Rolling Stone’s 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: Parker Millsap
Sounds Like: Saturday-night hellbender spirits meet Sunday-morning evangelical fervor, as sung by a young man who spends his days riding the rails
For Fans of: Patterson Hood, Jason Isbell, John Fullbright, Tom Waits, salvation, sin (though not necessarily in that order)
Why You Should Pay Attention: Witnessing Parker Millsap sing for the first time is a jarring experience, because the sights and sounds just don’t seem to match up: the slightly built 23-year-old from Oklahoma has a bluesy, powerful rasp of a howl that sounds equally suited for juke joints or church tents. Religious and mythological themes account for the most striking moments on Millsap’s new album The Very Last Day (due out March 25th), including the devilish love song “Hades Pleads” and the apocalyptic title track, a wide-eyed recast of the Louvin Brothers’ “Great Atomic Power.”
He Says: “My dad heard that song and said, ‘I think it’s funny,'” Millsap says of “The Very Last Day.” “So that works for me. I grew up with gospel, and singing the way I do is something I can’t help. I never really intend to sing like that, but it’s just how it always comes out.”
Hear for Yourself: The new album’s “Heaven Sent,” a lovely and anguished tale of a man coming out to his disapproving father. D.M.