Singer-songwriter Parker Millsap to give virtual americana, folk performance at the Englert

Oklahoma-based singer-songwriter Parker Millsap will perform his new album ‘Be Here Instead,’ from top to bottom in a live, virtual concert with The Englert Theatre this Friday.

Delaney Orewiler, Arts Reporter

This weekend, Oklahoma singer-songwriter Parker Millsap will perform a live, virtual concert at Englert Theatre. The performance will begin this Friday at 8 p.m.

Part of a two-show series, Millsap’s first concert aired on April 9 and included songs from his entire catalog of music. The second concert this Friday will include songs from Millsap’s newest album Be Here Instead, performed from top to bottom, as well as some of his older music.

In an interview with The Daily Iowan ahead of the concert, Millsap described his style as “broadly americana, you know?”

“A lot of acoustic and electric guitar, drums, bass, keyboard. Like pretty basic bar band music but with maybe some more tender acoustic moments,” he said.

RELATED: Stage to studio: How the Englert and other Iowa City venues have adapted their spaces during COVID-19

Millsap said he likes these tender moments, explaining that his favorite song on Be Here Instead, titled “Vulnerable,” showcases his vulnerability.

“You’ve got to be vulnerable,” Millsap sings in the song, playing soft notes on a guitar while a keyboard provides background.

Millsap said inspiration for the song came from a keyboard he owns.

“It has one of these weird drum moods on it. There’s this one called “new hip hop 2” and I just think it rules, so I wrote a song along to that drum mood, and it ended up being ‘Vulnerable.’”

The guitarist began his music career at the age of 7, when he played the guitar at his church. He started writing his own music at age 14, then played as part of a high school band before his career as a professional musician.

Millsap said this creative process highlights how Be There Instead is different from his previous albums.

“On this record, I just tried to write songs in a new way. A lot of my previous records I wrote kind of by having an idea for a concept for a song and sitting down with a guitar and writing a song around that concept,” he said. “With this record, I found myself writing more with the iPad, and keyboards, or using guitar riffs and building a song on the iPad and then coming up with the lyrics way later rather than having the concept to the song first.”

RELATED: Penny Peach Jr. performs new music as part of Englert’s ‘Stages’ program

Millsap said he can’t wait to perform the result of his new creative process on Friday. He said one of his favorite parts about being a musician is performing and connecting with the audience, even if that connection is not being done in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I love connecting with an audience,” he said. “I love singing and hearing people singing along. It’s the best feeling there is.”

Regarding Friday’s concert, Millsap said he has some new band members joining him since the last time he went on tour, so audience members can expect to see some new faces.

Tickets for the concert on Friday can be purchased starting at $15 through The Englert Theatre’s website. For audience members who would like the opportunity to speak to Millsap in a group setting, tickets for a VIP Group Q&A after the show are on sale for $40.