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untitled (1999)

1. One Eyed Jack
2. Walking Blues 
3. To a Scrapyard Bus Stop
4. Charlie James 
5. Statesboro Blues
6. Lay Down Your Head, Annie
7. Travelin' Riverside Blues
8. Gambler's Blues
9. Henry Young's Body 
10. Fixin' to Die
11. Duncan & Brady
12. Catfish Blues

Charlie Parr -- Guitar, Slide Guitar, Vocals
T.J. Thissen -- Guitar, Slide Guitar, Harmonica
Mikkel Beckmen -- Washboard, Gut Bucket

Recorded live November 17, 1999 in St. Paul
Engineered and mixed by Bill Dankert

Click here to stream/download

Charlie Parr (2001)

1. Tampa Red's Blues
2. Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor
3. Uncle Jack's Rag
4. Lean to One Woman
5. Eli Green
6. So Different Blues
7. Prodigal Son
8. Ode to a New Dealer
9. Shake 'em on Down
10. Jefferson Street Express
11. Stackerlee
12. Union Tramp
13. Falling Down Blues
14. Westbound Rattler
15. Blues in 'D'

Recorded February 6th, 2001 at The Shakey Ray studio by Mark Lindquist

Click here to stream/download


1. John Johanna
2. Samuel Grady
3. She's Gone
4. Asa Jones' Blues
5. Mule Rider Blues
6. To a Scrapyard Bus Stop
7. Tom Bell's Worried Blues
8. Lowdown
9. Graveyard Blues
10. Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me

Recorded July 30, 2001 at Nickle and Dime Studio by Mel Sando

Click here to stream/download


1. Asa Jones’ Blues
2. Lowdown
3. Song for Loren B.
4. Henry Young’s Body
5. I Wonder How Long til I Can Change My Clothes
6. Eli Green
7. Troubled ‘bout My Mother
8. Annie Melton
9. Going up the Country

Criminals & Sinners is a collection of seven original and two traditional tunes that was recorded over two sessions in November of 2001 by Mark Lindquist of Shaky Ray Records. Features Mikkel Beckmen, washboard and percussion and Lee Johnson, harmonica, guitar, percussion, and nose flute.


1. Westbound Rattler
2. 1922 Blues
3. Funeral Road Blues
4. Country Blues
5. Yo-Yo Blues
6. Old Jim Canan's
7. Mahtowa Stomp
8. I wish I was a Mole in the Ground
9. True Religion
10. Farther Along
11. Louis Collins
12. To a Scrapyard Bus Stop
13. Hogkill Blues
14. Jesus at the Kenmore
15. Roses while I'm Living
16. Wreck of the Bernard K.
17. Migrant Boxcar Train

1922 was recorded in two sessions at Dakota Dave Hull's Arabica Studio in Mpls with Mikkel Beckmen on washboard, fridge parts, boards and other crap; and in three sessions at Sacred Heart Studio by Eric Swanson with Emily Lanik Parr, 2nd vocals. Mastered by Jakob Larson. It includes 17 songs, about half of which are original tunes (including the often requested/much maligned "Jesus at the Kenmore"), the rest being traditional tunes utilizing Parr's own arrangements.


1. Westbound Rattler
2. True Religion
3. Migrant Boxcar Train
4. Yo-Yo Blues
5. 1922 Blues
6. Country Blues
7. Louis Collins
8. Mahtowa Stomp
9. I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
10. To a Scrapyard Bus Stop
11. Wreck of the Bernard K
12. Funeral Road Blues
13. Roses While I'm Living
14. Hogkill Blues
15. Jesus at the Kenmore
16. Old Jim Canan's
17. Farther Along

2008 re-release with handmade letterpress sleeve.


1. Westbound Rattler
2. Migrant Boxcar Train
3. 1922 Blues
4. Louis Collins
5. Mahtowa Stomp
6. I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
7. To a Scrapyard Bus Stop
8. Wreck of the Bernard K
9. Funeral Road Blues
10. Hogkill Blues
11. Jesus at the Kenmore
bonus tracks:
12. Wild Bill Jones
13. Bonneville
14. 1922 Blues (live)

2009 re-release by Level Two Music in Australia with bonus tracks from other albums.


