Parker Gispert, founding member of The Whigs, is heading to the Royal American in Charleston in celebration of his solo album, Sunlight Tonight. After years of touring and several successful albums with The Whigs, Parker has a little experience on the road. He’s traveled and played with bands Drive-By Truckers, Kings of Leon, and the Black Keys on hundreds of dates, so his on-stage presence has developed a phenomenal fanbase.
Gispert decided to go forward with a solo album after The Whigs took a step back. In his words, “It occurred to me that if I wanted to record and tour that I was going to need to do it solo,” the singer, songwriter and guitarist says. “I’d always thought about it in the back of my mind as something that I wanted to do one day, but ‘one day’ had never really come.” Burying himself in songwriting, he lived on a 100 acre hemp farm outside of Nashville, where inspiration took him into a different direction than we have previously seen with The Whigs. Grammy Award winner Emery Dobbins, who has previously worked with Suzanne Vega, acted as producer and mixer on the album.
Having very little in the way of amenities, or even running water on this quaint little plot of land out in the middle of nowhere, left Gispert completely open to explore his own sound. He says, “With the Whigs, I had been in that band since I was a teenager. So when that slowed, I found myself in a place where I was almost paralyzed, like, What do I do next ? It was just confusing. But (one of my) song(s) sums up what happened when I got to the farm. It was like, suddenly I got up, grabbed a guitar, walked down to this big field and…”
Shook off all the bullshit?
Gispert laughs. “Yeah. And bullshit was exactly the word to describe it. It was all the worries. All the fear. All the drama. All the stuff you can’t even articulate. After I put all of that behind me I was able to set out on this journey of making a solo record.”
That song is a psychedelia-laced meditation titled “Through the Canvas” with lyrics “Suddenly I got up / Suddenly I could move / shook off all the bullshit that was weighing down my shoes.”
As Parker has since moved away from the hemp farm where he developed this idiosyncratic 8 track album, he is comfortable with his new solo career. Although The Whigs continue to play the occasional show together, he notes that their independent solo ventures are hardly a problem for The Whigs. “I’d always been afraid of doing something solo because I thought it might mess up the band vibe, but now I’m able to see that it actually helps,” Gispert says. “When we do get back together to play, it’s fun and it’s fresh and it has new life.”
Make sure to come out and see Parker Gispert tomorrow night at the Royal American in downtown Charleston. Doors open at 9pm, and tickets are just $5.