Thanks to my friend and fellow old-timey pilgrim Jerry and a timely face book intervention, I was part of a small but robust and highly excited audience, at the Highlands best emerging music venue The Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore. Id heard and played Charlie Parr on my Radio, because my friend Steve from non corporate medicine show sponsors Square Wheels Cycles, had sat me down in his front room to listen to Charlie, and Spotify had filled me in with many things Black Twig Pickers to, so I had a fare idea I was in for a treat. I didn't know however that they had both recently recorded a gospel album together, and was pleasantly surprise to discover just how dedicated these young fellas are to their music and their musical heritage.
Charlie and the band had decided, with one look at the homely atmosphere of the OBI lounge, that no PA was needed and they would play totally acoustically, a bold and fearless move, but a master stroke that made for a uniquely intimate show. It was a real privilege to be there and I'm so happy I had the presence of mind to capture some of it on this videolog, hope you enjoy sharing it again with me now.
The Black Twig Pickers got their start in a dark alley between the campers at the 1999 Galax Old Fiddlers Convention, choosing their name from an archaic apple variety in founding fiddler Ralph Berrier Jr.'s family orchard. Since then, the Black Twig Pickers' fiddle/banjo/ guitar/washboard/ downhome sound has chimed up in dives, barns, street corners and dances from Amsterdam to Atlanta, yet remains solidly rooted in a corner of Southwest Virginia where four other states are closer than the Virginia capital.
One spring day in 1979, a young Charlie Parr made his way down to East Side Lake in Austin, Minnesota carrying a Johnson 9.9 outboard motor and half of a gallon of gas. His pockets were stuffed with stolen cans of Blatz. The motor did him no good at the lake since he didn’t have a boat, but he was lucky and traded it to a truck driver at a nearby filling station for a beat up Gibson 12-string guitar. He kept the gas.
A confused and shy individual, Charlie Parr plays original and traditional folk and Piedmont-style blues, accompanying himself on National resonator guitars, 12-string guitar and sometimes a banjo. He’s released 6 cd’s, 3 of which are still available, the latest of which is called “Roustabout” and contains something like 14 tracks of original and traditional folk music recorded in true monophonic sound.
I talk to Isak Howell about the legacy of music in south west Virginia, and where Charlie Parr fits in, and I talk to Charlie about the difference (or lack of it) between Old-timey and The Blues.
Live and acoustic session, with Charlie, then The Band, and finally all together.
The Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore, offers a roaring log fire and cheerful atmosphere along with excellent food and a fine selection of cask ales and malt Wiskey as well as fine fine music. Check out the program here www.oldbridgeinn.co.uk
The next Medicine Show visit to The OBI in Aviemore is with Gypsy Dave Smith on Friday 8th October http://houseconcerthub.ning.com/events/gypsy-dave-smith-highland-tour
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