Review: Charlie Parr and his New Album ‘Little Sun’
UPDATED: March 26, 2024
UPDATED: March 26, 2024
Little Sun New Album

Charlie Parr, renowned for his authentic and raw, clangin’ on a resonator guitar, approach to folk music, takes a bold step forward with his latest album. Widely recognized for his individualistic style and dedication to his craft, Parr has built a remarkable career marked by a rejection of commercial norms. However, his new release, Little Sun, represents a departure from his acoustic origins as he explores fresh sonic territories with producer Tucker Martine.

Recorded in Portland, Oregon, Little Sun introduces a more polished and expansive sound compared to Parr’s usual live recording method. While some may miss the raw authenticity of Parr’s previous work, the evolution in production certainly delivers a “smooth” on the ears type of vibe.

Charlie Parr and Little Sun

The album as a whole embodies the spirit of blues from a bygone era. With dirty, swampy drums and Parr’s emotive harmonica and honky-tonk piano, listeners are compelled to stomp along to the rhythm. Electric guitars add melodic depth, occasionally veering into territory reminiscent of the Grateful Dead and their “noodling”. Anna Tivel‘s vocals provide beautiful backing harmonies, enhancing the overall experience.

Is Little Sun a brilliantly arranged album? Absolutely. Does it encapsulate the essence of Charlie Parr’s music? That’s subjective. Martine skillfully maintains Parr’s identity while pushing boundaries, ensuring that each track feels unmistakably Parr-esque.

Despite the departure from his acoustic roots, Parr’s lyrical prowess remains a highlight. Tracks like Stray and Sloth demonstrate his ability to humanize themes of suffering and introspection, offering poignant moments amidst the album’s stomp and clap vibe.

Tracklist and Duration

Song Title Length
Portland Avenue 04:29
Little Sun 03:57
Bear Head Lake 07:20
Boombox 03:55
Pale Fire 07:31
Ten Watt 05:30
Stray 04:40
Sloth 03:39

 

Final Thoughts

Parr writes a new chapter with Little Sun.

Overall, Little Sun is a successful project that embodies the essence of old-school blues. Charlie Parr’s willingness to evolve resonates throughout the album, signaling a new chapter in his musical journey. While some may yearn for the past, many will appreciate this as Parr’s finest work yet. As a fan, I feel torn, but I will embrace this new direction wholeheartedly, knowing it adds another gem to Parr’s ever-growing legacy.

 

Album Release: March 22, 2024       

Label: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Favorite Tracks: Stray

 

RootsnRevelry Grade:                           

B-

For Tour and Merch: Follow Charlie Parr

You may also be interested in Fred Eaglesmith’s Thirty Years of Farming

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