Review: Steve Parry “The Fight Left In Me”
The Fight Left In Me
It’s rare that an album comes across our desk that at first listen, might be mistaken for a new Guy Clark release. But, Steve Parry’s surprisingly impressive debut, The Fight Left In Me is an exception. This is an album that showcases Texas songwriting at its finest. Yet, oddly enough, Parry isn’t from Texas, at all. Still, somehow the influence of legendary Lone Star State native singer/songwriters, successfully found its way up to the snowy trenches of Stillwater, MN. Then again, Minnesota is no stranger to great storytelling, Bob Dylan is from there after all.
With bare-bones acoustic instrumentation, Steve Parry seems to have convincingly mastered the art of American character based songwriting. “Til I’m Dead,” featuring soft, subtle, Emmylou Harris style accompanying harmonies, tells a woeful, Steinbeck-esque, Grapes of Wrath tale of a man who moved west and lost his love to dreaded illness, but will continue to persevere and “work the land” until he’s dead. In “Raise Hell,” which includes dark, haunting lyrics and a picking style similar to Townes Van Zandt, Parry, like Merle Haggard did with “Mama Tried,” sings of a good seed gone bad, post sufficient tragedy, turning to a life of “whiskey, women, guns and beer.”
Whether or not Parry has actually lived through the sorrow he sings (let’s hope not), he never ceases to sound authentic. The Fight Left In Me begs the listener to grab a glass of whiskey, sit down for a good cry and join along wallowing in self-pity. Though it’s filled with themes of death, heartache and disappointment, with the closing track, “Hope,” Parry, determined to “not die alone,” proves that despite it all, he won’t give up on life and really does have the fight left in him.