Charlie Parr - Last Of The Better Days Ahead
Last of the Better Days Ahead is a collection of powerful new songs by Charlie Parr about how one looks back on a life lived, as well as forward on what’s still to come. The album's spare production foregrounds Parr’s poetic lyricism, his expressive, gritty voice ringing clear over deft acoustic guitar playing that references folk and blues motifs in Parr’s own exploratory, idiosyncratic style.
When it comes to what it all means, Parr says, “Last of the Better Days Ahead is a way for me to refer to the times I’m living in.
"I’m getting on in years, experiencing a shift in perspective that was once described by my mom as 'time when we turn from gazing into the future to gazing back at the past, as if we’re adrift in the current, slowly turning around.' Some songs came from meditations on the fact that the portion of our brain devoted to memory is also the portion responsible for imagination, and what that entails for the collected experiences that we refer to as our lives.
"Other songs are cultivated primarily from the imagination, but also contain memories of what may be a real landscape, or at least one inspired by vivid dreaming. The album represents one full rotation of the boat in which we are adrift looking ahead for a last look at the better days to come, then being turned around to see the leading edge of the past as it fades into the foggy dreamscape of our real and imagined histories.”
"Like John Hartford jamming with St Francis of Assisi, Parr strikes a fine balance between immense generosity toward humanity and barely contained outrage towards humanity's tendency towards coldness and conformity" - Uncut (8/10)
"Hypnotic stories of low-key endurance and universal questions, like Raymond Carver's fiction set to a louch, crystal-clear soundtrack" - Mojo (****)
Last of the Better Days Ahead
Blues for Whitefish Lake, 1975
Walking Back from Willmar
On Fading Away
817 Oakland Avenue
On Listening to Robert Johnson
Bed of Wasps
- US import
- Double-LP housed in gatefold jacket
- CD housed in digipack case
- Features artwork by Abe Partridge
- Includes introductory essay by Abraham Smith, and track annotations by Charlie Parr
also on Smithsonian Folkways:
Leyla McCalla - Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute To Langston Hughes LP | CD
Joseph Spence - Encore LP | CD
Various - The Village Out West: The Lost Tapes Of Alan Oakes 2CD
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