Recently, during my annual pilgrimage to Winona, MN for Mid West Music Fest 2017, I was again witness to the living legend’s greatness. Possibly one of the final incarnated respites for pure talent and heart, CP manages to draw crowds of all ages, crossing multiple generations. He does this all while ignoring pop culture’s obsession with image, fashion, and aesthetics—using only his presence, his voice, and his ability to tear up a guitar. Showing up to shows in old jeans and sneakers, he consistently touches the crowd’s heart while simultaneously kicking their ass. There’s something incredibly endearing about it all.
Charlie’s 2016 EP, I Ain’t Dead Yet, was initially only released on green vinyl locally in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Thankfully, it has now been released digitally (check out those links below), and was well worth the wait.
Joined once again by Mikkel Beckmen on percussion, as well as Kyle Ollah on banjo & fiddle, and Liz Draper on bass, these background players tastefully compliment Charlie’s finger-picked brand of storytelling with perfect subtlety on this 5-track gem of an album.
Our Favorite Track:
I’d love to know who was the inspiration for Hobo, an absolutely masterful song of honest reflection, regret, and longing. Parr’s quintessential 2-finger picking on a 12-string combine with subject matter that can wake up the hobo inside us all…
“Ain’t somebody gonna tell me what I’m doin’ here?
Ain’t somebody gonna tell me where I’m goin’?
Ain’t somebody gonna spend a blank minute on me…
…and pray for an old hobo who’s gone wrong”
The bluesy riff and EP title track, I Ain’t Dead Yet, is a fun ruckus that stands up for brutal honesty in a soft, overly-PC culture. It’s wild and fun…especially live…
“When I go down that funeral road, there’s gonna be flowers everywhere
All my friends gonna send some just to show how much they care
Well I ain’t dead yet, let me have them flowers right now
I sho’ can’t smell’em when I’m in that box underneath the ground
Well, I ain’t dead yet, give me my flowers now”
One of the more strictly artistic and beautiful tracks Parr has recorded to date, the nearly 5-minute Jaybird, sparkles with his gentle, thoughtful guitar. Though primarily an instrumental piece, there are a few heart-wrenching words saved for the very end. I thought about including them here, then, changed my mind. It would be far better to listen.
I am constantly amazed at the new places CP takes his craft; the new melodies, the new sounds, the new subject matter. The depth of his creative senses seems to have no bottom, no bounds. Just when I think he’s surely already created my favorite of his works—he proves me wrong. Thus, with the addition of, I Ain’t Dead Yet, my CP playlist—which is aptly titled, “Charlie f*@#ing Parr!”—has grown once again.
(Check out our review of Charlie Parr’s 2015 album, Stumpjumper.)
BELOW, you can listen to Charlie Parr’s EP, I Ain’t Dead Yet, connect with his website and social media platforms, watch his music video, check out his live show/tour schedule, and find his booking & contact information. Please support Charlie Parr by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
Listen to Charlie Parr’s EP, I Ain’t Dead Yet:
Follow, stream, download & connect with Charlie Parr online:
Watch Charlie Parr’s music video for the song I Ain’t Dead Yet:
Check out Charlie Parr’s live show/tour schedule:
Booking & contact information for Charlie Parr:
Contact: charlie (at) charlieparr.com
Booking: michael (at) hellobooking.com