"One of the very best guitarist that I have ever had the pleasure of playing with."
(Derek and the Dominos)
"Millsap is a quintessential DFW guitar player. He comes from a place with no shortage of something special. It's Texas. Pure and simple. He milks it and he gives it all he's got. I'm proud to call David a friend. I learn something every time I see him play."
Lee Roy Parnell
"Fort Worth Texas has long been know for its musical legacy. Every era and style of music has been furthered by Cowtown's musicians and singers. My friend, David Millsap has finally brought his first offering to this legacy and its all here folks. This is as close as it gets to sitting in a Fort Worth nightclub and witnessing what makes Texas musicians revered worldwide. Great songs, virtuostic guitar playing and effortless vocals make this a great introduction to one of my favorite hometown heroes. David Millsap is the real deal"
He has shared the stage with Bobby Whitlock, Steve Cropper, Chuck Berry , Bonnie Raitt, Vince Gill, Jerry Williams, Lee Roy Parnell, Albert Collins, Ray Sharpe, Robert Ealey, Bruce Channell, Sam Meyers, Boz Scaggs, Hubert Sumlin, Stephen Bruton , Kim Wilson, Joe Ely and many others. He spent many years as Delbert McClinton's touring guitarist playing all over the world, which won him a Grammy nomination in 1989 for Best Contemporary Blues Album, "Live In Austin."
Fort Worth News Feeling Lucky Review
Artistry, not luck, drives Dave Millsap's new CD
by Michael H. Price - July 25, 2005
"Play yo' harp, Li'l Dave!"
-Ray Sharpe, Live at the Bluebird Vol. 1
Flying High Records; 1981-82
One's notion of Feeling Lucky is a relative consideration. That phrase also is the title of a splendid new set of recordings from the guitarist-vocalist Dave Millsap, of Fort Worth.
And Feeling Lucky is a defiantly upbeat gem of understated ability, with plenty to say and nothing to prove. The CD offsets its own outward trappings of self-confidence and strutting bravado with a song-list straight from the depths of a contemplative soul. The collection cannot help but call to mind Albert King's famous declaration that "if it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all," but on reflection luck has nothing to do with it. The driving force lies in applied artistry, and in the determination to balance lifelong influences with new directions.
Millsap's Feeling Lucky, already in print and on the market, has a formal launch in store on Aug. 20 at McNair Rehearsal Hall, 301 East Fifth, just across the way from Bass Performance Hall.
So here's Millsap, pictured on the cover, with the right car, the right guitar - even the right boots, for goshsakes - thoroughly well equipped for a rip-snorting good time. And there he is, deep in the groove on the disk enclosed, singing of heartbreak, hope-against-hope, snake-bit romance, and utter social and spiritual disenfranchisement, with persuasive conviction and an undercurrent of insolent good humor.
Such qualities stem from an ability to absorb inspiration from any number of recognized masters - including such first-generation Fort Worth rockers as Ray Sharpe, Delbert McClinton, and the late Billy Wade Sanders - and channel it into more personalized forms. (Like Sanders in particular, Millsap is a master of understatement: the blues as an idiom of contemplation.) If Millsap's first solo CD of three years ago had found him trying to cram a gallon-and-a-half of soul into a quart container, then the new project is an ideal fit.
The sustained tension between the prevailing dead-earnest ironies and a fine array of blues-rock, R&B, C&W, and rough-hewn balladry recalls the first great period of détente between Southern rock and so-called British-invasion rock, when the American Southland reclaimed decisively its own native musical idiom and conscripted a handful of gifted Brits as conspirators. This was the day of Eric Clapton's Derek & the Dominoes (Layla) sessions, and Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis project, and likewise the day of such born-American masters as Duane & Greg Allman and Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett, whose influence upon the English proved decisive. And if that 1960s-into-'70s period should seem long ago and/or far away, it cannot be because of the style of the music or that its attitude has become irrelevant.
Fort Worth-born in 1955, Dave Millsap grew up in a church- and music-driven family. An early connection in East Texas with the blues singer Sonny Terry cinched Millsap's interest in that idiom, and although he has worked most prominently as a bluesman - including a lengthy stretch with Delbert McClinton - Millsap has reserved the right to wallow in country, gospel, rock and so forth as suits the occasion.
All such influences come together in Feeling Lucky, which finds Millsap in fine voice and at a peak of lyric-writing ability. A collaborative composition called "Voodoo" captures an essence of New Orleans R&B, and another called "2 Steps from a 12 Step" combines strikingly the sense of a 1950s-style C&W barroom lament with the more nearly modern concept of a regimented recovery plan.
The new CD also represents a return to an elemental small-ensemble sound from the elaborate instrumentation of Millsap's Nothing but Troubles (2002), which boasts some intricate horn-section arrangements by the Texas saxophonist Kaz Kazanoff. Where Nothing but Troubles is essentially a studio concoction too ambitious for its own good, Feeling Lucky achieves the same bigness of sound with a much simpler array of instrumentation - and thus lends its material a greater applicability to in-person performance with the same effect achieved on the recordings.
Millsap credits Bobby Whitlock (speaking of Derek & the Dominoes) with providing the suggestion of a pared-down ensemble recording - varied enough to do the material justice, but small enough to function outside the sheltering confines of the recording studio. In this context, Millsap's guitar work shines like new money. The pure-acoustic selection that closes Feeling Lucky, a combat-veteran cameo called "Finally Won the War," lends the collection a John Prine-like texture while pointing out that there is a great deal more to Dave Millsap than the powerhouse electric-guitar work that has become his trademark.
Fort Worth guitarist Stephen Bruton weighs in thusly on the new project: "This is as close as it gets to sitting in a Fort Worth nightclub and witnessing what makes Texas musicians revered worldwide ... David Millsap is the real deal."
The Aug. 20 McNair appearance carries a $20 tariff. (McNair will play host to another fine Texas-bred guitarist, Bugs Henderson, on Sept. 17.) On the Web: www.davemillsap.com; www.basshall.com.
Contact Price at email@example.com.