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Parker Paul

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Parker Paul is a throwback, the kind of entertainer you don’t encounter very often anymore. The former member of the Charlottesville, VA indie rock group The Curious Digit has turned into a slightly loopy, rather boozy-sounding crooner who sings whimsical, sometimes cryptic tunes along with a rambling jazz piano. The songs on his two Jagjaguwar Records full-lengths, Lemon-Lime Room (2000) and Wingfoot (2001), reveal an old-time, slightly vaudevillian package of traits: a strong storytelling instinct, a tendency to adopt confessional tones, and a taste for quirky offbeat images.

Take the song “We Miss Our Lady,” a moving story about a father and son’s domestic life after the mother has left, which begins, “Me and the boy we love each other/We eat our greens, we drink our water/We clean the toilet, we sweep the walk/We listen to each other talk,” and ends, “I can not think of you with another/I can not think of you with another.” All this in a throaty voice that sounds like it’s seen no shortage of gin and cigarettes, set to nothing more than warm, loose piano chords.

And sometimes he sounds downright nuts, though even then he makes a strange kind of sense. From the same album, “Sin, Sin” features such surreal, elliptical lyrics as “Few marry their true love/Chinese sweatshop cuties made your X-mas tree dove/The evening news is less honest than porn/Satan rarely wears horns.” The words just sort of fall there in your lap, leaving you with little to do but sit there and sip your drink and contemplate their elliptical meaning.

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