The authentic voice of America

It comes as something of a surprise to discover that Charlie Parr has taken to Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, 10th August 2016, 17:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th August 2016, 18:04 pm
Charlie Parr

They may be among the few concessions he makes to 21st century modernity. For Parr is a performer of folk and country blues with deep traditional roots, reflecting the influences he picked up from his father’s recordings – the likes of Charley Patton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly.

He lives the life, too, travelling around in a battered car to 250 gigs a year or more, following a trail that can be traced back to leaving Austin, Minnesota in the 1980s to pursue performances by folk hero Spider John Koerner.

Apparently, after a health scare a few years back, he lives very simply, with no alcohol and on a vegan diet, cooking up rice and beans on his engine manifold and usually sleeping in his car.

His travel arrangements remain to be seen when he visits The Greystones on Saturday, August 13, no doubt playing songs from his latest album, Stumpjumper.

Certainly, Sheffield is getting an authentic voice of America – one that has been recorded in warehouses, garages, basements and storefronts, usually on vintage equipment.

On stage, too, he keeps alive the spirit.

Parr told one American newspaper: “I can appreciate a lot of other kinds of music — classical music, jazz or rock ’n’ roll.

“But I don’t get the sense that I’m eligible to participate in all of that.

“Folk music is all of ours… Whether you like the music or not, it’s accessible to everybody.”

He takes the music seriously, but not himself.

His Twitter account introduces: “One man, one guitar, one foot in the grave.”

l ‘Yorkshire bluesman’ Richard Kitson will perform his own material as well as some classic blues/folk standards during a show at The Greystones next Saturday, August 20.