In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says; “The emotional tone behind so much of Millsap’s songs means it feels like we’ve been through something together by listening to this album.”
I was recently reading a Rolling Stone article called, ‘10 New Country Artists You Need to Know’. Each band or artist profile starts with a ‘Sounds Like’ section. When I read one described as, “Saturday-night hellbender spirits meet Sunday-morning evangelical fervor, as sung by a young man who spends his days riding the rails”, I already knew I had to hear this bloke’s music. When the ‘For Fans of’ section included Jason Isbell and Patterson Hood, I knew I had to hear this bloke’s music immediately. Which is what lead me to Parker Millsap and his 2014 self titled long player.
With its gypsy ramble, Old Time Religion immediately justifies the Rolling Stone description and comparison that got me so excited about the idea of Parker Millsap. Especially the comparison to Isbell. Not that it sounds like Millsap is trying to copy Isbell in any way. But more in the way that they both sound so grizzled beyond their years.
“18 wheels and 18 miles”, is the perfect lyrical intro to a song built around a dirty, country blues guitar and ho-down fiddle like Truck Stop Gospel. And when the chorus turns into a pop country chorus from the 90s, the song only gets better. As the vintage soul and blues of Forgiver Me brings its regretful heart to Parker Millsap, this record had me completely on board with just three songs.
The simple, acoustic guitar foundations of the finger picked The Villain, and percussively strummed Disappear show just how strong Millsap’s song writing and delivery are. Both songs are gussied up with additional instruments and the odd vocal harmony, but it’s clear that they could more than stand on their own with nothing more than Parker Millsap and his guitar.
At the Bar (Emerald City Blues) is country music at its most clichéd, but in a way that reminds you why these country music ingredients have become clichéd. Because when done right, they work so well and sound so great. Next up, When I Leave and Yosemite go into full blown Americana mode, and like the previous song, they use their genre conventions to perfection.
The slide guitar, acoustic rock of Land of the Red Man brings a tempo and energy to Parker Millsap like no other song before it. The emotional tone behind so much of Millsap’s songs means it feels like we’ve been through something together by listening to this album. So making this the last track makes it the perfectly triumphant, celebratory closer.