Gospel-tinged rock ‘n’ roll poetry full of open-armed love of people and their stories is the hallmark of Parker Millsap’s unique style. The Oklahoma native makes his Austin City Limits debut performing songs from his latest album The Very Last Day.
The Very Last Day is the much-anticipated follow-up to his 2014 eponymous record, which netted him high profile praise from NPR, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and others, as well as a nomination for Americana Emerging Artist of the Year.
The 23-year-old is always reaching for something worth saying. Whether he’s singing about the experience of a gay friend longing for his evangelical father’s acceptance, or as the King of the Underworld wild with passion, his character-driven songs mine deep wells of joy and despair to create gut-punching narratives that are sometimes hellish, sometimes heavenly, and always human. His passionate singing brings his message home on his third release, 2016’s The Very Last Day. The New York Times wrote, “Millsap sings with spiritual fervor verging on rage – his voice ecstatic and volcanic all at once.” Spin writes that The Very Last Day is as “fun to listen to – with soaring harmonies, left-of-center biblical influences, and total abandonment of traditional genre restriction – as it is insightful is a credit to its author.”
His unique vocal style comes from years of listening to old albums. “I was listening to records from the 20s and 40s, and the voices that came out were otherworldly,” Millsap said. “I was really attracted to that. At the same time, I grew up doing congregational singing in church…I learned to sing in that context, where nobody’s listening to you. We are all just singing.”
While this is Millsap’s debut on the Austin City Limits stage, he is not new to ACL. He is featured in ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2016. The Very Last Day was nominated for a 2016 Album of the Year award by the Americana Music Association.
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