1. Westbound Rattler
2. True Religion
3. Migrant Boxcar Train
4. Yo-Yo Blues
5. 1922 Blues
6. Country Blues
7. Louis Collins
8. Mahtowa Stomp
9. I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
10. To a Scrapyard Bus Stop
11. Wreck of the Bernard K
12. Funeral Road Blues
13. Roses While I'm Living
14. Hogkill Blues
15. Jesus at the Kenmore
16. Old Jim Canan's
17. Farther Along

2012 re-release by House of Mercy Recordings featuring a beautiful new hand-drawn cover by Wynn Davis.

king earl

1. Worried Blues
2. Possessed By The Devil
3. Union Tramp
4. Reverend's Eviction Blues
5. Miner's Lament 
6. V8 Ford Blues part 2
7. King Earl
8. Ode to a New Dealer
9. Mule Rider
10. 1917
11. Jefferson Street Express
12. West Bank 10 String Rag
13. Worried Blues

Released March 4, 2004. This one was recorded in Fatty Pant's rehearsal space in Duluth, MN, January, '04 by Jakob Larson. Tom Herbers mixed and mastered it. There are 13 tunes, featuring arrangements of two traditional tunes, and many new originals. It's got Charlie's (at the time) new 12-string on it, and of course the National and a banjo tune. Mikkel Beckmen returns to stomp on a board and play the washboard, and Christian McShane (of if thousands) plays the theremin on two tracks. Charlie thinks this is the best thing he's ever done.

"There's splashes of instrumental brilliance the equal of Leo Kottke's 6 & 12 string, but really it's Parr's corruscating attack of a voice, heading down that dusty gravel road which raises the stakes here. As serious as your life, and twice as exciting - what a discovery." - Boomkat

"In an age of commercialism and celebrity and the turn of a quick buck, the soul saving melodies of Parr are like a breath of fresh air, timeless and majestic, princely and magnificent. If anything King Earl is a more rootsy and dusty affair than its predecessor, these square jawed gems have been blended from the finest ingredients and left to mature in oak wood casks until fit to burst." - Losing Today


1. Sampson and Delilah
2. Bethlehem
3. 1928
4. One Eyed Jack
5. Rooster
6. Gone
7. Dead Cat on the Line
8. Ellen Mayhem
9. Cheap Wine
10. Public Record Rag
11. Samuel Grady
12. Wild Bill Jones

Charlie’s 4th independent release (2005). The album contains ten new original tunes, plus two traditional folk songs. It was recorded by Tom Herbers in a Duluth warehouse space using vintage recording equipment in a monophonic format. Rooster features appearances by Mikkel Beckmen on percussion, Molly Maher on slide guitar, ‘Banjo’ Dave Carrol (Trampled By Turtles) on banjo, Karl Anderson on upright bass, and Christian McShane (if thousands) on cello, guitar and the devil’s own ukelin. Lyrically, the songs deal with the usual litany of human miseries and occasional joys: aging, death, loneliness, god, regret and even love. The music draws influence from the rural music of the 20’s: rags, blues, and folk tunes. Parr plays banjo, baritone 12-string, National steel-bodied guitar, and a wood-body resonator guitar built by fellow Duluthians Jakob Larson and his father Daniel.

Rooster Revisited: The Recording Sessions

Christian McShane talks Rooster

Recording session photos by Jake Larson

"Most of his repertoire consists of original songs that sound like whiskey-fueled, late-night laments and complaints, growled and spat out over a guitar in a room in a fleabag hotel during a particularly grim year of the Great Depression. The songs that aren't original are traditionals. "Dead Cat on the Line," however, is not the Tampa Red song, but a sulfuric Parr composition about an old man's fading days. The traditionals here are the well-traveled "Samson and Delilah" and "Wild Bill Jones," but rendered with fierce creative intelligence sufficient to restore life and race blood." - Rambles.NET

"Lots of blues musicians get the notes right. They play authentic chords and patterns on authentic instruments. They sound just like the old days, except they don't. Charlie Parr has somehow inhabited this music from the inside, letting it out in a way that's as natural as breathing -- and as vital." - Splendid Magazine


1. 1922
2. Asa Jones' Blues
3. Birdman
4. Mahtowa Stomp
5. Eli Green
6. Jesus at the Kenmore
7. Westbound Rattler
8. Annie Melton
9. Prodigal Son
10. Lowdown
11. 3-Stage Pacemaker Blues
12. Migrant Boxcar Train
13. Jail Hooch Blues
14. Henry's Young Body
15. John Henry

Released September, 2006. Recorded live by Jakob Larson over three nights in July, 2006 at The Brewhouse in Duluth, MN. Mixed & mastered by Tom Herbers at Third Ear Studios, Minneapolis, MN. Special Guests: Trampled By Turtles (Dave Simonett, Eric Berry, Tim Saxhaug, Dave Carrol), Mikkel Beckmen (washboard & junk), Dave Frankenfeld (drums, gascan), Molly Maher (slide guitar), Dave Hundrieser (harmonica) and Christian McShane (cello).

