Chris Milam

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Past shows

  • Chris Milam

    This show was on Oct 23rd, 2016 | 14 people watched
    1 Comment
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  • New Beginnings Festival: Chris Milam

    This show was on Apr 10th, 2016 | 25 people watched
    4 Comments - See all
    • MLE
      Apr 10
      You sounded great and I enjoyed the song selection. See you at Layfayette's on May 26.
    • Apr 10
      everything..your vocals are like a fine wine, unlike Dylan's, yours just gets better with time.
    • Apr 10
      Always great music and sung with passion!
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Bio

What happens when a plan fails, or a path forward disappears? What happens as you walk your way back?

After a tumultuous year, Chris Milam went to the studio with a dozen new songs that tackle these questions and define his sound. He emerges after months of recording with an eagerly-anticipated slate of new material, a collection of songs called Kids These Days. Its first single is... more

What happens when a plan fails, or a path forward disappears? What happens as you walk your way back?

After a tumultuous year, Chris Milam went to the studio with a dozen new songs that tackle these questions and define his sound. He emerges after months of recording with an eagerly-anticipated slate of new material, a collection of songs called Kids These Days. Its first single is “Autumn.”

“2014 was a bad year.”

Following a broken engagement, Milam lost everything but what he could fit in his car. Then, while on tour, that car—and everything in it—was stolen.

“That was the lowest moment. I’d lost everything I owned and I’d lost what I thought my future would be. At a certain point, all I had were these songs.”

The songs became the turning point: Milam teamed up with Memphis producer Toby Vest [High/Low Recording] to begin work on what would become Kids These Days. To fund the project, Milam spent a year without a home–couch-surfing, pet-sitting, troubadouring—saving for studio time rather than rent.

He called in Memphis musicians Greg Faison (drums), Pete Matthews (bass), Luke White (guitar), Jana Misener (cello) Krista Wroten (violin), and Vest (keys, effects) to illustrate the tension and sense of loss in each song.

“We wanted the record to feel atmospheric, dynamic, and unpredictable. It was important to me that these songs were built around live takes. Memphis musicians have a way of filling a song with life—beautiful, weird life.”

On October 13, Milam releases the first single from this material, “Autumn.” As the first release on Milam’s newly launched label, Namesake Records, “Autumn” introduces the darker sounds and carefully-layered arrangements found throughout Kids These Days. These sounds evolved in the studio, but started with an atmospheric vocal, shimmering guitar, haunting strings, and a menacing drumbeat.

“Toby and I talked about combining elements of folk and classical with elements of rock and even hip hop. On one hand, there are strings and bright guitar tones. Then underneath, there’s this dark, driving beat. ‘Autumn’ was the first song where we found that sound.”

The song takes on the splintering of a relationship directly, pinpointing the pain of the break-up as “not the break, but the breaking.” It’s the moment of change; you can feel the knife’s edge the relationship walks and the chill in the air. The production punctuates the rawness; nerves are exposed.

“It’s a break-up song,” says Milam, “but it’s the actual conversation. You know you need to rip the Band-Aid off, but you’re struggling to do it.”

Fittingly, this break-up song introduces a record full of inflection points. Milam’s gift for melody and lyricism revisits the earlier comparisons to Paul Simon, but these songs draw heavier from other influences: Chris Bell, Damien Rice, and Michael Stipe. Reflecting the songs themselves, Milam’s voice has matured: plaintive vibratos shift in a flash to a shout, growl, or croon.
The album explores the ways in which Kids These Days aren’t kids any more. Each song has as its underlying question: “what now?” For Milam, the loss of a defining relationship carried with it the loss of youth. And it’s a break from that path, and that youth, that this record really mourns. Kids These Days examines loss while seizing the opportunity for change. For Chris Milam, this isn’t a break-up record; it’s a break from record.

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