If you’re like most Americans, I imagine few of you are familiar with Paul Kelly but I have a dozen of his cds and think he’s great. I’m seen him referred to as Australia’s version 0f Springsteen. From an email to his mailing list about an Australian May tour:
Joining him on the road is Charlie Parr from Duluth, Minnesota, whose style bears the influence of hours spent listening to country blues records and Smithsonian/Folkways field recordings. Charlie’s finger picking, freewheeling tune, ‘1922 Blues’ is the soundtrack to the recent, hugely successful Vodafone TV campaign. Charlie plays original and traditional folk tunes, plus blues covers by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt and Charley Patton, favouring National resonator guitars, 12-string guitar and banjo in his performance.
His self-taught mix of slide, finger-picking and quasi-frailing technique come together with a voice that’s low on drama and high on impact. Dignity, and the struggle to keep it, are central themes in Parr’s songs. The gamblers, the union workers, the criminals and the sinners that wander around his songs come straight from real life observation. The stories he tells get into some dark spots; that place where regret and remorse part company.