Venue Address (Get Directions)The Southgate House Revival - The Sanctuary
Date and Time
Saturday, April 20th, 2013 at 8:00pm
The Taste of Whispering Beard, Charlie Parr, Morgan O'kane, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys Supporting Acts: Wheels, Kentucky Timbre, My Brother The Bear, The Flavor Junkies, Ben Knight, Terminal Union The Taste of Whispering Beard Whispering Beard Folk Festival pre-show! Get your campsites and pre-sale tickets at this show. Charlie Parr, Morgan O'Kane, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, Wheels, Ben Knight, My Brother The Bear, Terminal Union, The Flavor Junkies and many others will be performing this night. Charlie Parr Many people play roots music, but few modern musicians live those roots like Minnesota's Charlie Parr. Recording since the earliest days of the 21st century, Parr's heartfelt and plaintive original folk blues and traditional spirituals don't strive for authenticity: They are authentic. It's the music of a self-taught guitarist and banjo player who grew up without a TV but with his dad's recordings of America's musical founding fathers, including Charley Patton and Lightnin' Hopkins, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. With his long scraggly hair, father-time beard, thrift-store workingman's flannel and jeans, and emphatic, throaty voice, Parr looks and sounds like he would have fit right into Harry Smith's "Anthology of American Folk Music." Parr uses three instruments, not including his own stomping foot. He got an 1890 banjo the first time he heard Dock Boggs. "I don't do claw hammer, I don't do Scruggs-style, it's just a version of me trying to play like Dock Boggs, I guess," Parr says. He has two Nationals, a 12-string and a Resonator, which became an obsession when Parr saw a picture of Son House playing it. "The first time I got my paws on one, I went into debt to buy it," he says. "Nationals are fun because they are as much mechanical as instrumental, you can take them apart and put them back together again." On an overseas tour, the neck of the Resonator broke in baggage: he played the guitar by shimming the neck inside the body with popsicle sticks. "It solidifies your relationship with the instrument so much: It's as much part of you as anything else." Parr's forthcoming album, Barnswallow (due January 2013), will be his eleventh studio release. Most of his recordings, including Roustabout (2008), Jubilee (2007), Rooster (2005), King Earl (2004), 1922 (2002) and Criminals and Sinners (2001) eschew typical studio settings. He has recorded in warehouses, garages, basements and storefronts, usually on vintage equipment, which gives his work the historic feel of field recordings. It's not because he wants to sound like he was discovered 75 years ago by Alan Lomax; it's because most modern recording studios make the reticent and self-effacing Parr feel uncomfortable. He often works with engineer and mastering master Tom Herbers of Third Ear Studios in Minneapolis to give his recordings true fidelity no matter what the format, from mp3 to 180 gram vinyl to whatever is in between. Yet his music sounds so timeless that you half wonder if there's not a scratchy Paramount 78 of Charlie Parr singing and strumming somewhere. His inspiration is drawn from the alternately fertile and frozen soil of Minnesota. Parr grew up in the Hormel company city of Austin, Minnesota (population 25,000) where most of the world's favorite tinned meat, Spam, is still manufactured. And he hasn't moved far, drawing sustenance from the surprisingly large, thriving and mutually supportive music scene of Duluth: Parr's 2011 album of traditional songs, Keep Your Hands on the Plow features locals including Charlie's wife, Emily Parr; old-timey banjo/fiddle band Four Mile Portage; and Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of the renowned alternative rock band Low. The combination of industrial meat factory where both of his parents worked proud union jobs, set in a largely rural environment, had a broad impact on Parr. "Every morning you'd hear the [factory] whistles blow, when I was a kid they had the stockyards and animals there, so you were surrounded by this atmosphere," Parr says. "My mom and dad would come home from work, their smocks would be covered by paprika and gore." But out the back door were soybean fields, as far as they eye could see. "As a kid I thought it was kind of boring, but now I go and visit my mom and I think it's the most beautiful landscape there is." What leisure time was available was spent at an uncle's farm a few miles away in Hollandale, where Charlie would pick the potatoes and other crops that would feed their families. Charlie's father and uncle would buy whole cows from a local cattle farm. The family rarely ate Spam. Parr shows the same resourcefulness on the road, averaging 3 or 4 shows a week, year round. To stay in traveling shape, he eats home-prepared meals such as spicy lentil curry, black bean chili and mix vegetables that cook on the manifold of his van while he drives. "It's a good heat source and it's handy—25 miles on the manifold will cook about anything you want." To many, Parr is considered a regional artist, which is another way of saying he doesn't like to travel far from his family's Depression era roots. "From Cleveland to Seattle and down to San Francisco and back is my area," he says, though the focus is unquestionably Minnesota and the Northern Plains. Yet he's built a big enough audience in both Ireland and Australia to tour both regularly. He's had especially good fortune Down Under, where his "1922 Blues" was used as the counterintuitive music behind a Vodafone mobile commercial and became a viral and radio success. Three of his songs added atmospheric resonance to the 2010 Australian western "Red Hill." On his last tour, his fourth of that continent, he was a guest DJ for three hours on a Melbourne roots music radio station, on which he played songs from his own mix CD. "The newest thing on it was some Bukka White recordings from the 1940s," Parr says with some incredulity. "People were calling all morning to say how much they like the music." Quiet, thoughtful and humble, Parr has made two albums of spirituals, and a few traditional songs of the hard life and the hereafter are always in his live sets. Such music isn't necessarily rooted in the Methodist church in which he grew up: "It was more like, let's get the service