Charlie Parr brings his music back home to Austin where it started

Charlie Parr will perform Saturday at the Paramount Theatre in Austin.

The last time Charlie Parr set foot in the Paramount Theatre in Austin he was 5 years old and his parents took him to a movie.

Parr was so enamored with the décor of the building, though, that he couldn’t begin to say what the movie was even about. Now, at 45, Parr will once again walk through the historic doors, this time to sit on the stage as a performer playing folk style music Saturday night.

Parr grew up in Austin. He was born in 1967 to Oren and Ina Mae Parr, who both worked at the Hormel plant. It was his hardworking parents who introduced him to music.

"My mom and dad had a great love of music," Parr said. "It’s almost always been that way. I’ve always been moved that much."

Parr also recounted fond memories such as getting his first guitar, riding his bike, and other kid stuff. He grew up on the edge of town, with soybean fields as his backyard. At the time, he thought it was a boring landscape, but now he remembers it fondly.


"When you grow up somewhere, you can’t wait to leave," Parr said.

Now, "I try to get back as much as I can," said Parr, who recently visited his mother and sister Julie for Memorial Day weekend.

Parr left Austin in the 1980s, briefly moving back in the 1990s when his dad became sick and died. Parr met his wife Emily, a high school teacher in Minneapolis. Later, they moved to Duluth, where they now have two children, a son Elijah, 10, and a daughter, Talulah, 5.

Parr, who describes his style as folk with inspiration from all over, said he has about nine records of material. He is recording two albums, one an instrumental guitar and the other a lyric record of original material.

Saturday’s performance will reflect his work, and the folk, blues, and old-style country he listened to on his parents’ stereo, something he feels obliged to honor.

"For whatever reason I’ve always liked this kind of music," Parr said. "I hope I convey that. I hope I do it justice."

What To Read Next
Get Local