve tickets, visit, call 507-732-7616, or stop in to Crossings at 320 East Ave.