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Artist Spotlight: Parker Millsap and Michael Rose (Jul 13, 2012)

19-year-old singer/songwriter Parker Millsap and 21-year-old bassist Michael Rose met while schoolmates in Purcell, where they bonded over a mutual love for the blues.

“It was like, ‘Oh, you know the 12 bar blues?’” said Michael. “’I know the 12 bar blues. Let's play!’"

The music of Cream, in particular, served as common ground for the two, who cite the influence of each of their fathers as pivotal in their musical direction.

“At the time, I thought it was just weird old music...” said Parker. “But, eventually I learned that's the good stuff.”

The duo’s new CD Palisade shows the two have truly studied their craft, melding their blues and roots influences into a richly textured, though sparse, sound that is very potent and all their own. This earnest and stark presentation, combined with Parker’s (seemingly) whiskey-soaked vocal delivery only adds merit to the songs on the album.

But for Parker, it all begins with the story.

“Telling stories is what any art form is about anyways,” he said. “I wouldn't want to do it if I wasn't saying something. The 'medium' kind of developed from the songs, [and] they needed just an acoustic guitar and upright bass to reach their full potential. They didn't need anything else... no more or less.”

Though the material spans a wide gamut of emotion and observation, there is something of a dark quality throughout Palisade – particularly in songs like “End of a Rope” and “Hope I Die” – to which Parker admits he’s “attracted to darkness.”

“Things that are a little bit grim seem to be more real to me sometimes than things that are light-hearted,” he said.

The duo plays regularly at the Deli in Norman.

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