"Depending on a listener's mood, the usual aspects of a live recording--different, more raw, arrangements and phrasings from familiar studio versions--could be distracting. But the disc is so substantial, so packed with authenticity, honesty, and visceral passion, that it seems like it should weigh more than it does." -


1. Jubilee
2. Coffee's Gone Cold
3. Just Like Today
4. 99 Year Blues 
5. Riding Lawnmower Blues
6. 33 & 67
7. V8 Ford Blues
8. Bonneville
9. Twenty-Nine
10. You Can't Win
11. Stingray
12. Jesus on the Mainline 
13. Last Freight Out of Asheville

Release date: June 2, 2007. Recorded by Jakob Larson over two nights in April, 2007, in a friend's garage. Mixed & mastered by Tom Herbers at Third Ear Studios, Minneapolis, MN. Special Guests: Dave Simonett (guitar & vocals), Mikkel Beckmen (washboard & stuff), Dave Hundrieser (harmonica), Emily Lanik-Parr (vocals), and Christian McShane (cello). Cover & back photo by Aaron Molina. Inside photo by Benjamin Kaiser.

"Joined by friends and family on makeshift noisemakers like the "board," "Jim Beam bottle," and "cello-like object," Jubilee is yet another document of downright musical sincerity from a man who wears authenticity like a dirty undershirt." (The new record) doesn't differ wildly from the last three things I did," Parr happily admits. "But you know what you're getting with me." Like his previous records, Jubilee showcases Parr's own exceptional narratives of outcast and marginalized humanity, alongside a couple of traditional numbers." - City Pages


1. Don't Send Your Child To War
2. Far Cry From Fargo
3. Walk Around My Bedside
4. Warmin' By The Devil's Fire
5. Midnight Has Come & Gone
6. Come Along & See
7. Adrift In Lake Superior At Sunrise
8. Cropduster
9. Last Payday At Coal Creek
10. B&J Ain't Nothing But A Hole In The Ground
11. Farmer
12. God Moves On The Water

Release date: Nov 20, 2008. Roustabout is Charlie's seventh full-length CD release. It's a field recording in true monophonic sound recorded over a month's time in a variety of locations including living rooms, garages, barroom basements, and empty storefronts. Tom Herbers engineered and mastered the recording using a Nagra reel-to-reel. Special guests include Emily Parr (vocals); Dave Hundreiser (harmonica); Mikkel Beckmen (washboard and a variety of other percussive junk); Dave Simonette (vocals & guitar); and Ryan Young (fiddle).

"Of the twelve tracks nine are Parr originals and three are traditionals. That you can’t tell which songs are originals and which are not says a lot for just how authentic Parr’s song writing is. Listen to ‘Farmer’ with Dave Hundreiser on harmonica and Parr growling away and tell me you are not listening to some genuine blues performer." - Penny Black Music

"You're not gonna find any FM radio-friendly tracks amongst the 45 minutes of Roustabout, but that's hardly the measure of an album, and this is one where its authenticity speaks for itself." - Soulshine


1. I Dreamed I Saw Jesse James Last Night
2. South of Austin, North of Lyle
3. Where You Gonna Be (When the Good Lord Calls You Home)?
4. For the Drunkard's Mother
5. Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down
6. 1890
7. Up Country Blues
8. Mastodon
9. I Was Lost Last Night
10. Turpentine Farm
11. Last Day

Release date: July 9, 2010. Recorded at Wild Sound Studio in 2010 by Matthew Zimmerman and produced by Bo Ramsey.  Mixed by Tom Tucker. The recording features several new original songs dealing with Parr's usual obsessions: death, suffering, the apocolypse, Ned Kelly, and drunken farm animals and is the first recording Parr has done in an actual recording studio!

"Parr ensures that even when some tracks sound similar in the tracklisting, each is engaging in their own right. His playing is intricate and creative, seemingly never drawing musical breath until the final chord rings out – particularly evident on the rollicking 'South of Austin, North of Lyle' and 'I Was Lost Last Night'." - Faster Louder

"Opening with the gently rollicking ‘I Dreamed I Saw Jesse James Last Night’ which charmingly references Australia’s own Ned Kelly, the album chugs along and quickly establishes a near-perfect rhythm, veering between the reflective fingerpicking of ‘For the Drunkard’s Mother’ and a hard-driving, infectious foot stomping ‘Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down’, an exhilaratingly impressive take on a traditional standard." - RTR FM


1. Glory in the Meeting House
2. Death's Black Train
3. They Whupped Him Up the Hill
4. Old Ark's A-Movin'
5. Jesus on the Mainline
6. I Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down
7. This World Is Not My Home
8. Where You Gonna Be (When the Good Lord Calls You Home)?
9. What a Friend We Have
10. There Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down
11. Pure Religion
12. I'm Going Home
13. Light From the Lighthouse

Recorded in the shed behind Mike Gangloff's house in southwest Virginia with The Black Twig Pickers. Old gospel tunes that have been around forever and always a part of my set - The Black Twig Pickers set them on fire and I'm hanging on for dear life. Hopefully this will sway the Lord when the time comes.

