When you leave a voicemail for Parker Millsap, his outgoing message lists the Rapture as a possible reason for his absence from his phone.
Fans of the 24-year-old Okla. native's breakthrough 2016 album “The Very Last Day,” which blended apocalyptic lyrics and Americana instrumentals with roots rock, wouldn’t be too surprised by that message.
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“I tried to change [the voicemail message], but every time I tried, it just reverted back to that,” Millsap said in a phone interview.
But “Other Arrangements,” Millsap’s new album out May 4, just might surprise his more serious-minded fans.
The title song is about a man imploring a lover to make time for him, but it is also a double-entendre for the musical stylings on this album. Unlike “Very Last Day,” nearly every song has an electric or a pop element, and no song even gets close to the 4-minute mark.
09/15/17 Suzanne Cordeiro/ for American-Statesman The Hill Country Conservancy present Shakey Graves and Parker Millsap at ACL Live in Austin, Texas.Suzanne Cordeiro// American-Statesman
Millsap’s official bio says that he wanted to do the more pop-centric, hook-laden songs on this album in an effort to “remind myself that I’m allowed to have a good time, and not to be so serious all the time.”
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“It’s not that I don’t still think about the ‘sad Jesus music’ songs anymore, but those things were just on my mind when I wrote ‘Very Last Day,’” Millsap said. He grew up Pentecostal, which influenced his songwriting (and here, his music, too: check out the rousing “Let A Little Light In” or the unhinged “Some People”).
The premise for “Other Arrangements,” Millsap said, was simple:
“This album came out of me really just wanting to play more electric guitar. Even on my last tour, at shows I was trying to take songs that were more acoustic and make them more electric. And a more selfish reason is I like looking at the crowd and seeing people move, seeing them dance.”
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Whereas the songs on “Very Last Day” were more story-driven character sketches, Millsap said the music on “Other Arrangements” came first, not the lyrics.
“These songs, they just kind of came out of what was happening in my life at the time. They’re more personal, but also more universal. These songs are more about relationships. Not just romantic relationships, although there is that, but there’s also stuff about platonic relationships, friendships, family relationships. It’s all about how relationships are tough, but they’re worth it.”
Millsap will be in Austin for a show at The Parish with Jillette Johnson May 9. Tickets are on sale here.