Local Current Blog

Charlie Parr announces new album, returns to live performance after serious skateboard injury

Charlie Parr performs at the Turf Club, January 2018. (Darin Kamnetz for MPR)

As he continues to recover from a shattered shoulder, Duluth singer-songwriter Charlie Parr is moving forward with new music.

Parr fell while skateboarding last August, requiring extensive surgery. Parr had never experienced a physical health issue like this before, and was not sure if this would impact his ability to play his guitar.

“There are still bits of [my shoulder] in there that aren’t attached to anything that the surgeon couldn’t do anything about,” said Parr in an interview with Billboard. “He was pretty skeptical about me being able to operate [the shoulder] normally, at least for a very long time.”

Although his prognosis seemed dire, Parr was not going to let his injury defeat him. Parr found unique ways to hold and play his guitar.

“Eventually I was able to haul my guitar on my lap and play it lap style,” Parr told Billboard. “I think that was the thing that actually helped me get back to being able to play again. I was really, really distraught that this might threaten my ability to play, so I did [lap style] every day, and the surgeon says that may have been what sped my healing along because of that kind of constant exercise.”

Even though Parr now has limited range of motion in his shoulder, he believes he can continue to play music with an adapted style that helps lessen any residual pain from the injury.

Parr has announced a new, eponymous album. Charlie Parr was recorded in January; it includes four new songs as well as new recordings of past favorites. It will be released on Sept. 27, and Parr has previewed the album by sharing a new version of “Jubilee,” a song that previously appeared on 2011’s Cheap Wine. The new album will also include covers of songs by fellow Minnesotans Grant Hart (“Twenty-Five Forty-One”) and Spider John Koerner (“Running Jumping Standing Still”).

As he continues to heal, Parr plans to perform and play music at several upcoming festivals and concerts. Parr is back on tour, and has scheduled performances throughout the United States and Europe, ending in Appleton, Wisconsin on Oct. 26. His next Minnesota gig is a sold-out show on July 18 at Isanti Spirits.