Charlie Parr, Betse Ellis

Charlie Parr

Betse Ellis

Thursday, April 9th

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$18 / $20

Charlie Parr
Charlie Parr
Many people play roots music, but few modern musicians live those roots like Minnesota's Charlie Parr. Recording since the earliest days of the 21st century, Parr's heartfelt and plaintive original folk blues and traditional spirituals don't strive for authenticity: They are authentic. It's the music of a self-taught guitarist and banjo player who grew up without a TV but with his dad's recordings of America's musical founding fathers, including Charley Patton and Lightnin' Hopkins, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. With his long scraggly hair, father-time beard, thrift-store workingman's flannel and jeans, and emphatic, throaty voice, Parr looks and sounds like he would have fit right into Harry Smith's "Anthology of American Folk Music."
Betse Ellis
Renowned fiddler, Betse Ellis, founding member of Kansas City band The Wilders, is striking out on her own while the band takes a well-deserved break. She's been singing with the fiddle during Wilders shows, taking center stage for solo performances mid-set –Betse now establishes herself as a solo artist. She gathers diverse music and presents it with humor, intensity, and love. She has also convinced many an audience to join her in songs they may have never heard. Above all, Betse connects with the audience while performing "old time/new time" material, drawing from traditional American (mostly Ozark) fiddle tunes, old songs and spirituals, her own tunes and songs, and finally, a dose of what she calls her "personal old-time music". This is the music Betse grew up hearing, and it may draw from avant-garde artists like Talking Heads, punk pioneers The Clash, or even earlier art music composers like Gabriel-Marie.

Two fiddles – one in standard tuning, the other in cross-tuning – and a voice is usually all Betse needs to entertain an audience. Every once in a while, she picks up a tenor guitar, and sometimes, she puts all instruments down to sing a capella. Even all alone on a stage, Betse brings the sound of previous fiddlers, singers, and composers together with her unique, engaging style.