Charlie Parr “Little Sun”

Smithsonian Folkways, 2024

An offer of clarity in an often unclear world.

In the liner notes to ‘Sloth’ which is the final track on the album Parr tells us:‘There is a part of the world that exists only in my mind, that exists only for me and possibly doesn’t exist at all….. I live there a lot’.  Little Sun’ his eighteen album and the first not to be recorded live, gives the listener clear insight into his definitive world, it is an interesting space well worth exploring.

His attitude towards music in general and how it manages to connect everything, and everybody is revealed in the title track ‘It’s a matter for perception the music we choose to hear.. the music it plays everywhere was it better when we were young ?….  even when we are old and undone, we just have to listen louder’. It encapsulates how our relationship with music alters over the years.

 This enjoyment is further established by the very upbeat almost ragtime ‘BoomboxIt’s such a playful track that just wants you to tap your feet or dance on your own or in the company of others. He suggests ‘Music is eternal and transcendent and surrounds us at all times’ Many readers of AUK will certainly relate to that statement. His deadpan delivery coupled with subtle female accompiment make all the tracks feel very intimate drawing the listener ever deeper.

The uplifting nature of a number of the tracks (there are only eight) are complimented by several poignant, slower songs especially ‘Stray‘ which explores attitudes towards the homeless and how people react to others who may be less fortunate. It’s a very powerful and thought-provoking piece of writing.

‘Bearhead Lake’ is another atmospheric song that finds Parr alone and connecting with all the nature that surrounds him letting the cool October water wash over his feet. At over seven minutes long it takes its time to take the listener on the same journey. It has a wonderfully spacious feel about it. You can almost feel the clean air on your face.

This is an extremely confident, relaxed album as you would expect from such an established storyteller. With songs that take you to some highs and lows in equal measure, always beautifully told and performed, it’s well worth experiencing.


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