Though often overshadowed by its southern neighbour, Oklahoma can boast a rich musical heritage to rival Texas in the troubadour stakes. From the days of the Dust Bowl Balladeer right up to the present, inspirational song writing has emanated from this state with John Fulbright the latest to get both national and international recognition. However there's a new name on the block and early listens to Parker Millsap reveal an awe-inspiring young talent ready to make a lasting impression on the roots Americana scene around the world.
This three track EP has acted as an introduction to the UK market ahead of a self titled full release ready to hit these shores over the summer. If the quality of the three tracks selected are a representation of the album then the new record is going to be a real treat. The opening two songs have been lifted from the upcoming release and their stunning quality belies the tender performing years of the 20 year old Millsap.
Being subjected to a Pentecostal raising may have played a significant part in the lead track 'Old Time Religion' which swings to an acoustic beat of guitar, banjo and fiddle infiltrated with a blast of brass. The track echoes of vintage gospel with a healthy dose of upbeat retro. 'The Villain' is a more straightforward ballad with no less appeal as Millsap displays a moving vocal range to dig deep into the soul of the song. To conclude this highly satisfying taster Millsap shows no fear in interpreting the blues by tackling the traditional negro spiritual song 'You Gotta Move' and putting his own stamp on a composition covered by such legendary vocal bands as the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.
You sense things are going to move very quickly for Parker Millsap. The American Music Association have just bestowed him with an Emerging Artist nomination for their September awards and a month after that he is scheduled to support Old Crow Medicine Show on their UK tour. By then the album, which is a follow up to a 2012 collaborative release with Michael Rose who features on the new record as well, will be hopefully ingrained within the minds of UK fans eager to absorb these traditional Americana influences. One to watch can be an overused cliche but on this occasion keep your eyes peeled for Parker Millsap.