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“Spirit of the Trees” by Christian Parker

Potential isn’t worth very much unless the passion to use it towards a more positive tomorrow is present, and it’s hard not to agree with such a statement when listening to “Spirit of the Trees” by Christian Parker this spring. In this folk single, Parker shows us that the roots of his genre matter to him a lot more than they do the average, all the while steering us away from the overwhelming set of predictable blended generational values that I don’t need to hear any more of in the underground today.

There’s no telling where he’s going to whip us next in this release, but at the same time, I think he enjoys being the wildcard in our scene. Folk music might be one of the biggest genres in the underground at the moment, and to me, this is because of players like this one. He’s not cocky, but the swagger he has in the new track “Spirit of the Trees” is of a rare breed that I don’t get to hear a lot of in 2023. It’s natural and well-deserved from producers if you ask me.  

The duality in this song starts with the guitar parts in the background, all of which do a good job of highlighting the diverse influences that are obvious even at a distance when looking at the music of Christian Parker. Instead of getting a lot of crunch put into the backend in this piece, Parker wants to give us the richness of an acoustic performance with the gilded sway of something more electrified, and best of all, he never sounds like a hack in achieving this balance at all.

The rhythm and the verses sound natural in my opinion, but so does every other part of the track. The mix does a fine job of emphasizing the emotion more than it does any other part of “Spirit of the Trees,” and save for a couple of minor details here and there, it’s one of the better-produced works of its kind to land on my desk as a music critic in a long time now.  

Christian Parker has made a lot of amazing progress in the last couple of months if you ask me, and in this all-new single, he’s sounding more mature and well-rounded in his delivery than some of the more buzzed performers in or outside of the folk music genre have. “Spirit of the Trees” has the kind of vibrant swing that I would normally demand out of all my indie folk, and it’s so crisply situated in the arrangement of the instruments that we don’t see, hear, or feel it coming when listening to the song from the very beginning.

Everything about this performance speaks of a laid back fun that comes with taking in the haze on a late spring evening, and while these kinds of feelings have been a distant memory for some through the winter months, they come to life with Christian Parker’s singing in this song as I had never thought they could.  

Mindy McCall



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