Episode 89 of The JamBase Podcast, a partner of the Osiris Media Network, features an interview with singer-songwriter Charlie Parr. JamBase’s Andy Kahn interviewed Parr, whose new studio album, Last Of The Better Days, is coming out on the Smithsonian Folkways record label on July 30.
Parr was in Duluth, Minnesota when he spoke to Kahn over a recent video call. The pair began the interview by talking about Parr’s approach to writing the songs that became Last Of The Better Days. Parr explained his approach of blending biographical history with fictional or other artistic embellishments to tell stories through his songs. Parr described approaching the album as if the songs were a series of short stories taking place in the same town.
He explained Brad Cook’s role in co-producing the album, which was recorded twice after Cook helped Parr realize he needed to start over and largely scrap an initial round of tracking sessions last fall at the storied Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Parr then redid the tracks at Real Phonic Studios in Cleveland, Minnesota in January of this year.
Around the time of the second sessions, Parr performed a series livestreamed, limited-capacity shows as part of a month-long, weekly residency at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Parr recalled the unusual experience of performing at the familiar “home” venue during the pandemic.
The interview touched on how the pandemic influenced Parr’s songwriting and the content of the new album. They also discussed Parr’s feelings about returning to touring and performing live shows in front of full-capacity audiences, among many other topics.