Havent Lost a Thing
The Milner Brothers began playing music around 30 years ago. Scott Milner, the youngest of the three and the only career musician among the brothers, played in various bands in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana, making a name for himself on the local music scene in the early 70's. Eric and Kelsey also have played with other musicians in the valley, including Kirby Erickson, the engineer of this recording. Their most adoring audiences, however, have been their children, who were lucky enough to grow up listening to their fathers and uncles play the music of the Kingston Trio, Gordon Lightfoot, and The Grateful Dead. When the Milner brothers come together to make music-for the last decade that's been a late summer week or two in the Bitterroot-Milner Time (engineer Kirby Erickson's phrase) tends to take hold. What with the brief time together (these days each brother has a day job in a different part of the country-Kelsey still in Montana, Scott in Pittsburgh, and Eric in Rochester, NY) and the rushed schedule of rehearsing and recording, tensions tend to run high-despite the unflagging good spirit of the occasion. Out of this cauldron comes this offering. In some cases the songs have been simmering for years. Kelsey renders Danny Okeefe's Good Time Charlie and the traditional Ox Driver's Song. There are covers of Kingston Trio recordings-always a source of inspiration and connection with musical traditions-with Scott taking the vocal lead on Saro Jane, You Don't Knock, and Run the Ridges-a gritty John Stewart composition on which Kelsey Raymond (Eric's elder son) makes his debut playing the second lead guitar. Eric performs Poor Ellen Smith, and the Gordon Lightfoot classic, Early Morning Rain. In an unusual arrangement of Mr Tambourine Man, the opening and closing choruses are rendered in an approximation of Byrds harmony by the brothers, while Eric solos on the rest of the song. As well, there are a couple of original songs: Scott's colleague, Marc Whinston's, Music No One Else Can Hear, and Eric's composition, Haven't Lost a Thing. The CD bows out with a modest nod to the folk guitar duo, a la Doc and Merle, with Kelsey Raymond accompanying Scott on an arrangement of Elizabeth Cotton's Freight Train. The result is a showcase of the talents that each brother possesses. Their individualities are brought together in a way that sounds polished and professional without losing any authenticity. Also heard on this CD is the bond between the brothers. They not only made an outstanding recording, but they also had a great time singing and playing together. For anyone close to them, it comes through in the music. This CD began in many ways with summer evenings spent on the Milner Family's front porch, and came to be recorded in just two days at Barking Spider Studio in Hamilton, MT, once again among family and friends. The Milner Brothers perform on Martin and Taylor guitars, some of which nearly match the vintage of their long-time owners, or at least of the owners' musical careers. These instruments provide a connection to their folk roots and support their continually renewing lives in music, as well as their fondness for sharing songs-with each other and with family and friends. The original tracks recorded by Kirby Erickson at Barking Spider were mixed by Eric using Cakewalk Home Studio.