Saturday SXSW Interview: Parker Millsap


Parker Millsap

11pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary

Something special's going on in Oklahoma. Of late, the Sooner State supplied singer-songwriters and performers to swoon over: John Fullbright, John Moreland, J.D. McPherson.

Next up comes Parker Millsap.

Originally from Purcell, a small town outside of Norman, Millsap now calls Nashville home. The 23-year-old issues his second disc, The Very Last Day, later this month, and it succeeds in capturing his band's electrifying stage presence.

"That was the idea," he affirms. "We play live a lot. That's where most of our income comes from, being on the road, and we've done that for a very long time. I wanted to capture some of that energy, which is hard to do. But we practiced a lot before recording and got the songs down so we could track them live in the studio."

Millsap continues the thread of 2014's self-titled debut with songs about being spiritual, but not necessarily religious. He walks a fine line sometimes, invoking fire and brimstone in folk and blues settings augmented by the occasional scary screech from fiddler Daniel Foulks.

"A good amount of that is from my upbringing," admits the precocious Okie. "I was raised in a Pentecostal Church, with a whole lot of music. Most of the spiritual experiences I've had had a lot to do with music. I think music should be spiritual, not necessarily religious though.

"A lot of my job is just to make up stories, and I have a lot of knowledge of those kinds of stories. It's probably not what I'll always write about, but it interests me. Sometimes you write to figure out how you feel about something. You think, 'That makes sense, now that it rhymes.'"

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters/ for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Playback: Biggest Austin Music Stories of 2016
Playback: Biggest Austin Music Stories of 2016
Looking back on the biggest Music news headlines of the year

Kevin Curtin, Dec. 23, 2016

Playback: Welcome to Terrordome: Sixth Street During SXSW
Playback: Welcome to Terrordome: Sixth Street During SXSW
Appraising APD's solution to Sixth Street during SXSW

Kevin Curtin, April 8, 2016

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Parker Millsap, SXSW Music 2016, John Fullbright, J.D. McPherson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle