Derek Parrott 'Opens Up' on WICA stage

"GO TO THE CONCERTSouth Whidbey’s singer-songwriter Derek Parrott appears in concert Nov. 6, 8 p.m., at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in a release party for his special new CD, “Open Up.” Tickets are $10 all seats; call 221-8268.Back in 1977, a young British singer/songwriter named Derek (Del) Parrott recorded an album of original songs for a small record company. It was called “Open Up,” and the music was played by some of the finest session musicians of the time, who came together in North London with members of the London Symphony Orchestra.“The album cover was printed and sent away,” remembered Parrott, now a resident of South Whidbey. “But two weeks before the scheduled release, the record company changed distributors, and said the album wasn’t coming out anymore.”The young Parrott had put intensity and passion into the project. He had had only singles out before, and this could have been, he knew, a major step in his musical career.Instead, he kept on writing, and was set to make another single, called “Julie from Africa,” taken from the never-released album. But this, too, was a disappointment.It was in 1980 that he came to the United States, and in 1986 that he “bought a weed-eater and lawnmower” and arrived in Seattle, settling soon on Whidbey Island. Now, 22 years later, Parrott’s album “Open Up” is finally scheduled for release, this Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. It has been digitally remastered and restored, the cover found and renewed, but the songs are the ones he wrote and sang then.“No one will see or hear it until that night,” Parrott said. “It will ‘Open Up’ for the first time.”Parrott has recorded other works since that ill fated year of 1977, There was a 1982 vinyl album called “Songs from the Heart,” and in 1993 a CD called “My Back Yard,” with Robbie Cribbs. In 1992, Parrott released a cassette in a live concert called “Live in Langley,” to prove, he said, that “Derek isn’t dead.” And in 1996 he recorded “2000 AD.”But this year’s CD release and concert for “Open Up” has special meaning.“Square-shaped and flat though it is, you hold in your hands a time capsule,” reads the album text. “Open up, and you will release the scent and sense of a different time and place. It is 1977.”The young Derek Parrott, emerging from “the same spiritual soil as Bob Dylan and the Beatles,” sings about connections. “His music is about the connections (and disconnections) between ourselves and our lives. It speaks of the journey in the language of archetype. This music is about the search for a right relationship to reality.“The search is always the same. It was the same search in 1977; it’s the same search now. And the way we find our up.”Parrott himself says: “There’s always time to open up...Everyone has a story, everyone should be encouraged to tell it.”On stage, between songs like ‘Open Up,” “Sweet Love, “Girl of the Island” “Thoughts of America” and the famous “Julie from Africa,” Parrott will tell his own stories, weaving them through a musical journey that is as young now as it was in 1977.“I take truths from all different places and make them mine,” he said. “I refuse to be defined. I don’t want to be fit into anybody’s paradigm.”Parrott’s friends and fans are eager to hear and see the old-new singer, songwriter and musician as he performs a concert that promises to be a rare theatrical experience. "

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