On his eleventh album, Barnswallow, Charlie Parr continues to delight with his impressive East Coast Blues style.
It's clear from the opening footstomper, 'Jimmy Bell', that Charlie lives for his music. This is one of two traditional tracks on the album, all others are Charlie's own work. He's a born storyteller and he tells his tales with imagery, satire and skill. There's the raw honesty of 'Badger', and lessons to learn in 'Henry Goes To The Bank' and provocative allegory in 'Jesus Is A Hobo'.
It's mostly about the music though - masterful finger-picking on his Resonator & 12 string guitars and fretless banjo is accompanied by precise and flawless percussion from Mikkel Beckmen, on washboard and various improvised goods. Dave Hundreiser provides harmonica, jaw-harp, and resonator mandolin. The three play together in a fluid and easy style and the fact the this is a live studio recording, completed in two takes, proves how accomplished they are as a unit. And there's no shortage of what Charlie is all about - Piedmont Blues...'My Wife', 'Groundhog Day' and the fast paced 'Motorcycle Blues' should please any fan of the genre.
Barnswallow, with its mix of authenticity, invention and realism, should tick all the boxes if you're already a fan. If Charlie Parr's a new name to you - make friends with Barnswallow, you won't regret it!