"The threads of many of these songs go back at least a couple of centuries, despite various musicians changing and adapting them to suit their own particular set of needs. Fairly obviously we will never know what the originals sounded like and yet I don’t think they would or could have sounded much different to the versions on this incredible album! The album helps to define where ‘old-time’ (or ‘hillbilly’) music and the ‘blues’ were in the days before commerce and the recording industry took over and separated them for ever." - American Roots UK

"Charlie teases the spirits out with some quivering, expectant slide and those spirits sing with all their rough wonder, lungs trebling in size with every refrain. This is amongst the most rousing music I have heard on this earth. It is so resolutely human and like the rest of this incredible album it’s built on great playing, absolute integrity and joyful purpose." - Hinter Ground


1. Gospel Plow
2. Daniel in the Lions Den
3. Jesus Met the Woman At the Well
4. All The Good Times Are Past And Gone
5. God Moves on the Water
6. East Virginia Blues
7. Blessed Be the Name
8. When First Unto This Country
9. Who Will Deliver Poor Me
10. Farther Along
11. Poor Lazarus

From the wonderful folks at the House of Mercy featuring a well-worn batch of gospel, blues and folk from the old days with Emily Parr, Four Mile Portage, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. It was recorded at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth on 2" tape by Tom Herbers and released on both cd and vinyl.

"Part of what makes this album so extraordinary is the perfect selection of songs, voices and instrumentation that when combined really do on occasions give you the feeling that these people have been transported from a spooky lost Appalachian ‘holler’ in the mid nineteenth century for long enough to record the songs, only to disappear back to whence they came. It really is that haunting." - American Roots UK

"Keep Your Hands on the Plow is a remarkable recording that treats these traditional spiritual songs with respect and honor. This is not so much a tribute as it is a continuation of a revered musical tradition. Led by Parr, these six Duluth musicians have not only tapped into something timeless but have also weaved modern Minnesota into the music's narrative." - Minnesota Daily

"These are songs that have no doubt been recorded time after time, but Parr puts a zeal into them that could have only grown from a lifelong love of an art strong on conviction and wrought in emotion." - Mountain Times


1. Jimmy Bell
2. Nowhere ... Fast
3. My Wife Left Me
4. Motorcycle Blues
5. Badger
6. Groundhog Day Blues
7. Henry Goes to the Bank
8. True Friends
9. Jesus is a Hobo
10. Rattlesnake

Release date: February 1, 2013. Barnswallow is Charlie's eleventh full length release. Bookended by traditionals Parr learned from Dave Ray and Spider John Koerner, the album features eight new original songs recorded live to tape at The Winona Arts Center in Winona, MN. The city's creative spirit is evident in the cover art by Jamie Harper (Salvaged Medium) and liner notes by Joe Tadie (Saint Mary's University of Minnesota). Longtime collaborator Tom Herbers (Third Ear Studios) engineered and mastered the project. Equipped with his fretless banjo, Fraulini 12-string, and trademark National NRP wood-body resonator, Parr was joined in the studio by Mikkel Beckmen on washboard & percussion, Dave Hundreiser on harmonica & resonator mandolin, and Emily Parr who sang backing vocals on "Jesus is a Hobo." The recording was done in a live performance style with no tracking and using first or second takes.

"The last two years of Parr's life have been steadily marked by his acceptance of himself in more ways than one, with Barnswallow as the all-encompassing example. Recorded in just a few hours at the Winona Arts Center, the record is very much a return to roots for Parr. It's a 10-track record built around themes that are dark and personal — even for folk music — and on it, Parr flexes songwriting muscles that few artists ever attain."
- City Pages

"National guitar, the funkiest of the resonator family, buzzes and growls beneath Parr’s singing while Dave Hundreiser’s mouth harp screams like a wounded animal, alternately running and charging. Mikkel Beckmen’s extraordinary percussion on washboard and other improvised items urges the music forward. Listening to the three together feels like running a footrace with a freight train." - Philadelphia City Paper

More Barnswallow reviews...


