Logjam Presents

Charlie Parr

Ro Myra

The Wilma

Missoula, MT
Add to Calendar 10/16/2021 20:00 10/17/2021 01:00 America/Boise Charlie Parr

Logjam Presents is pleased to welcome Charlie Parr for a live in concert performance at The Wilma on Saturday, October 16, 2021. Tickets are on sale now at the Top Hat, online or by phone at 1 (800) 514-3849. Advanced general admission seating tickets are available. All ages are welcome. Additional ticketing and venue information can… Continue Reading

Logjam Presents - Missoula, Montana false MM/DD/YYYY
7:00PM (door) 8:00PM (show)
$20 (Adv.) + applicable fees
All Ages
Tickets Event Info

Logjam Presents is pleased to welcome Charlie Parr for a live in concert performance at The Wilma on Saturday, October 16, 2021.

Tickets are on sale now at the Top Hat, online or by phone at 1 (800) 514-3849. Advanced general admission seating tickets are available. All ages are welcome.

Additional ticketing and venue information can be found here.

*With high ceilings, ample space, and some of the best ventilation systems in the state, the Wilma in Missoula, MT as well as The ELM in Bozeman, MT provide unique opportunities for the Montana community to support the arts in a spacious and more comfortable environment as we move into the colder months.

About Charlie Parr

Charlie Parr’s new album, Last of The Better Days Ahead, is a collection of powerful songs about how one looks back on a life lived, as well as forward on what’s still to come. Its 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. “Last of the Better Days Ahead is a way for me to refer to the times I’m living in,” says Parr. “I’m getting on in years, experiencing a shift in perspective that was once described by my mom as ‘a 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.”

On his Smithsonian Folkways debut, there’s something resoundingly new. The faithful will find an even more intense focus upon the word, and folks new to this titan of international folk blues will discover poetry so clear and pure it feels like he wrote it with an icicle on a window. Over the course of a prolific career spanning 13 full-length albums, the Duluth virtuoso has earned a passionate following for his strikingly candid songwriting and raw stage presence. Parr’s work digs deeply into his personal experiences with depression and the existential questions that weight it. “Parr is a master storyteller,” said PopMatters. “One can’t help but come back and marvel at his ability to make us believe that we know each of [his] characters or that, maybe, there’s some part of them in each of us.” Mojo said of his most recent effort, “Parr continues to spin life’s small details into profound lyrical observations of acceptance and wonder….the further adventures of a guitar-picking great.”

Born and raised in Austin, Minnesota, Charlie Parr first grabbed a guitar at age 8. To date, he has never had a formal lesson, but wows crowds with his incredible fingerpicking on his 12 string baritone resonator, guitar and banjo. All that locomotive melodic work is simply the scenery in the tales he’s spinning lyrically. Early in his career, Parr was employed by the Salvation Army as an outreach worker. He spent his days tracking the homeless in Minneapolis, providing blankets and resources. But they offered him something greater in return. The experience completely rewired him and left him with a newfound respect for human resilience. And along the way, he collected stories from the folks he would meet. These characters continue to show up in Parr’s songs even today.

Throughout Charlie’s music you can hear his sense of place. These are songs from the iron country. They are tales from the paper mill. You can hear the fisheries and the Boundary Waters. In Last of the Better Days you are met by someone who prizes quiet reflection over hustle and who shuns distraction for a long walk in the woods. “It’s one thing to be able to say that I’m not what I own or what I do,” says Parr, “but it still leaves behind the original question of what am I unanswered.”

Ro Myra

Ro Myra Image

“I grew up in a small, dried-up oil and farming town in the middle of nowhere Nebraska,” says Ro Myra. “I spent most of my life running away from it, and now I’m right back where I started.”

Nowhere, Nebraska, Myra’s extraordinary debut, is more than just a musical homecoming, though. Recorded over the last few years in Denver, Nashville, and Austin, the album is a complex reckoning with the past, a nuanced, literate reexamination of small-town life in the shadow of heartbreak, self-destruction, and second chances. While the arrangements here are broad and sweeping, Myra’s storytelling is sharply focused and firmly rooted, offering up rich, detailed character studies with keen insight and deep empathy. She writes with a novelist’s eye, isolating moments and emotions with surgical precision, and she sings with a weathered grace that makes the hard truths go down easy. The result is a warm embrace of an album all about memory and forgiveness, growth and pain, freedom and fate, a collection that calls to mind everything from Lucinda Williams to Bruce Springsteen to Lori McKenna to Brandi Carlile to Sheryl Crow as it makes peace with the past in order to more fully inhabit the present.

“This album was born out of an intention to become more of an observer in my daily life,” Myra explains. “I wanted to go back to this childlike state, to this honest, authentic space where I could try to understand the people and the places that shaped me, and maybe come to a better understanding of myself in the process.”

