Charlie Parr at Prairie Moon Winery
The Duluth-based guitarist Charlie Parr has slowly, steadily seen his reputation grow through a long career on the road and he now stands as the best finger-style folk guitarist in the Midwest, and one of the best singers and songwriters as well.
His picking has the perfect rhythmic precision usually associated with studio drummers. And the road-hewn depth of his vocal performances recalls the deathly presence of the great Ralph Stanley, who just passed this week.
His signature original song “Cheap Wine” is a full-blown Midwestern classic of narrative songwriting, while his renditions of folk standards from up and down the songbook hit the mark. He’ll be out at Prairie Moon Winery this Sunday from 3-6 p.m. as a part of the “Live at the Crib” series. (Disclosure: I helped book some of the lineup at Prairie Moon this summer, including this date.)
Paul Doffing Returns to DG’s
Speaking of some solid finger-picking: Paul Doffing will be back in town this weekend too for an early show at DG’s on Saturday. Paul, also a Minnesota native, lived in Ames for a few years and endeared himself to local folk and rock fans as much for his steady guitar work as for an emotionally generous take on humanity’s relationship to nature.
He lives the values he sings about. His on-going bicycle-based national tours prove the viability of emissions-free travel for songwriters (at least the extremely fit and brave ones). His memorable cover of John Lennon’s “Watching the Wheels” takes on new meaning in the context of his mode of transportation. He’ll be appearing alongside Last Time Only at DG’s this Saturday at 5 p.m.
Pop-Punk Show at The Record Mill
The fun-loving Minneapolis pop-punk quartet The Way Away will be swinging through Ames for a fist-pumping show at The Record Mill alongside the Ames favorites Underdog Story (who also help run and book the venue) and the charismatic local singer-songwriter Rudy Miller (who is also the guitarist for alt-punk party-starters Kickstart the Sun). This show will also be the debut of the brand new emo four-piece Vitamin K, which features a member of Underdog Story. It’s going down in the basement on Saturday at 7 p.m.