Parker Millsap, "Other Arrangements" (Thirty Tigers)
Even as Parker Millsap rocks harder than ever on his fourth album, he continues to draw on his upbringing in the Pentecostal church.
Such tunes as "Singing to Me" and "Let a Little Light In" are love songs that double as spirituals suitable for Sunday. "When it's getting dark, when my flame won't spark," he sings, "it startles me blind when I see just how you shine." Coupled with Millsap's lyrical ambiguity is the strain of gospel music that helps to make his work so distinctive.
The young Oklahoman cranks up his guitar more on "Other Arrangements," but still makes smart use of dynamics, both from song to song and within each. His versatile dusty tenor provides variety as well — he sings tender pop on "She," and becomes a blues shouter with an aggressive falsetto on the title cut. On "Some People" he rocks with a Daltrey-esque stutter and delivers rat-a-tat rhymes like a rapper.
"Some People" morphs from an entertaining rant about bad drivers to a topical commentary on shootings by police, but mostly Millsap sings about matters of the heart. They're not always declarations of devotion — the twangy, witty closing ballad "Come Back When You Can't Stay" confesses the appeal of a dalliance. It might resonate with congregations, too.