Pair glass of vino with Charlie Parr
Minnesota folk musician great Charlie Parr performs at Falconer Vineyards Saturday Aug. 30. The show starts at 6:30 p.m.
The self-taught guitarist and banjo player grew up without a television but with his dad's recordings of America's musical founding fathers, including Charley Patton and Lightnin' Hopkins, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly inspired his taste and knack rhythm.
Parr uses three instruments, not including his own stomping foot. He got an 1890 banjo the first time he heard Dock Boggs.
"I don't do claw hammer, I don't do Scruggs-style, it's just a version of me trying to play like Dock Boggs, I guess," Parr said.
He uses two Nationals, a 12-string and a Resonator, which became an obsession when Parr saw a picture of Son House playing it.
"The first time I got my paws on one, I went into debt to buy it," he said. "Nationals are fun because they are as much mechanical as instrumental; you can take them apart and put them back together again."
On an overseas tour, the neck of the Resonator broke in baggage, so he played the guitar by shimming the neck inside the body with Popsicle sticks.
"It solidifies your relationship with the instrument so much: It's as much part of you as anything else."
Parr’s latest album “Hollandale” was released early this year and is his 12th studio release – the first that is completely instrumental.
He has recorded in warehouses, garages, basements and storefronts, usually on vintage equipment.
He says his inspiration is drawn from the alternately fertile and frozen soil of Minnesota.
Parr grew up in the Hormel company city of Austin. The combination of industrial meat factory where both of his parents worked proud union jobs, set in a largely rural environment, had a broad impact on Parr. "Every morning you'd hear the (factory) whistles blow. When I was a kid they had the stockyards and animals there, so you were surrounded by this atmosphere," Parr said. "My mom and dad would come home from work, their smocks would be covered by paprika and gore."
But out the back door were soybean fields, as far as the eye could see. "As a kid I thought it was kind of boring, but now I go and visit my mom and I think it's the most beautiful landscape there is."
Averaging three to four shows per week, year round, the Duluth-based musician says faith, though undefined, underlines all his music both in the listening, covering, writing and performing.
If you go …
Who: Charlie Parr
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30
Where: Falconer Vineyards, 3572 Old Tyler Road, Red Wing
More info: 651-388-8849 or www.charlieparr.com