MinneCulture | John Koerner, Charlie Parr, and the Gifted Gretsch

MinneCulture | John Koerner, Charlie Parr, and the Gifted Gretsch

In early October 2022, Minnesota music legend Spider John Koerner gifted his old 12-string Gretsch guitar to musician Charlie Parr.

Inspired by Koerner early on in his career, Parr continues to evolve his music and his unique guitar style, following in the footsteps of Koerner.

Parr released his new album, ‘Little Sun,’ in March 2024. This album was recorded in Portland, OR, and produced by Parr’s close friend and collaborator Tucker Martine (Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket).

The gifted Gretsch was used in one song on the album, “10 Watt,” recorded in Minneapolis, featuring Mary DuShane on fiddle and Liz Draper on bass. Parr is currently performing an extensive solo US tour through July and a three-month European tour in the Fall. He’s taking the gifted Gretsch with him for the first time, sharing it with audiences excited to see Koerner’s famed guitar.

In September of last year, Parr organized and hosted a tribute to Spider John Koerner at the Parkway Theater: a screening of Koerner’s 1969 film “The Secret of Sleep.” The film was introduced by Koerner, and followed by a performance of Koerner songs by Parr on the Gretsch, featuring many musical friends and collaborators: Adam Kiesling, Liz Draper, Baby Grant Johnson, Mary DuShane. Parr is excited to keep the tradition, the guitar, and the music alive.

Charlie Parr performs First Avenue on Friday May 3, 2024 with Mama’s Broke and Marisa Anderson at 7 pm.

You can view one of Koerner’s guitars — his modified Epiphone — displayed on a wall at Palmer’s Bar along with a story Koerner wrote about it.

KFAI’s Cyn Collins had the opportunity to interview Koerner and Parr about the guitar and their connection.

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