Millsap uses that narrative but flips the script heading into his self-titled follow-up; while most sophomore records are stiffened-up and self-serious compared to their predecessors, Millsap untucks his shirt, kicks up his heels and celebrates a job well done with this relaxed but purposeful collection of songs.
He shuffles poignant balladry (“The Villain,” “Forgive Me”) and rug-cutting crossover hits (“Truck Stop Gospel,” “Land of the Red Man”) with a refusal to sacrifice his deliberate process and purist folk tendencies even when aiming for enduringly catchy choruses or amiable guitar melodies. When Millsap’s old soul and youthful energy collide — as they do in the winding storytelling in “Quite Contrary,” delicate duet “Disappear” and timelessly charming “When I Leave” — the sparks really fly.
Palisade was tailor-made to display his indexed, encyclopedic mind for classic folk and blues through that preacher’s cry of a voice and some prodigious guitar work. But the instincts that drive those key moments are where we see the sort of artist Millsap could become over time: A gatekeeper between his generation and the best portions of the ones before it. — Joshua Boydston