1. I Dreamed I Saw Paul Bunyan Last Night (pt. 1)
2. Hollandale
3. I Dreamed I Saw Paul Bunyan Last Night (pt. 2)
4. Barnswallows at Twilight
5. Clearlake

Hollandale is an all instrumental record of 5 songs featuring mostly 12-string with a bit of National resonator and a banjo improv based on "Barnswallow." The songs are all improvised around 5 different open tunings and are enhanced by the electric guitar of Alan Sparhawk, who also produced the album. I've always wanted to do a record like this, I've always been real chicken to do it until Alan encouraged me and gave me an opportunity to sit in the house he was renovating and just play whatever I felt. The songs will never come out that way again, but that's alright, they'll come out some other way and that's what I love about this style of music. No one gets hurt, all the air you moved while playing this music just goes back to where it was when yr done.

"Charlie Parr has set the bar of creativity and originality that all folk, blues, and country musicians will be measured against throughout 2014 and beyond, and did what every musician would love to do 12 releases into their musical journey: make an impact larger than themselves. Two guns up."
- Saving Country Music

"The guitar is simply a pen, crafting wordless, primal tales of journey and the validity of man. This is the sound that defines solitude as a savage desire, the absolute and necessary drive to step the rope and continue onward."
5 stars out of 5. - Scene Magazine

"Primal, buckets-of-frozen-mud, man-wrestling-with-the-shadows-around-him, serious guitar- (and banjo-) slinging of the highest (which is to say also the lowest) order -- just something you need to slap on the turntable and try to wrap your head around. Spiritual warfare with a mean-sounding slide." - Mike Gangloff

More Hollandale reviews...


01. Evil Companion
02. Empty Out Your Pockets
03. Falcon
04. Remember Me If I Forget
05. On Marrying a Woman with an Uncontrollable Temper
06. Over the Red Cedar
07. Resurrection
08. Stumpjumper
09. Temperance River Blues
10. Frank Miller Blues
11. Delia

Release date: April 28, 2015. Stumpjumper is the exciting Red House debut from Charlie Parr! Long a part of the vibrant Duluth, MN music scene, Charlie traveled to North Carolina to record this album with fellow musician Phil Cook (Megafaun, Hiss Golden Messenger). As well as being the first album Charlie has recorded outside of his native Minnesota -- he joined Cook and a cast of local players, setting up in an old outbuilding on the “Down Yonder Farm” in rural North Carolina -- it’s also the first to feature a full band. Percussive and raw, the 11 songs on Stumpjumper, 10 originals and his version of the venerable murder ballad, “Delia,” could be lost field recordings from another era. His blistering picking -- he switches between acoustic guitar, dobro and banjo -- and keening, cut-through-the-crowd vocals resonate with a conviction that runs deep and true.

"Taking acoustic blues and folk to the darkest edges of town via driving arrangements which emphasize steam-driven tempos and a doom- slinging attitude over spit and polish studio shine, Parr nonetheless manages to sound both breathtakingly immediate and authentically antiquated at the same time." — No Depression

"The progression of Parr being aided by accompaniment never comes across as unnatural, or even unusual, even if you’ve been listening to him play alone for years. It’s with incredible ease that he enters into this new sound, almost like he’s always been playing with a band, but the rest of us just couldn’t hear it." — Saving Country Music

"Stumpjumper is a marvel. Parr's songs and performances storm out of the speakers, loud and dangerous and funny and dire." — Ramblets.NET

More Stumpjumper reviews...


1. 1922 Blues
2. Mahtowa Stomp
3. Hogkill Blues
4. Rooster
5. Dead Cat On the Line
6. Cheap Wine
7. Jubilee
8. Twenty Nine
9. You Can't Win
10. Last Freight Out of Ashville
11. Possessed By the Devil
12. King Earl

The stories Charlie tells get into some dark spots; that place where regret and remorse part company. A bit of a modern take on timeless conditions. Check him out and you'll probably agree – Charlie Parr is coming from a very real place, and this has, in fact, always been a crazy world.
- Independant Records


1. 1922 Blues
2. To a Scrapyard Bus Stop
3. Hogkill Blues
4. Just Like Today
5. Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down
6. Don't Send Your Child To War
7. Midnight Has Come And Gone
8. Dead Cat on the Line
9. Cheap Wine
10. Jubilee
11. God Moves on the Water

Charlie shows up with a lived-in rasp of a voice, National resonator and 12-string acoustic guitars, a banjo and a batch of his own songs and well-traveled numbers by Mississippi John Hurt, Charley Patton and other cohorts from another time. He lays it on you, and you sense that the gamblers, the union workers, the criminals and the sinners that wander around his songs are peering right over your shoulder.
- Tin Angel Records