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Charlie Parr's Raucous Junk-Rag 'Peaceful Valley' Is Anything But

The country-blues tradition is full of heartbreak and hard knocks, and Charlie Parr's Dog is a heartfelt wander-through-an-alley of an album. The Duluth, Minn.-based songwriter strikes one self-inflicted wound after another, examining his own mental health and others through an expertly-picked resonator guitar and lyrics that puncture the soul.

With fingers flying like a hornet's nest knocked on its side, "Peaceful Valley" is a song for devil-may-care hermits and hoarders that could very easily be pitch-black, but offers some self-deprecating light at it's end. It "came from me trying to write a sad song and it got much too sad, so I re-purposed the bulk of it with this kind of silly-sounding junk rag I'd been kicking around," Parr tells NPR.

Jake Huffcutt directs and animates this video that takes Parr's lyrics literally: "I got three TVs and a bunch of coffee pots / And there just ain't no reason for me to go outside no more." As the garbage piles up and the video's character shirks all responsibility to listen to music and never get out of bed, the town rises up against him. "The video fits the song to a tee," Parr says, "and according to my kids the character of me in the video is a dead ringer for the actual me."

Dog comes out Sept. 8 via Red House Records.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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