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Your weekend arts forecast: Parker Millsap, Selwyn Birchwood

Bill DeYoung



Parker Millsap. Photo by James Coreas.

The easiest way to describe Oklahoma singer and songwriter Parker Millsap, whose soul-infused Americana is creatively and exquisitely performed, is that he slots squarely (well, more or less squarely) into the same space currently occupied by the multi-talented Jason Isbell. Twenty years ago, Ryan Adams was doing what Millsap’s doing now, and doing so well.

It’s a thrilling blend of acoustic, folkie story-songs and high-voltage rock ‘n’ roll. Millsap, who grew up singing in a Pentecostal church, told Rolling Stone that he was making “gospel sex music” on his most recent album, Other Arrangements.

“Musically, I’ll never be able to escape that Pentecostal, gospel influence,” he said, “because those melodies and those types of images just strike a chord with me.”

Millsap’s Friday show at the Attic in Ybor City is sold out – yeah, the word is out on the 26-year-old Okie firecracker – but he’s got another one Saturday, at the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center. Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert – and there aren’t many left – are available here. (They may well be gone by the time you’re reading this.)

The Safety Harbor venue has a relatively steady stream of independent, acoustic, electric, blues, rock and folk shows (and, considering today’s most welcome genre-bending, all combinations thereof) coming up.

Pop/rock singer/songwriter Daphne Willis has a show Oct. 11, and blues singer/guitarist Selwyn Birchwood – you’ve got to hear what he does on the lap steel – plays Safety Harbor Nov. 2.

In fact, Birchwood and his powerhouse band have a St. Pete gig Friday – that’s Sept. 13 – at the Palladium, where the Tampa resident plays with semi-regularity.

At the Blues Foundation’s 2013 International Blues Challenge, Birchwood and his band beat out more than 125 groups from across the globe; the man himself won the Albert King Guitarist of the Year award.

“Selwyn Birchwood,” said the Washington Post, “is an indelibly modern and original next-generation bluesman; his tough vocals, guitar and lap steel touch on classic Chicago blues, Southern soul and boogie.”

Palladium tickets are available here; Selwyn and band will also play The Attic in late November.

That venue – which is literally in the attic above Rock Brothers Brewing Co. – has a truly impressive lineup of bookings. Check these out: Meters bassist George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners (Sept. 20); Shooter Jennings (Sept. 29); Anders Osborne solo (Oct. 6); Terry McBride (Oct. 11); ex-Saigon Kick Jason Bieler (Oct. 18);  Gramming-wining Christian singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp (Oct. 19); Squirrel Nut Zippers (two shows Oct. 25); Patterson Hood (of Drive-By Truckers, Dec. 6 and 7).

Here’s the Attic website.

And now, this

Other concerts of note: The very wonderful Amy Grant is in concert Friday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall; the ‘80s roots-rock band the BoDeans play the Central Park Performing Arts Center Sunday.

Tonight’s the Emerging Artist reception and exhibit debut, which we told you about yesterday, at Creative Pinellas on Walsingham Road in Largo.

September’s Second Saturday ArtWalk is upon us. We’ll have more news on the weekend’s openings. receptions and special events Friday in the Catalyst. For now, here’s the schedule and trolley map.

  • Are you a performing arts space, large, small or in-between, an art gallery, a bookshop or any place where public cultural events take place? Please put us on your email list – we can’t publicize you if we don’t know what (or who) you are! The address is bill@stpetecatalyst.com. Thanks



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