BENTON HARBOR — Songs are much different than other art forms, Charlie Parr says.
"Songs are never done," he said in a recent phone interview from Minneapolis. "They can be rewritten every time you sing it. Performing a song is where it exists in its purest form."
On Saturday, Parr will bring his ever-changing songs to The Livery for the first time in support of his new self-titled album: "Charlie Parr."
The folk and blues singer/guitarist said, while he's proud of this album and had a great time making it, being in a studio is not his strong suit.
"My favorite part is performing," Parr said. "Being in a studio, is a performance without the people to react to and play off of. You end up with a version of a song that's encased in amber in a way."
With more than 16 albums, some self-released, he's had quite the career over the last nearly 20 years. The new album is his first since an accident last year that threatened that career.
While skateboarding with his daughter along Lake Superior in August 2018, he fell and busted his shoulder into pieces. He underwent surgery that left him with a metal plate and eight pins holding his reconstructed shoulder together.
Within days, as soon as he could tabletop his guitar across his lap, Parr was playing again. Three weeks later, he made a pain-filled return to the stage.
"It feels really good to be doing this," Parr said. "I don't know what else I'd do. This is all I've ever wanted to do, and just the chance to continue on is just really good."
Parr said he's inspired by musicians like "Spider" John Koerner, who have a very idiosyncratic style. Parr covers him and others on his new album.
While audiences can expect to hear some old songs and some new songs at his live performances, Parr said they shouldn't expect much stage presence.
"It's minimal at best," he said. "At the end of the day I don't do much. I'm trying to work on the whole entertainer aspect of it. I'm just kind of a folk singer that just sits there and tries to do a good job at playing my songs."
Parr said he likes to cycle through songs he enjoys playing.
"When I started playing guitar at about 8 – since I'm self-taught and I'm 52 now – I've found over the years that I'm always excited about the guitar," he said. "It's really exciting because (being self-taught) I don't know about it. I don't even know to this day that's going with it."
The new album is described as an audio tour of his life and career to date, and a celebration of more songs and stories to come.
"It turned out to be the record I wanted it to be. It's rough and frazzled," he said. "I'm a big believer in this kind of folk process idea that it feels like a very human thing to me. We produce things that are heavily influenced by the things we took in."
Opening for Parr on Saturday is Shawn Butzin, a folk songwriter based out of Traverse City. Butzin released his debut solo album, "Northern Trails," in August 2017 and followed it up with an EP, "Adventures," in May 2018.
On Saturday, he'll be showing off his new album, recorded in Benton Harbor at Key Club Recording.
Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman