Album Reviews

Charlie Parr


Artist:     Charlie Parr

Album:     Stumpjumper

Label:     Red House

Release Date:     11/13/2015


Charlie Parr may not come off exactly one-of-a-kind on Stumpjumper, but he gets damn close. An amazingly adept folk and blues-styled chronicler and an excellent guitarist, singer and banjo player, Parr absolutely takes his cues from others that are singularly unique. But it’s a blur—all the influences. Any number of famous ones are in him, but likely even more so the local front porch legends all over America that no one’s ever heard. Parr summons old dirt tales, but in his own words, instinctively it seems. The themes in these intense, beautiful songs square up with his real-life wanderer lifestyle. All that, and they’re immediately relatable. Just one or two spins through the extraordinarily-catchy “Remember Me If I Forget” guarantees you’ll never forget the damn thing. Amongst foot stompin’, nimble-fingered banjo and steel, and a sort of childlike gospel-y chorus, Parr urges folks to take care of their folks. Alzheimer’s addressed like this, with heartfelt notions in memory of Parr’s Aunt, makes a difference, hopefully. A compact band kicks up expert, rawboned backing throughout the album. “Remember Me…,” and the hopeful-against-all-odds “Over the Red Cedar,” bounce brightly. Really sublime stuff. Contrast those with the sacred mystery surrounding “Resurrection” and the resolute spirit displayed in the traditional murder ballad, “Delia,” and witness a genuine artist that should stand out, beaming in the pack. This rambler’s going places. Stumpjumper—Parr’s nineteenth album—is crucial listening for Americana roots enthusiasts.

-Tom Clarke

Got something to say?