Creative resurgence continues for Christian Parker’s solo mission | arts and entertainment

CANTON — If Christian R. Parker’s creative resurgence can be measured in terms of song downloads, things are definitely looking up.

Six months ago he released an album of new material, “Every Passing Mile”, distributed by The Orchard, a major independent music distributor and part of Sony Music. On the digital music service Spotify, some of his songs have ranged from 60,000 to 100,000 streams, the songs are on hundreds of playlists, including editorial playlists created by Spotify staff and the album received national reviews.

“The biggest results have been my music platform, my followers and all the streaming,” Mr. Parker said. “I probably gained 10 times more exposure during that time.”

But he said the best rewards for him aren’t tied to downloads or streams. He said he gets messages from people he doesn’t know thanking him for his music and videos, with a few saying things like, “Thank you, I needed it.”

“These messages are probably the ones that resonate the most and let me know that I did the right thing,” he said.

On Friday, “Best Kept Secret,” an 11-song album Mr. Parker wrote two decades ago, was released. It is also distributed by The Orchard.

“You always want a longer gap between albums and releases,” he said. “But in today’s world, it’s difficult. It just seems like the machine wants to keep getting fed, especially the streaming platforms. You have to spin the wheels. That’s why I did “Every Passing Mile” first. It was really my brand new record, where I am in my life now.

Meanwhile, Mr. Parker (“Moe”) is working on a Byrds tribute album, “Chime and Twang”, and his band The Waydown Wailers are putting the finishing touches on a fourth album, “Miles of Roads”. He is also working on remastering and remixing other albums he has already released. All of his albums are recorded and engineered at SubCat Records in Syracuse.

Mr. Parker said some acquaintances asked him what prompted him to release these old and new tunes. His answer could be the lyrics of a country song.

“And I’m like, ‘I’m staying right after that.’ All I’m doing is just not making it not okay to do it. Keep moving forward.

Mr. Parker, who grew up in Canton, made a musical name for himself in local circles long before he became a member of the Waydown Wailers. At 17, 36 years ago, he released his first album. In 1990, Mr. Parker released his second album of songs, featuring Peter Pendras, a guitarist from RCA Records country band Wild Choir. Mr. Parker’s other collaborations and albums include 2007’s “Now and Then” with local musician Barb Heller.

“an emergency”

Mr. Parker had been quiet on the songwriting and songwriting front for the past few years. But the pandemic sparked a creative explosion that not only resulted in the new “Every Passing Mile” and a revisit of tracks from “Best Kept Secret.”

The Waydown Wailers, in which Mr. Parker plays guitar, are known for their edgy, gritty music with a sound called everything from blues and “swamp rock” to Americana. Mr. Parker’s music is softer with acoustic, “sounding” electric guitars paired with pensive lyrics and catchy hooks. His music echoes ELO, Crowded House, Badfinger and the Beatles.

The tracks for “Best Kept Secret” were mostly written in 2001, a dark time for the United States after the 9/11 attacks.

“We were in kind of a tough time, and I think you can hear an urgency in the sound,” Mr. Parker said.

The first track on the album is “Weight of the World”. It was inspired by Mr. Parker’s daughter, who was 9 when he wrote it in 2001.

In the inside notes of the “Best Kept Secret” album, Mr. Parker offers more information about his origins:

“September 11, 2001 was a quiet, sunny Tuesday morning. I intended to write songs for my first studio album in almost 10 years. Inspiration came quickly after the fall of the Twin Towers and the world was faced with uncertainty, confusion and thinking about what is really important in life. Our lives changed on that fateful day, never to be the same again. Written on a napkin was this phrase, “Best Kept Secret”, which would be the title of a prolific set of melodies and songs.

On June 24, the video for the album’s song, “Diamond Sailor”, had its world premiere on Music News, a major UK Canton publication Morgan D. Elliott of Ridge 44 Productions premiered a creation of dreamlike animation of the ‘Diamond Sailor’ story, while Mr. Parker’s music has a late Beatles vibe.

“It’s Morgan’s creation,” Mr. Parker said of the video. “I tell him what the song is about and he offers his own translation. I was really happy with what he did. It’s different.”

The theme of the song and video is a boy whose future is wide open but struggles to define himself in a difficult world.

Potsdam native Phil Hurley, now living in Austin, Texas, played slide guitar to the tune and added vocal harmony. Waydown Wailers drummer Mike Scriminger plays drums on the track.

In the end, “Diamond Sailor” unearths a red guitar, which becomes an instrument of pleasure and self-expression – something Mr. Parker can certainly relate to with his recent hits.

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