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BGS 5+5: Charlie Parr

Oct 1, 2019

BGS 5+5: Charlie Parr

Artist: Charlie Parr
Hometown: Duluth, Minnesota
Latest album: Charlie Parr
Personal nicknames: Jeff, my actual first name. My mom calls me Jeff.

Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?

Koerner, Ray & Glover have probably had the biggest impact on me as a musician, and it’s hard to put into words exactly how. When I moved to Minneapolis in the ’80s there was so much amazing music everywhere you looked and each scene had a certain vibe to it, from jazz, funk, the beginning of whatever they were calling alt-country then, punk, hardcore to the incredibly unique West Bank folk/blues scene. I loved it all, but I lived on the West Bank and that sound that K,R&G made either together or in their parts (K and/or R and/or G) changed my life.

What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?

I’ve been lucky to have had mostly good and great experiences performing; there are so many nights that stand out it’s hard to say I have a favorite. This summer an audience in Bozeman, Montana, threw flowers on stage after my set and it really made me happy. Normally I just want to play and that’s the primary mover, but when I feel like an audience likes what I’ve done and responds with that kind of love it’s just about the most amazing thing I’ve ever felt.

What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc — inform your music?

I read a lot, mostly novels and short stories, some history and biographies, a little philosophy, and that all goes into the pot. I go to galleries when I can, and occasionally see a film, but not as often as I’d like. Everything tends to influence the music.

What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?

I drink a little coffee, walk a little if there’s time and room, or at least pace. I like to warm up on the guitar if there’s a place to do that. I also really like spending time in the venue, I like to see who else is playing and meet some folks who came to the show.

Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?

I live near Lake Superior, which is a powerful force up here for everyone, and I really like getting to go walking near the lake. When I’m on the road and there’s time I like to walk wherever there’s water; it grounds me and gives me a sense of balance.

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BGS 5+5: Charlie Parr
BGS 5+5: Charlie Parr