born in Birmingham in 1976. As a teenager he was inspired in bands like Cream, he Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.
Ian’s career took off in the summer of 2003, when he signed to Ruf Records following a personal introduction to US record producer, David Z (Prince – Purple Rain). His debut album ‘INSIDE’ (Ruf1094) was released in October of that year.
In March 2004, Ian appeared on Germany’s top live music TV show, ‘Rockpalast’. and a live DVD of his incendiary performance was released in June 2005, entitled ‘…WHILST THE WIND’ (Ruf3007). In addition, a live album documenting Ian’s performance in Hannover during his December 2004 European Tour, was also released in June 2005 under the same title (Ruf1102). Both releases met with high critical acclaim and continue to notch up impressive sales.
In September 2005, Ian wrote and recorded five songs for a Ruf Records project album, ‘PILGRIMAGE’ (Ruf1112) which was recorded in Clarksdale Mississippi and Memphis Tennessee, and released in January 2006. The release of ‘PILGRIMAGE’, extended Ian’s touring activities throughout Europe and importantly, into the US.
On return from America in September 2005, Ian began a lengthy artistic process based around his rediscovery of the roots artists who had inspired him as a teenager. The resulting album, ‘WHERE I BELONG’ (Ruf1120), was released in January 2007 and produced by Matt Butler, whose extensive CV includes none other than Sir Paul McCartney. The ensuing promotional tour culminated with the recording of ‘THE OFFICIAL BOOTLEG’ (MT006) which captures the highlights of the final UK leg of a gruelling eighteen month long tour of Europe and the UK.
Ian spent much of 2008 writing new material, and at the beginning of 2009, under the management of Ralph Baker of Equator Music, sessions began in Bath’s famous Riverside Studios. The resulting five track EP, ‘DEMONS AND DOUBTERS’ (Equator), was recorded under the guidance and supervision of Clive Deamer (Robert Plant, Portishead, Massive Attack), and Jon Jacobs of Sir George Martin’s Air Studios fame.
With these songs, Ian began an exciting new chapter in his career. Much of his live work over the last couple of years has been solo acoustic, and following tours on both sides of the Atlantic in this format, ‘THE BARE BONES’ (MT007) live album was released in April 2011.
Andy Snipper review POLITIK BLUES
He is back with old friends Chris Finn *drums) and Dave Jenkins (bass) (as well as Morg Morgan on keyboards) and the two create a powerful rhythm that somehow frees Parker to be as expressive as can be and gives a solid and reliable backing to one of Britain’s finest guitarists.
It takes a lot of balls to open the album with a cover of Richie Havens ‘Freedom’ (the song that opened the Woodstock festival) but he gives it a hell of a going at with poundimg rhythms and Parker’s soft and heartfelt vocal. The guitar lines are kept simple but the solo is sharp and sits perfectly under the rhythm – Morg Morgan’s Hammond swells and ebbs, always there but never overshadowing the rhythm at the core of the number. All told a stunning version and remarkably true to the original.
Of his own songs ‘Long Done and Gone’ definitely sees Parker back in the Blues with a vengeance; a dark and atmospheric sound with some fine slide from Parker and a heavy bass and drums creating a dense miasma.
On ‘Kampuchea’ Parker gives one of the best solos I’ve heard from him. He is one of those guitarists that don’t feel the need to show off their technique and the result is loaded with space and emotion but doesn’t overpower the song.
I definitely get the feeling that Ian Parker has been saving his juices for this album – his first since 2008 – and the breathy vocals and Blues soul that were so much a part of his music when I first heard him back in 2003 are back. He has never been a shouty singer or fretboard terrorist, always had something to say with his songs and that is fully realised here.
‘Truth’ is so dark and emotive with Parker at his most whispery but the track draws you in and makes it impossible to ignore his words as he pours his heart out in the song. The solo is absolutely of his trademark – slightly Gilmore like but spare and harrowing.
He covers Cream’s ‘Politician’, managing to put over the duality of the lyrics perfectly but the closer ‘Left To Lose’ takes us back into the heartbreaking and emotional Ian Parker that has been a feature of his music for years.
Ian makes a big statement here about returning to the Blues but the truth is that his is a very personal and very British interpretation of the Blues and I prefer to see it as returning to his own sound – something tells me that this one will be a live staple in years to come.
There aren’t many singer/songwriters around who can write as well as Ian Parker and fewer guitarists who have their own voice. Welcome back Ian Parker, it’s been too long.