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Close Out the Weekend with Parker Millsap at Mercury Lounge

April 3rd, 2015

A young guy with an old-timey Americana sound, 21-year-old Parker Millsap grew up in small-town Oklahoma attending Pentecostal church three times a week, which—despite the fact he no longer considers himself to be very religious—undoubtedly affects his songwriting. He began playing acoustic guitar at just nine years old, but once Millsap discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton, like Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, he plugged in. And thanks to a post–high school performance in Nashville, Millsap won a coveted spot opening for Old Crow Medicine Show and later Patty Griffin, Shovels & Rope and Lake Street Dive. But with the release of his self-titled debut album (stream it below) last year, the engaging live performer became known for more than his gravelly, soulful voice. In a glowing review, PopMatters proclaimed, “Road tunes and leave-takings are a fitting metaphorical trope for this album, because Millsap is clearly going places. With his voice and his rich, suggestive songwriting, it might not be long before Red Dirt isn’t just a bandwagon that people recognize, but one that they might be willing to jump onto.” And per American Songwriter, “Like the best of his peers, Millsap lets his music and lyrics do the talking, keeping the production sparse, not stark, and creating a terrific, even audacious first effort. Millsap’s subtle style allows the listener to discover the emotional vortex of his often confused characters, helping us identify with their motives without casting judgment.” Of course, you can judge for yourself because with a night off from opening for Houndmouth, Parker Millsap (above, doing “Truck Stop Gospel” live at the Grand Ole Opry) plays the early show at Mercury Lounge on Sunday.