Folk musician Charlie Parr at MSU

Folk musician Charlie Parr performed at EJ Halling Recital Hall with Liz Draper Sunday. 

Parr released his newest Album “Last of the Better Days Ahead” in July, and was eager to share some of this new music now that live shows are an option again. According to his website, the album, “represents one full rotation of the boat in which we are adrift — looking ahead for a last look at the better days to come, then turning around to see the leading edge of the past as it fades into the foggy dreamscape of our real and imagined histories.” 

Parr has more than 20 folk albums with Smithsonian FolkWays Recordings. His audience reaches from Ireland to Australia and all parts in between. Between songs Parr shared stories from his youth. He recalled working at a filling station in his youth and bringing his guitar to work to keep himself occupied during long hours. 

Draper’s origin in music started early. 

“I grew up in a musical family. My dad was a professional musician. I had been playing violin and piano from like the age of four and I enjoyed music, but I didn’t really connect with either of those instruments,” she said. “I was in the school orchestra here in Mankato and in eighth grade I decided I either wanted to quit or play the bass. So I basically picked the bass and I fell in love with it.” 

Draper’s personal style is what she describes as “classical folk doom jazz.” She has a degree in classical bass performance with a focus in jazz and improvisation. She started working with Charlie because, “We like the same type of music and I wanted to collaborate. So he invited me to play and it worked really well and we’ve been friends pretty much ever since.” 

Draper said Parr is an inspiration for her. 

“I honestly think he’s one of the greatest songwriters of our time. I seriously think he’s a national treasure,” she said. “He doesn’t usually do setlists. He changes his keys. So I have to fly by the seat of my pants, and it’s pretty fun. And he’s such a kind, kinda soul. He’s brilliant, but he’s a good, good friend, and there’s there’s much to learn, on so many different levels.” 

Parr and Draper were pleased with the Mankato crowd. Draper said. 

“The audience was, I felt, very attentive. I moved to Mankato in eighth grade and never really came back until the pandemic. And it’s great to come back to my hometown with my parents and familiar people in the audience. And my partner was in the audience. I got to play for him and his kid. Having people I love in the audience means a lot.”

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