Who Is Robert Allen Parker?
Blues / Rock / Soul / Funk
Robert Allen Parker is a Memphis-based guitarist / songwriter / producer & veteran of both the creative midtown Memphis music scene as well as the downtown Memphis blues scene. His guitar style beckons the long line of blues rock greats; Cream-era Clapton, Steve Marriott, Hendrix, Leslie West & Duane Allman. The Memphis Flyer call Parker’s guitar playing “a perfect combination of growl & grit.” Gary Clark Jr. even complimented his guitar sound upon a recent visit to Beale Street. He has played with national / historic artists such as Rufus Thomas, Denise Lasalle, Luther & Cody Dickinson (of the North Mississippi Allstars), Valerie June, members of the Bar-Kays (Stax Records), & the Hi Rhythm Section (Hi Records). On the local Memphis music front, he has played with Beale Street blues legend Earl “The Pearl” Banks, Hope Clayburn (formely of jamband Deep Banana Blackout), Trouble No More (A Tribute To The Allman Brothers), Rodd Bland (son of blues legend Bobby Blue Bland) & many others.
“The River’s Invitation” (available 3/26/21 on Broken String Records) presents Robert’s diversified musical vision. As a double vinyl in the age of the short attention span, the album combines Robert’s screaming guitar sound & razor tight songcraft with an array of top shelf Memphis singers such as Kennard Farmer, Candice Ivory, Chris Stephenson, & Lahna Deering. Displaying Robert’s electric, acoustic, slide, & lead guitar prowess, the album flows like a river & takes you along to witness all of his explorations. The songs run the gamut from the psychedelic blues rock of “My Mind Comes From A High Place” & “Freedom Ain’t A Mystery” to the raw electric blues gospel of the traditional “Jesus Is On The Main Line” to the psychedelic soul duet “Some 1 2 Love” to the Eastern-tinged instrumentals “Indian Dream” & “The Raven’s Call” to the dripping Memphis soul of “More Than Love” (featuring the Hi Rhythm Section) to the expressive guitar workouts “Copperhead Boogie” & “Skydog” (Tribute To Duane Allman) to the acoustic soul ballad “Speed Of Light” to the no holds barred rocking “Wolf Man.” The eclectic album is truly the best representation of Robert’s complete, uncensored, & unfiltered musical mind. Fans of blues rock, guitar-fueled music, and jambands are sure to find absolute listening pleasure in “The River’s Invitation.”
“The River’s Invitation” is Robert’s second album release. After playing as a sideman for a multitude of projects, he released his first “official” solo album in 2018: “From The Crossroads To Beale Street.” The album features Parker’s solid production & ferocious guitar work set against the soul-drenched vocals of Memphis blues/soul artists Preston Shannon, Earl “The Pearl” Banks, & Daddy Mack. Bassist Leroy Hodges & drummer Howard Grimes (both of Al Green’s Hi Rhythm Section) performed on the album as well. Original compositions like the funky blues groove driven “If The River Was Whiskey” (w/ Robert’s stinging slide licks) and the Meters-esque instrumental stomp of “Black Magic Carpet Ride” mix with reworked renditions of tunes such as “Cross Roads Blues” (in Jimmy Reed shuffle-style) & “Rock Me Baby” (RL Burnside meets Mountain). Before completing this album, Parker flexed his directorial skills with the award winning full length documentary “MEANWHILE IN MEMPHIS: The Sound Of A Revolution” (co-directed by Nan Hackman). The film, released in 2013, took 10 years to assemble and featured Memphis underground mavericks such as Jim Dickinson, Tav Falco, Big Star, the North Mississippi Allstars, the Grifters (Subpop Records), & garage punk band the Oblivians.