David Roy Parsons
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David Roy Parsons

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic

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"David Roy Parsons (2011)"

David Roy Parsons “Time And Travel” (2011)

I love receiving mail, so you can imagine my delight when I found a parcel waiting outside my door when I was about to enter a snowstorm. I opened it at once to find that my copy of David Roy Parsons’ fourth album Time And Travel (2011) had safely arrived. Time And Travel is a collection of songs written from the inspiration of Wells, B.C., Ottawa’s Chateau Laffeyette, Vancouver’s Railway Club, Vancouver’s Our Lady of Constant Sorrow School, Guatemala, Botswana and the people who inhabit these places. While a wide geographical landscape inspired Time And Travel, the sounds from this album makes me crave a rural destination.
The storytelling of David Roy Parsons makes me feel as if I’m in a cozy bar or on a road trip through Canada’s interior, tracing the landscape of Parsons’ songs. On the first track “Joel And Elsie And The Ballad Of The Giant Radish,” the fairytale-like sounds of a flute whirl through the garden of the ballad. Parsons’ voice is in conversation with supporting female vocals (Karyn Ellis) as they play the parts of Joel and Elsie, a couple sharing stories about growing the best vegetables they can for one another. This track features shakers, congas and an accordion that together lend a more mysterious sound to Parsons’ music. Time And Travel features these more eclectic sounds with those from typical bluegrass instrumentation-viola, banjo, mandolin, and the slide guitar.
In “The Chateau Laffeyette,” inspired by one of the oldest still operating bars in North America, Parsons sings a country song of the bar’s place in Ottawa’s history, those who frequent it as well as his own experiences there playing music, sometimes getting money, sometimes getting black eyes. Each song is crafted in rhymes and consistently melodic. I’m a sucker for the slide guitar and the pedal steel guitar, so this album is a real treat for me. The more I listen to this album, the fonder I grow of it. “Shopping Girl Friend Blues” is one of my favourite tracks. The sweetness of the banjo, slide guitar and clarinet used in this song remind me of songs from the young Daniel Johnston.
Parsons acknowledges all the people and places that inspired him in detail on the back cover of his C.D. His sense of community travels everywhere he does and is as evident here as it is in his honest storytelling.
- Kali Malinka ( Indi Montreal )


"David Roy Parsons (2011)"

David Roy Parsons “Time And Travel” (2011)

I love receiving mail, so you can imagine my delight when I found a parcel waiting outside my door when I was about to enter a snowstorm. I opened it at once to find that my copy of David Roy Parsons’ fourth album Time And Travel (2011) had safely arrived. Time And Travel is a collection of songs written from the inspiration of Wells, B.C., Ottawa’s Chateau Laffeyette, Vancouver’s Railway Club, Vancouver’s Our Lady of Constant Sorrow School, Guatemala, Botswana and the people who inhabit these places. While a wide geographical landscape inspired Time And Travel, the sounds from this album makes me crave a rural destination.
The storytelling of David Roy Parsons makes me feel as if I’m in a cozy bar or on a road trip through Canada’s interior, tracing the landscape of Parsons’ songs. On the first track “Joel And Elsie And The Ballad Of The Giant Radish,” the fairytale-like sounds of a flute whirl through the garden of the ballad. Parsons’ voice is in conversation with supporting female vocals (Karyn Ellis) as they play the parts of Joel and Elsie, a couple sharing stories about growing the best vegetables they can for one another. This track features shakers, congas and an accordion that together lend a more mysterious sound to Parsons’ music. Time And Travel features these more eclectic sounds with those from typical bluegrass instrumentation-viola, banjo, mandolin, and the slide guitar.
In “The Chateau Laffeyette,” inspired by one of the oldest still operating bars in North America, Parsons sings a country song of the bar’s place in Ottawa’s history, those who frequent it as well as his own experiences there playing music, sometimes getting money, sometimes getting black eyes. Each song is crafted in rhymes and consistently melodic. I’m a sucker for the slide guitar and the pedal steel guitar, so this album is a real treat for me. The more I listen to this album, the fonder I grow of it. “Shopping Girl Friend Blues” is one of my favourite tracks. The sweetness of the banjo, slide guitar and clarinet used in this song remind me of songs from the young Daniel Johnston.
Parsons acknowledges all the people and places that inspired him in detail on the back cover of his C.D. His sense of community travels everywhere he does and is as evident here as it is in his honest storytelling.
- Kali Malinka ( Indi Montreal )


Discography

David Roy Parsons 2000
David Roy Parsons Bottle Of Stars 2004
Snapped Wires 2004
Cottonweeds 2007
David Roy Parsons Matters of Survival 2007
Time and Travel 2011

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Bio

David Roy Parsons

Artists are often like icebergs- you see only a fraction of what there is. You see the art but not what makes it. You see the artist but not the years and experience that produce them. David Roy Parsons- (the Roy is to avoid confusion with the various other David Parsons- youd be surprised) is a singer, a songwriter and an all round interesting human being. Born in 1971 and mainly raised in Ottawa, he is now getting ready to depart after a dozen years in Vancouver to dwell in Nelson. With four CDs to his credit, he is not only one of the more interesting writers on the current Vancouver neo-folk songwriting scene but also a man with an uncommon story to tell; a story that is only abstractly revealed in his songs.

David comes from a literate background. He was raised by writers. His mother wrote speeches and press releases for government departments like Canada Post. His father was a journalist who wrote for Canadian Press for many years. His father also wrote two books- one a biography of newspaper icon Lord Ken Thompson; the other about the tainted blood scandal which saw hundreds of people infected with HIV through transfusions in the 80s. This was not peripheral to either Vic or David Roy Parsons. David is one of those infected.

David was born with hemophilia- his blood lacks Factor 8, a clotting agent. This means that from infancy he has had painful hemorrhages, one of which, at the age of five, was a brain hemorrhage. He went from being right handed to left handed. He also walks and talks with a wobble. It gives him a different perspective from most performers on what makes a successful show- When I go through a show without dropping my pick I think it is a brilliant show. One or more of the transfusions David received as a child was contaminated with HIV. At fifteen he discovered he was HIV positive. In those days it pretty much meant an early end. It was 86 or 87. It was pretty mind blowing. First thing I thought was that Id never get laid. The nurse who told me said Dont worry its not a death sentence. I dont know what she knew.

Lets just say that David Roy Parsons had more than his share of challenges growing up.

None of this held David back from the usual cultural pursuits of the young-I was playing guitar when I was 15. In high school I was in a couple of punk rock bands. I used to write bad poetry and bad prose- somehow it worked in songs. David began to perform at the first venue for many young artists- the ByWard Market. I was busking every day in the market. I started with a friend. He stopped. I needed the money so I kept on. I was living on it. I busked opposite the Beaver Tales or in front of the Lafayette Tavern. I could make 20-40 bucks a night on average. I sang Dylan, Young and Springsteen. I did write one song back then and I was thrilled when some folks threw me money for my own song but I only played it a few times.

Davids inspiration to write songs came from two sources- the poetry he was writing just to calm my nerves and to communicate with women and a songwriting roommate. I moved in with this guy, Brad Clark, in an AIDS Housing Group and he would sit on the balcony playing guitar. He said- Its not a song until you can sing it. I worked on my stuff and he said that I would go somewhere with my writing. He died of a drug overdose. I was living clean and sober. I had had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and drugs. Today I drink but can handle it.

After a couple of false starts at formal post-secondary education, David got a diploma from Algonquin College as a youth worker. That is what led him to Vancouver. He came to visit friends but stayed after he found a job working with the Lower Mainland Brain Injury Association and a youth group called Snapped Wires. David began hanging out at Vancouvers Carnegie Centre- a beacon of culture in the Downtown East Side. Having played clarinet in high school band, he joined Carnegies marching band. He met other folks who were doing interesting things with music- choir leader, organizer and musician Earle Peach is one. Politically aggressive songwriter, Joey Onley is another. David became part of a scene- a group of creative artists who were anchored in a troubled part of the city but who were chronicling what they saw around them in passionate and important art. He has won respect from his peer, many whome perform and have recorded his songs. (Joey Only, Rahgu Lokanathan)

If you care about songwriting, dont deny yourself the pleasure of listening to this man. Geoff Berner

The fact that David was working with challenged youth and others with more than their share of problems is woven in his songs. I guess my life has affected my writing because it has brought me into contact with elements of society I would not have otherwise been in touch with- sex workers, drug users, people in the Gay and Transgendered community. A lot of my songwriting has

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