over quick so we can get downstairs and drink coffee and have pie!" But faith, though undefined, underlines all of Charlie's music, both in the listening, the covering, the writing and performing. "When you listen to Charley Patton playing something like 'Prayer of Death,' way over and above it just being a 'Charley Patton' song, or a 'spiritual' song, it's one of the most beautiful and haunting pieces of music you'll ever hear in your life. You can't quite put your thumb on it, you just want to do something like that so much...I don't think I ever have, but it's a weird, visceral thing. Any time I get a song like that right, I get kind of that weird feeling, you know?" —Wayne Robins, April 2012 Wayne Robins has been writing about music since the 1960s, and lives in New York Morgan O'kane Every so often, just when you think the well is dry and the tradition is dead, you are gratefully reminded that there is still water down there and that the tradition was only sleeping.Morgan O'Kane from Charlottesville, Virginia is one of those reminders. A virtuoso banjo player, shouter and activist now based in New York City, Morgan recalls two other transplanted legendary southern artists; Reverend Gary Davis and Aunt Molly Jackson. Like the reverend, Morgan honed his skills making a living as a busking street artist. Like Aunt Molly, he has kept his connection to his Appalachian home and its issues, taking part in the campaign to ban mountaintop removal mining, which destroys the land and the people who live on it. -- "If Dan Tyminski were to challenge Ravi Shankar to duelling banjos on the neutral ground of a Scottish Kayleigh…Pendulum could well be the outcome. The album is a collection of 14 songs from banjo player extraordinaire Morgan O'Kane, who must surely be to the banjo, what Joe Satriani is to the electric guitar. Yes, if there was a prize for banjo shredding it would, without question, be on O'Kane's mantelpiece. " – Pete Whalley www.getreadytorock.com/ UK - May 2012 "Ace dirty banjo man trawls the dark side…Its O'Kane's banjo and vocal that dominate what is an intense and superb set" Americana-UK June 2012 MORGAN O'Kane "Pendulum" (Dollartone / Sonic Rendezvous) (4.5 *****) Altcountry.be (google translate) "Morgan O'Kane is a downright phenomenon. A real natural phenomenon! …. immediately speaks heavily to the imagination. ….the mad musical passion. His songs are raw, his singing game and his game on both banjo and mandolin at once inventive and very energetic…Old foundations cracking under his revolutionary hammering on their own particular banjo. Bluegrass sounded really never so intense as here. In a production of Vic Thrill and further including the necessary helping hand services Ferd Moyse of the Hackensaw Boys on fiddle, the recently named the Carolina Chocolate Drops joined Leyla McCalla on cello, Ezekiel Healy on dobro, Liam Crill with spoons, JR Hankins on flugelhorn and Domino Kirke additional vocals O'Kane takes the genre to speak again. That may all sound a little exaggerated, but it certainly is not! Listen for yourself …With the fourteen songs on this second of O'Kane, the roof just off of! We're deeply impressed!…" "In all the songs Morgan demonstrates a deep knowledge of human frailties and motivations….a sweaty, salty and passion imbued primer….Morgan's rough voice, haunting vocals and virtuoso string music awakens the spirits of the old world and transposes them to his own time" Rootstime.be May 2012 "the musicians are enthusiastic and their chops are solid – especially banjo virtuoso Morgan O'Kane" June 15, 2011 NOW Toronto, Norman Wilner (excerpt from Film review of Below New York) Whiskey Bent Valley Boys Now these boy will take you through the hills of ol’ kentucky, bearing the stores, traditions and liqour that date back a century. This old-time band delivers with an intensity that would knock the sock right off of their forefathers feet. Hailing from the back woods of Pee-Wee Valley, Kentucky, The Whiskey Bent Valley Boys pay homage to their southern king— songs from the tobacco fields to the rivers, iron skillets to moonshine stills, upbeat and professional, the band posesses the skill to honor history and preserve the instruments, their style and every authentic, nuance of the day. With their divers fashion sense and stage. From overalls to string ties, straw hats to silk vests, along with a turbo-charged performance, their approach breathes fire into this vintage genre. Blending their instrumental and vocal talents are; JR on the barnyard fiddle: the bands founder, Mason Dixon, is behind his unique style of claw hammer and three-finger style banjo, guitar, harmonica, standing tall with his doghouse bass is the bands youngest member, Leroy Jones; and on mandolin and once in a blue moon—spoons, Johnny Whippermule. Incorporatin time-honored treasures from such icons as Roscoe Holcomb, The Stanley Brothers, and fiddle legend Tommy Jarrell, or a roster of original compositions including crowd-pleasers “Whiskey Train and “Shady River” the band puts on a timeless, energiezed show; Playing everything from ballads, breakdowns, sea shanties, and swamp stomps. Audiences from children on their parent’s knee to packed saloons past midnight and finding favor with the older generation as well makes for a wide range of appeal. The boys take cues from parents and grandparents who have tapped into folk country and bluegrass through festivals, radio and endless collections of vinyl recrodings. Band founder Mason Dixon hails from a long line of musicians and will tell you it’s not so much in the whiskey as it is the DNA. Each member’s family performs and enjoys the indigenous music of the appalachian foothills and pastures of Kentucky. Appearances on a wide range of radio and tiv programs, state fairs and festivals have brought them an active fan base for this region. Often times the boy bring a delicious yield of their summer crops to gigs in bushel baskets for the taking. Going even more down earth, they are taking their cd packaging “green.” Their upcoming new, full-length cd sleeve is industrial hemp paper and recycled cardboard with environmentally-friendly, vegetable-based inks. No matter whats chillin’ in your mason jar, sour mash or sweet tea, come on out for a live show where the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys will be pounding out the swing dancing, foot stompin, hard=driving tunes that are guaranteed to tickle your innards.