The Comic and the Cosmic: Two Sides of Charlie Parr | Acoustic Guitar Sessions

Roots, Blues, Life, and Death; Charlie Parr performs two tunes from his newest record.

In this AG Session, Charlie Parr performs a pair of tunes that help define the underground folk-blues artist’s approach to his music. On the first, “Boombox,” we get Parr’s signature foot-stomping fingerpicking and masterfully played slide, and on “Pale Fire” he ventures beyond the mortal realm (and beyond first position, with a capo at the seventh fret) with a hypnotic, poetic meditation on life and death and reincarnation. Both songs appear on Parr’s latest album, Little Sun, his eighteenth. The tunes sound different here than on the record; the session features no backing band, just Charlie and his “Parr Mule” from Mule Resophonics, a signature all-mahogany tricone with a roasted maple neck and ebony fingerboard.

“Boombox,” feels like an altruistic interpretation of a ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag; it’s not that Parr wants to be left alone, but rather wants us to appreciate our individuality and not try and drag each other down. “I see so many people picking on other people for doing something that doesn’t hurt anyone. The way they dress, or the way they dance. I grew up in a small town, and people could be hard on each other.” “Boombox” paints a funny picture, but the simple message at its core feels increasingly profound.


When asked if he can explain what the deceptively simple “Pale Fire” is about, Parr hesitates: “Yeah… well, no. It started out about aliens, and I split it into two different songs because it was dumb.” But instead of fully scrapping the song, he salvaged what he could. “Some of the words were good, some of them were really dumb,” he says, “so I just started taking it apart, because songs are like bike parts in a shed, you can mix and match and create something new.”

But like all good art, Parr’s songs are perhaps best experienced without explanation; they’re stories you can hear—and feel—and find your own meaning in. You’ll find both the comic and the cosmic.

Support Acoustic Guitar on Patreon and get access to an exclusive video lesson with Charlie Parr, exploring his approach to slide.

Joey Lusterman
Joey Lusterman

Opinionated creative slash beginning guitarist. Joey has worked in every department at Acoustic Guitar in the past 10+ years: front desk, ad sales, editorial, sound guy, camera man, booth babe, email coder, podcast editor, photographer, book designer…

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *