Charlie Parr

Charlie Parr • April 6, 2024 • The Commonwealth Room

Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe

Minnesota-based singer-songwriter and guitarist, Charlie Parr made a tour stop at The Commonwealth Room on Saturday, April 6.  Parr seems to be almost constantly on the road.  A troubadour making his way through the country and around the world, bringing songs from his eighteen (yes! 18!) albums to fans of good music.  On this tour, Charlie Parr will be presenting music from his latest album, Little Sun.  Released on March 22.  I’m not quite sure how Parr chooses from such a vast catalog.  I was excited to be seeing him for the first time.

The Commonwealth Room

I always enjoy attending shows at The Commonwealth Room.  The intimate setting was the perfect environment for this type of show.  Often times an acoustic show can be awkward because there are so many instances where audience members can be heard talking.  Their voices many times will be louder than the music.  This can irritate fans who are trying to listen to the music or a story, and can often lead to confrontations that are very distracting.  This was not the case and is almost never the case at The Commonwealth Room in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Music lovers who attend this venue seem very focused on the music.  You can hear a pin drop it’s so quiet.  There have been many shows where I feel bad and uncomfortable because the clicking of my camera sounds like it’s been mic’d up!   I love the dedication these fans have to this music and the artists that perform at this venue.

Charlie Parr

Unceremoniously, Charlie Parr walked on stage, plugged in his guitar and began the show.  He was so nonpretentious that I initially thought it was a guitar tech walking on stage to make final adjustments.  But as soon as he sat down, I knew it was him, and the audience cheered and then quickly quieted down to hear the first song.  I loved seeing the faces of Charlie Parr’s fans.  They seemed so happy to have him in town.  

Parr told us that he left Fort Collins, Colorado at 6:30 AM to make it to the show here in Salt Lake City.  The audible groan from fans thinking about having to wake up that early on a Saturday morning rolled through the venue.  He told us that the highway was closed due to weather in Wyoming and he had to wait several hours at a gas station before resuming his trek to Utah.  He mentioned that several travelers would get angry at the employees at the gas station as if they had something to do with the roads being closed.  It didn’t sound like a great trip.  But we’re sure glad the roads opened and he was able to make it here. 

The interesting thing about Charlie Parr’s new album Little Sun, is that it’s his first album that wasn’t recorded completely live. All of his previous albums were recorded in essentially one take.  Live.  Flubs and all.  This album was mostly live but was produced by his close friend and collaborator Tucker Martine (Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket).  I appreciate the desire to mix things up and try new things.  Songs like “Boombox” and “Portland Avenue” went over well with the crowd and I think they’ll enjoy this new album quite a bit. The entire night was ideal for any singer-songwriter fan.  Charlie Parr sounded great and was really entertaining.

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