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Sunday, February 16, 2014

ROUTES & BRANCHES
February 8, 2014
Scott Foley

Here's something I've never mentioned.  I'm fascinated by religion.  I majored in Religious Studies as an undergrad, and followed that up with a yearlong chaser at the country's most liberal seminary in Berkeley.  I've never wanted to preach or teach, but have always been curious about what people believe and what they do about it.  Young Oklahoma artist Parker Millsap writes about it.  Like John Fullbright, Millsap is an excellent young writer who just happens to trade in the language of the scriptures. 

He's got a King James edition / With all the words of Christ in red / And he reads the inscription / Every night when he goes to bed / And he goes fishin' for sinning men like Jesus said / Got an old time conviction / Keeps the bodies in the shed
He's not preaching, but Millsap can speak the language like a native.  He can also sing like the devil, maybe like a young Jimmy LaFave with more of a penchant for the soulful side of the equation.  Listen to his vocal shredding shrieks on "Truck Stop Gospel", followed up by a Memphis-smooth croon complete with horns.  Like fellow Oklahoman Fullbright, the holy ghost aura is more of a leftover from a childhood wrapped in the bible belt rather than any present day crusade.

Eighteen wheels, eighteen miles to Tucumcari / Just me and Billy Graham and the Bibles I carry / Me, I'm not just any other Dick or Harry / Got a big cross painted on the side of my rig / To remind the devil that he ain't so big and scary
Barely on the other side of 20, this is Parker Millsap's second release, and certain to be one of the stronger records of the early year.


*  Richard Buckner, "Gauzy Dress in the Sun"  Bloomed  (Merge, 94)
*  Deadwood Saints, "Devil Keeps Track"  Spokesbuzz Vol 4  (Spokesbuzz, 14)  C
*  Cowboy Dave, "Dive of Dives"  Driven Man  (Self, 14)  C, D
*  Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, "Pocket Full of Dust"  I'll Swing My Hammer With Both Hands  (Self, 14)  D
*  Amy Black, "Nobody Knows You"  This Is Home  (Reuben, 14)
*  Old 97s, "Longer Than You've Been Alive"  Most Messed Up  (ATO, 14)  D
*  Girls Guns & Glory, "C'mon Honey"  Good Luck  (Lonesome Day, 14)
*  Carrie Rodriguez, "Devil In Mind"  Give Me All You Got  (Ninth St Opus, 13)
*  Johnstown Revival, "California (Cast Iron Soul)"  Utah  (INGrooves, 14)  D
*  Lawn Chair Kings, "Local Dive"  Zombies Wake!  (Self, 13)  C
*  Robert Ellis, "Sing Along"  Lights From the Chemical Plant  (New West, 14)
*  Jimbo Mathus, "Hawkeye Jordan"  Dark Night of the Soul  (Fat Possum, 14)  D
*  Ryan Adams, "Natural Ghost"  Cardinology  (Lost Hwy, 08)
*  Far West, "Words From a Letter"  Any Day Now  (Medina River, 14)
*  Lydia Loveless, "Wine Lips"  Somewhere Else  (Bloodshot, 14)
*  Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, "Highway Bound"  New Old Story  (Self, 14)  D
*  Rosanne Cash, "A Feather's Not a Bird"  River & the Thread  (Blue Note, 14)
^  Parker Millsap, "Truck Stop Gospel"  Parker Millsap  (OkraHoma, 14)  D
*  Steve Earle, "Transcendental Blues"  Transcendental Blues  (Artemis, 00)
*  Amelia White, "Big Blue Sun"  Old Postcard  (Self, 14)  D
*  Doug Paisley, "Where the Light Takes You"  Strong Feelings  (No Quarter, 14)
*  Jason Eady, "One, Two ... Many"  Daylight Dark  (Thirty Tigers, 14)
*  Leif Vollebeek, "When the Subway Comes Above the Ground"  North Americana  (Missing Piece, 14)
*  Handsome Family, "Far From Any Road"  Singing Bones  (Carrot Top, 03)
*  Chris Stalcup & the Grange, "Dixie Electric Co"  Dixie Electric Co  (Dirt Leg, 13)
*  Pete Stein, "Little Knoxville Angel"  Sleeping Giants  (Self, 13)  C
*  Dwight Yoakam, "Late Great Golden State"  21st Century Hits  (New West, 13)

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