Music roundup: Guitar legend Charlie Parr plans Stoughton Opera House stop

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By Bill Livick/Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Charlie Parr, 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 24, Stoughton Opera House, 381 E. Main St., Stoughton. Tickets: $22. Call 608-877-4400.

Charlie Parr began “poking around” on an acoustic guitar before he was 10 years old, and he's been playing professionally for 20 years.

At 50, he's never lost the passion for playing he developed as a kid. He remains “obsessed” about it all and “grateful for the fact that that fire just never went out,” he said in a telephone interview.

Parr is a master of the 12-string guitar, national steel guitar and fretless banjo. He's released 15 CDs including 2015's “Stumpjumper” on Red House Records. He wrote 10 of the album's 11 songs, and all sound like they come from an earlier era of American folk music.

“The old country blues and old-timey music are my favorites,” Parr said, citing such key influences as Lightin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, Rev. Gary Davis and David Bromberg.

Parr said his career “expectations have always been relatively low because, as a folk singer, you don't think too much about it. You just want to play a little bit. That's all I ever wanted.”

He's been able to travel the world playing music that gets almost no attention or airplay in mainstream media, and it's clear that commercial success is the last thing on his mind.

He makes music because it puts him in a state of bliss each time, he said.

“I get it almost every time I play,” Parr said. “I can play in beautiful places like the Stoughton Opera House, or I can play in little dive bars. But at the end of day, if I can sit down and play, it all goes away.”
Jim Messina, 8 p.m. Friday, March 24, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. Fourth St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $39.50-$75. Call 414-286-3663.

Singer-songwriter, performer and record producer Jim Messina probably is best remembered as half of the 1970s soft-rock duo Loggins and Messina.

But before working with Kenny Loggins, Messina had performed as a member of Buffalo Springfield and Poco. He was a founding member of the latter, which he formed with fellow Springfield member Rickie Fury in 1968.

Messina began working with Loggins in 1970 as his producer, and the two recorded a number of Loggins' songs. In '71, the two released the album “Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In.” Messina went on to produce seven more albums with Loggins, and together they sold more than 20 million albums, according to Messina's website.

When the duo split in 1976, each pursued solo careers. Messina released three solo albums from 1979-83, but he never achieved the success he had as a duo with Loggins.

In 2005, the pair embarked on a successful Loggins and Messina reunion tour that produced a CD and DVD titled “Live: Sittin' In Again at the Santa Barbara Bowl.” The same year, Messina also released a digitally mastered compilation album, “The Best: Sittin' in Again.”

The duo toured again in 2009, and in 2012 Messina released a CD and DVD of a live performance at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in California.

The Lumineers, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25, BMO Harris Bradley Center, 1001 N. Fourth St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $26.50-$56.50. Call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

Folk-rock trio The Lumineers bring a stripped-down sound and honest simplicity to the BMO Harris Pavilion stage. The trio is touring in support of its second album, “Cleopatra,” which was released in April 2016.

The band—Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek—released a self-titled debut album in April 2012 and was surprised by its success. The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and earned The Lumineers two Grammy nominations (for Best New Artist and Best Americana Album) in 2013.

The album's first single, “Hey Ho,” was nominated for Song of the Year at the Americana Music Awards and Top Rock Song at the Billboard Music Awards. The Billboard Awards also nominated the band for Top New Artist and the album for Top Rock Album.

Schultz and Fraites began writing and performing together in 2002 after the death by drug overdose of Josh Fraites, Jeremiah's brother and Schultz's best friend. The pair moved from New Jersey to Denver, Colorado, in 2009, and cellist Pekarek joined the band in 2010 after graduating from college.

Acoustic guitarist Schultz is the band's lyricist and chief vocalist, while Fraites (drums and percussion) collaborates in the songwriting. The band's albums are collections of rustic folk-rock songs that fit in with the current roots revival.
Journey, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, The Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center, 1881 Expo Mall East, Madison. Tickets: $39.50-$99.50. Call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

The hugely successful rock band Journey will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month. Before that, the group will appear at The Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center.

Journey formed in 1973 and released a few albums, but it wasn't until lead singer Steve Perry joined in '77 that the group achieved stardom. The next year, the band released its fourth album, “Infinity,” which included the band's first hit single, “Wheel in the Sky.”

The group's popularity seemed to grow with each new release. The 1979 album “Evolution” included the Top 20 single “Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin',” and the 1980 album “Departure” reached Billboard's No. 8 spot.

Journey released its most popular album, “Escape,” in 1981. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard rock chart and included three Top 10 hits: “Who's Cryin' Now,” “Don't Stop Believin'” and “Open Arms.” The follow-up album, “Frontiers,” peaked at No. 2 in 1983 and sold close to 6 million copies, according to the band's website.

By then, Journey had become a major touring act. During the tour supporting the album, Perry was unable or unwilling to continue, and the band went on hiatus.

Perry rejoined the band from 1991-97 but was replaced by lead singer Steve Augeri after Perry suffered a hiking accident in Hawaii.

Journey has released four albums since Perry left the band, its most recent being “Eclipse” in 2011.

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