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Millsap delivers a satisfying night of music

The Troubadour, West Hollywood, Cal., June 23, 2023

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

During a quiet moment while Parker Millsap was tuning his guitar tonight, someone shouted out a request for "Truck Stop Gospel." Without looking up, Millsap simply replied, "We don't know that one." It was a disappointing response, as this was the song that first introduced many of us to Millsap's music. That exclusion aside, though, Millsap nevertheless gave his audience one fulfilling night of fine music.

Drawing primarily from his "Wilderness Within You" album, Millsap mostly played acoustic guitar while backed by a drummer, bassist and keyboardist. His sparse unit allowed for the singer/songwriter's skilled picking to standout all the more. When he revved it up, which he fully did during "Fine Line," his vocal took on a powerful, Jack White preacherly tone. Yet on "Your Water," he was gentle and empathetic. His fingerpicking especially came through during the romantically philosophical "Wilderness Within You."

When Millsap came back for an encore at the end of the night, he returned alone to the stage. When there, he moved right up to the foot in front of the microphone with just his acoustic guitar to sing "Before the Curtain Closes." The audience pressed as close to the stage as possible to hear Millsap's unamplified singing and playing. It was one beautiful, intimate moment.

Alexa Rose opened with a brief set of acoustic songs and stories. Wearing a full-length dress, Rose mixed in stories about her rural Virginia upbringing while singing evocative songs, including "Clearwater Park" and rare optimistic odes, such as "Everything's Coming Together." Rose sings with a simply lovely voice, many times going into the higher register of her vocal range. She later joined Millsap to sing on his empathetic song about his gay and trans friends in his Oklahoma hometown, "Heaven Sent."

Millsap may not have given everyone everything they wanted during this tour stop, but he provided more than enough engaging and satisfying music – even without extolling the truck stop gospel.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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