Charlie Parr and Willie Watson

Charlie Parr and Willie Watson

Charlie Parr (8:30 PM)

Willie Watson (10:00 PM)

Wed, December 5, 2018

8:00 pm


This event is all ages

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Charlie Parr - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Charlie Parr
An easily confused and very shy individual, Charlie Parr has been traveling around singing his songs ever since leaving Austin Minnesota in the 1980's in search of Spider John Koerner, whom he found about 100 miles north at the Viking Bar one Sunday night. The experience changed his life, made him more or less unemployable, and brings us to now: 13 recordings, 250 shows a year or more, 200,000 miles on a well broke in Kia, and a nasty fear of heights. Resonator fueled folk songs from Duluth Minnesota.

Charlie Parr has announced his new album, Dog” out September 8th on Red House Records. The Duluth, MN
based virtuoso has long been making music but spent most of his years working with the homeless throughout
the Northern Minnesota region, while playing shows at night. His observations from his time spent working
with the less fortunate, coupled with his own life path make for a rich well of stories to draw upon. Those
day-in-the-life narratives together with his incredible acumen as a guitarist have rightfully earned him his
rabid fanbase both here in the US and in Europe.
Fans who have been following Charlie Parr through his previous 13 full-length albums and decades of nonstop
touring already know that the Duluth-based songwriter has a way of carving a path straight to the gut. On
Dog, however, he seems to be digging deeper and hitting those nerves quicker than ever before.
"I want my son to have this when I'm gone," Charlie sings not 10 seconds into the opening song on Dog, "Hobo."
His voice sounds weary but insistent, his accompaniment sparse and sorrowful. By the second line, the
listener has no choice but to be transported on a journey through the burrows of his troubled mind, following
him through shadowy twists and turns as he searches for a way out.

It turns out Charlie's been grappling with quite a bit over these past few years. "I had some really, really bad
depression problems over the last couple years," Charlie explains. "I've been trying to get fit, trying not to
drink so much, trying not to do the rock 'n' roll guy thing. And then I got depressed. Really depressed. And to
me, depression feels like there's me, and then there's this kind of hazy fog of rancid jello all around me, that
you can't feel your way out of. And then there's this really, really horrible third thing, this impulsive thing,
that doesn't feel like it's me or my depression. It feels like it's coming from outside somewhere. And it's the
thing that comes on you all of a sudden, and it's the voice of suicide, it's the voice of 'quit.'"
"These songs have all kind of come out of that. Especially songs like 'Salt Water' and 'Dog,' they really came
heavily out of just being depressed, and having to say something about it.”
“Sometimes I'm alright
Other times it's hard to tell
Like finding light in the bottom of the darkest well”
- "Sometimes I'm Alright"
In the album's quieter moments, Charlie confronts these issues head-on, using only an acoustic guitar or banjo
to light the way. But the incredible thing about “Dog” is that it digs into dark matter and contemplates
serious topics like mental illness and mortality while embracing a pulse of persistence and forward motion;
throughout the album, more and more musicians seem to be joining in the fray as the tempo builds, keeping
the overall vibe upbeat.
“Dog” is Parr's most personal record yet. It’s an album that focuses on emotional issues, issues of mental
health and the existential examinations of life, the soul, and the purpose of life and living. Originally, Charlie
had planned to record these songs stripped down and alone but at the urging of a friend, he ended up asking
his most trusted collaborators to play on the record. Experimental folk artist Jeff Mitchell, percussionist
Mikkel Beckman, harmonica player Dave Hundreiser, and bassist Liz Draper, who traded her typical upright
bass in for an electricat Charlie's request, found an instant chemistry in the studio, capturing some of the
tracks on the first take.
"I wrote all the lyrics on these giant pieces of paper, and I had highlighters, and I assigned them each a color. I
was going to be super organized," Charlie remembers. "And then we started playing, and all of a sudden none
of that even mattered. These stupid highlighters, the pieces of paper - I should have just trusted in the
beginning that these friends would know how to take care of my songs."
“You claim the bed lifted up off the floor
Well, how do you know I'm not as good as you are?
A soul is a soul is a soul is a soul”
- "Dog"
In the album's more raucous moments, Charlie turns from contemplating his inner struggles to examining his
connection to other living creatures. The album's title track, "Dog," and the blistering "Another Dog" were
inspired by some of the lessons he's learned from his own pet, and wondering about the way dogs interact
with humans and the outside world.
"I have a dog, her name is Ruby but I call her Ruben, and we go for these long, crazy, chaotic walks," Charlie
says. "Because I decided a long time ago that I get along really well with this dog, and I was taking her for
walks, and she wanted to go this way, and I wanted to go that way. And then I thought, why are we going to
go this way and not that way? Maybe I should be the one getting walked. Maybe I'll learn something. So I
follow the dog."
Despite the album's darker moments, the listener is left hearing Charlie in a more optimistic and defiant
headspace, reflecting on how far he's come - and how content he is to accept that some things are simply
Willie Watson - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Willie Watson
For nearly two decades, Willie Watson has made modern folk music rooted in older traditions. He’s a folksinger in the classic sense: a singer, storyteller, and traveller, with a catalog of songs that bridge the gap between the past and present. On Folksinger Vol. 2, he acts as a modern interpreter of older songs, passing along his own version of the music that came long before him.

Southern gospel. Railroad songs. Delta blues. Irish fiddle tunes. Appalachian music. Folksinger Vol. 2 makes room for it all. Produced by David Rawlings, the album carries on a rich tradition in folk music: the sharing and swapping of old songs. Long ago, the 11 compositions that appear on Folksinger Vol. 2 were popularized by artists like Leadbelly, Reverend Gary Davis, Furry Lewis, and Bascom Lamar Lunsford. The songs don’t actually belong to those artists, though. They don’t belong to anyone. Instead, they’re part of the folk canon, passed from generation to generation by singers like Watson.

And what a singer he is. With a quick vibrato and rich range, he breathes new life into classic songs like “Samson and Delilah,” one of several songs featuring harmonies from gospel quartet the Fairfield Four. He’s a balladeer on “Gallows Pole,” whose melancholy melodies are echoed by the slow swells of a four-piece woodwind ensemble, and a bluesman on “When My Baby Left Me,” accompanying himself with sparse bursts of slide guitar. “Dry Bones” finds him crooning and hollering over a bouncing banjo, while “Take This Hammer” closes the album on a penitent note, with Watson singing to the heavens alongside a congregation of Sunday morning soul singers.

Arriving three years after Folksinger Vol. 1 — his first release since parting ways with the Old Crow Medicine Show, whose platinum-selling music helped jumpstart the 21st century folk revival — Vol. 2 expands Watson’s sound while consolidating his strengths. Several singers and sidemen make appearances here, including Gillian Welch, the Punch Brothers’ Paul Kowert, and Old Crow bandmate Morgan Jahnig. Even so, Watson has never sounded more commanding, more confident, more connected to the music that inspires him.

“I’m not trying to prove any point here,” he insists, “and I’m not trying to be a purist. There’s so much beauty in this old music, and it affects me on a deep level. It moves me and inspires me. I heard Leadbelly singing with the Golden Gate Quartet and it sounded fantastic, and I thought, ‘I want to do that.’ I heard the Grateful Dead doing their version of ‘On the Road Again,’ and it sounded like a dance party in 1926, and I wanted to do that, too. That’s the whole reason I ever played music in the first place — because it looked and sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun.”
Nodding to the past without resurrecting it, Willie Watson turns Folksinger Vol. 2 into something much more than an interpretation of older songs. The album carries on the spirit of a time nearly forgotten. It taps into the rich core of roots music. It furthers the legacy of American folk. And perhaps most importantly, it shows the full range of Willie Watson’s artistry, matching his instrumental and vocal chops with a strong appreciation for the songs that have shaped not only a genre, but an entire country.●
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change