An evening with Charlie Parr & his National Resophonic guitar
Charlie Parr is about as real as it gets. From his raw vocals, beautifully written songs paired with well delivered and respected covers and a simplistic selection of instruments, it all comes together to create something incredibly special. All of this comes across on his intimately recorded albums of course, & having been a fan of his for a while now spending countless hours enjoying them all, I had a feeling that the way it will translate live would be where these sounds truly come to life

Charlie Parr Live 2016

My wife and I headed out to the Kitchen Garden Cafe near Moseley, Birmingham with a really high level of excitement carrying us there. The gig of course was a big part of that, but we also had an underlying excitement as Emma is in fact 38 weeks pregnant to the day! Meaning our first little one is pretty much ready to join the world any day now, Was it going to join the world half-way through '1922' with Charlie as the stand in Midwife? Only time would tell.

Charlie Parr Live 2016

We had chance to chat with Charlie a few times over the course of the evening at this brilliantly intimate venue, which was a true pleasure. His relaxed, humble personality reflected the music he makes. We shared talk of Matt Eich & Mule Resophonic Guitars like his own Tricone model, using Diamond Bottlenecks Slides, our families and even covering holes in walls with old damaged Resonator cones!

Charlie Parr's National Resonator

We briefly chatted about his lovely National 12 String El Trovador too, which I'm sure you readers will be keen to read more about. It's an almost Parlour sized, wooden body resonator from National, and Charlie's was a 12 string model with a humbucker sized rail style pickup fitted. Charlie prefers his set up with 8 Strings as it sounds better for his style and music, having heard it throughout the evening I'm very inclined to agree with him! So it's strung as a normal 6 string would be essentially, but with the G & B strings doubled up like the 12 String would have been. It creates a beautiful background drone to a lot of his percussion finger picking style songs, but still gives him a traditional resonator sound from the bass strings and top 'e'. 

Charlie Parr Live 2016

The set included a selection from his list of ever growing studio albums, along with some traditional blues covers which included those of Son House and Blind Willie McTell and his of course signature folk songs. An  A Capella version of 'Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down' at the close of the set had us all sat in the room with him totally floored. Reminiscent of those old gospel blues recordings of the 1920s, it was a truly great experience. I filmed a couple of the songs, and will upload them as I get chance, but for now here was one of the highlights of the evening for me, 'Delia' from his Stumpjumper record..



Thanks to Charlie for spending so much time keeping us company, and for playing an incredible set for a room full of fellow fans of his stripped down roots music.

Thanks for reading,

James

Comments

Lazlo Phanz

Lazlo Phanz said:

Charlie Parr is a brilliant guitarist. It’s awesome you got a chance to see him live.

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