Born in Nebraska’s rural southwest corner, Myra knew from an early age that her future lay beyond the cropland and countless miles of empty prairie that surrounded her. Music was her first and most precious escape, a world of infinite possibility right there at her fingertips, and she dove into it, heart and soul. Growing up, Myra lacked formal training, so she invented her own notation system and taught herself piano, spending every free moment in the back bedroom of her grandmother’s house picking out songs by ear. In high school, she began studying classical piano with a teacher who believed in her more than she believed in herself, and by the time she hit 17, Myra was off to college to further her classical education.

“University seemed like the only way to get out of my hometown for good,” she explains, “but it still felt like something was missing. Everything I was studying and playing was written by long-dead white men, and there was no room for me to improvise or be creative or experience the true fullness of what music had to offer.”

So Myra shifted her focus from the arts to academics, eventually earning a master’s degree in Intercultural Youth and Family Development. It was while pursuing that in Montana that she met renowned contemporary composer Dr. Eric Funk, who became not only a teacher, but also a trusted mentor.

“Dr. Funk told me about this professor at Yale who’d taken him under his wing and let him study for free, and he wanted to pay that forward and do the same thing for me,” says Myra. “He got his colleagues in on it, too, and suddenly I was able to return to music in this really profound, life-changing way.”

Yet Myra still felt a lingering guilt around her passion for music, like it was a selfish pursuit in a world so full of hardship and suffering, so she continued to dedicate herself to more traditionally altruistic causes. She helped launch an education and healthcare non-profit in Buenos Aires, worked with an international aid group distributing wheelchairs and mobility devices around the world, and taught underprivileged students in impoverished communities through the non-profit Teach For America.

“I was having a hard time coming to grips with the idea that I could also have a meaningful impact on people through my songs,” Myra explains, “but Dr. Funk really opened my eyes. He said to me, ‘You can keep on running away from music if you want to, but you are music, and you can’t run from yourself.’ That helped me realize that what the world needs more than anything is people who are fully alive, and I’m never more fully alive than I am when I’m writing music.”

Taking Funk’s advice to heart, Myra began work on her debut, recording at first in Denver and then in Nashville, where she now resides full-time. Though disappointing setbacks meant practically starting over from scratch, and a health scare forced even more delays, Myra refused to give up. She produced the entire collection herself, fleshing out her vision of a record as raw and windswept as the fields of Nebraska, with a diverse cast of players including multi-instrumentalist Joshua Grange (Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow), Elephant Revival drummer Darren Garvey, bassist Vanessa McGowan (Brandy Clark), and fellow singer-songwriter Phoebe Hunt, among others.

“I wanted people to be able to listen to this record and feel what it’s like to stand in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska on a hot summer day, to feel the heat just radiating off of the wheat fields,” Myra explains. “I wanted it to sound like what growing up there felt like.”

That sense of place lies at the heart of Nowhere, Nebraska, which opens with the soaring “She’s Not the Road.” Like much of Myra’s writing, the song is imbued with a sense of loneliness and longing, her characters searching for connection in a sea of disappointment and inherited trauma. The bittersweet “Irene” is about the power of self-love and being the answer to ending cycles of abuse, while the melancholy “Mama” tries to make sense of the dysfunctional emotional cycles that get passed down from generation to generation, and the uneasy “Half the Time” grapples with substance abuse and the challenge of loving someone who isn’t really there.

“When I’m writing classical pieces for orchestra, I like switching up time signatures so that the piece feels like a living, breathing entity,” says Myra, “but ‘Half the Time’ was my first experience trying that in a song like this. I built it around these alternating bars of 4/4 and 5/4 to make it ebb and flow in this really organic way, to capture that sense of never feeling fully settled or sure of yourself.”

Myra’s characters spend much of the album coping with their pain and uncertainty through escape, either via the road, the bottle, or, as on the languid “Railroad Weed,” a cloud of smoke. By the record’s end, though, there’s an abiding sense of acceptance, an understanding that inner peace comes not from outrunning your problems, but from acknowledging them. “I dream of dancing in the valley ’til my tears dry,” Myra sings on the shuffling “Jump In the Water,” which learns to find grace and forgiveness within. “Transcend the monstrosity in me / Regret lingers here but I found the key.” Gentle album closer, “More Than Just Okay,” similarly promises that salvation is closer than we think, with Myra practically whispering, “You might feel like disappearing, when the windy road won’t straighten / But you’ll see the light, you will become the light.”

“When I was very young, I remember making up songs spontaneously and singing them to myself whenever I was most afraid,” Myra explains. “I think ‘More Than Just Okay’ is me singing to my past selves and my present self, and really anyone else who’s listening, just trying to remind them that everything they’re seeking is already inside of them.”

Ro Myra may have left home, but home, it seems, never left her.