While barely 26, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Parker Millsap has already been touring behind his fourth-full-length for more than a year now… quite the feat in the age of digital-only singles and EPs… And while Millsap’s first two albums were noted for their religious imagery, inspired by his time growing up in a Pentecostal Church, his last two releases, 2016’s The Very Last Day and 2018’s Other Arrangements, have seen him getting more dynamic, touching on all the subgenres of Americana, most notably roots rock and blues, but also some classic pop radio. Millsap headlined Johnny Brenda’s last June, following the May release of Other Arrangements, but this Wednesday, July 24th, he’ll be returning to the city when he headlines World Café Live. Last week I got a chance to chat with Millsap about the highlights of the past year or so, and he tells me that most of them have been on the road, which he’s still enjoying as much as ever.
“We went to Europe and did a big tour there and it was really fun. We did a bunch of festivals there and then we did a ton of touring of the US… I still like playing these songs live. They sound different every night. There’s a lot of improvisation in the band… The band I’m touring with is the band I’ve been touring with for a long time and every year me and my band feel like we’re getting tighter and I wanna record the album right now [laughs].”
Considering the eclectic nature of his music, I ask Millsap what he actually finds himself listening to on a regular basis and he tells me, “A lot of guitar-driven rock and pop, but I’ve also been writing on piano and even synths,” before going on to name-drop Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Ella Fitzgerald, Howlin’ Wolf, D’Angelo, and Tinariwen as artists in regular rotation. He also mentions that he’s been listening to a lot of Highlife music and says, “I really enjoy music that doesn’t have a lot of lyrics or, if they do, they’re not in English.”
And although Parker Millsap has spent most of his recent time on the road, he tells me that he has been working on new material and he plans to get back to recording in the relatively near future: “I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently. I’ve talked to a couple of different producers, but there’s no studio time booked at the moment. If I finished all the songs I’ve started, I’d have 10 albums of material [laughs].”