Parker Millsap's Folk Music Called Him Inward. It's Calling Us Too | Sojourners

Parker Millsap's Folk Music Called Him Inward. It's Calling Us Too

The singer-songwriter finds a great deal of hope in the hymns he grew up with.
Parker Millsap sits on a rock in the forest.
Photograph by Tim Duggan

ON HIS DEBUT record, Palisade, released in 2012, Americana wunderkind Parker Millsap ends the title track singing with blues-soaked vocals, “Writing on a blank white page keeps my demons one more day away.” For Millsap, an Oklahoma native who now calls Nashville home, those lyrics weren’t just a young artist trying to sound profound; they spoke truth to his experience with music and faith.

“When I’m playing [music] with other people and for other people, there is something about it that will always feel spiritual to me,” says Millsap. “After all, that spiritual feeling, that’s the context I first received music in.”

Millsap grew up in a Pentecostal church in a small Oklahoma town, and says if people were going to speak in tongues or run around the sanctuary, it was almost always during the music. “I always resonated with using music to reach ecstatic states,” he says. “As soon as I could play enough chords to keep up, they put me down in front at church.”

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