Maybe one of these years, a Charlie Parr record review will include such lines as, “He really stepped up the arrangements and production value this time,” or, “His lyrics reflect modern life and technology more than ever.” Let’s hope not, though. As it is, many of the same old terms apply to the resonator-guitar-picking folk/blues stalwart’s latest effort, “Barnswallow,” which he’s promoting with a two-night stand Friday and Saturday at the Cedar Cultural Center.
Among those standard traits: “all-acoustic,” “vintage-sounding,” “foot-stomping,” “bare-bones” and “to-the-bone.” Eschewing a “real studio” setting per usual, Parr trekked from his Duluth home to the Winona Arts Center to record the 10-song collection. One difference from his last album, the 2011 gospel set “Keep Your Hands on the Plow,” he’s back to singing about hard-living and hard-headed characters in such songs as “Nowhere … Fast” and the banjo-led “My Wife Left Me.” At times, the album seems to reflect his own recent journey to sobriety. But that’s as current as it gets. Jack Klatt & the Cat Swingers open Friday’s show, and Alan Sparhawks’ Murder of Crows kicks it off Saturday (8 p.m., $15, all ages).
The album that was the impetus for last year’s “Twin Cities Funk & Soul” compilation from Minneapolis’ Secret Stash Records, the Lewis Connection’s 1979 self-titled collection was given the full reissue treatment this week from Chicago specialty label Numero Music Group. “Anytime a record is selling for $1,000 on eBay, we take note,” said Numero’s Jon Kirby, admitting that the main reason for the album’s cultish status is because Prince was credited for playing guitar on one of the tracks, “Got to Be Something Here.” However, Kirby said, “That’s hardly the record’s crowning achievement.” Look it up at NumeroGroup.com. … Secret Stash, by the way, is about to release its first record since the “Funk & Soul” set, a reissue by Nigerian star Peter King, a peer of Fela Kuti in the early-’70s. …
I bet this one sells a lot of taco baskets next door at Pepito’s: “Pipers at the Gates of Oz” takes over the Parkway Theater on Saturday (7:30 p.m., $10), wherein “The Wizard of Oz” will be synced up with a live re-creation of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” featuring musicians Chad Whittaker (Tim Mahoney’s band), Mark Joseph (Big Wu), Robert Hilstrom (of the Cabooze’s “Last Waltz”) and more. … Speaking of herbal appetites, tickets for the Feb. 18 Dr. Dre tribute Dre Day (which often sells out) are now on sale via the Triple Rock’s site. …
Vita.mn announced another “Are You Local?” showcase to send bands down to the South by Southwest conference with a little money to help set off what they won’t make when they get there. It’s happening March 1 at Mill City Nights with Solid Gold, Sims, Wiping Out Thousands, L’Assassins and three finalists competing for a SXSW showcase slot. … Texas starlet Carrie Rodriguez’s new album, “Give Me All You Got,” emphasizes her Minneapolis connections, with one song titled “Lake Harriet,” another one co-written with Ben Kyle, and guitar work by Kyle’s Romantica bandmate Luke Jacobs throughout. … Kyle, by the way, is on a cool songwriters’ double-bill with Freedy Johnston at Icehouse on Friday (10 p.m., $12). …
Ex-Minneapolitan Bob Mould is featured for the first time in this week’s episodes of “Austin City Limits,” airing locally on TPT 2 at midnight Sunday (as in right after “Saturday Night Live”). Yes, the taping includes a few Hüsker Dü tunes. Delta Spirit is featured in the second half of the episode. … The Replacements’ 250-edition “Songs for Slim” EP auction wound down last week, with a final tally of $100,000 to go toward Slim Dunlap’s medical care. Look for more music soon and T-shirts now on sale for at SongsforSlim.com.
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