Pull up a chair on the porch, kick your feet up, and enjoy the entertainment. MilkDrive’s debut studio album sheds a whole new light on the ability, inspiration, and cohesion a string band is capable of. Road From Home is a palatable experience of a supergroup you’ve probably never heard of.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, this is one alt-folk band prepped for something great. Three members play mandolin, two play fiddle, two play guitar, one on double bass, and no drums; and there’s only four of them. Between the quartet there is a RockyGrass Mandolin winner, World Fiddle champion, two time Texas State Fiddle Frolics winner, Texas Flatpick Guitar champion, and a Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival Jazz Guitar winner.
With that much talent it only amazes me as to why they decided to combine their prowess into one.
That is until you actually hear it.
Brian Beken, Noah Jeffries, Dennis Ludiker, and Matt Mefford play with such grace and fluidity you’d be lost trying to determine where one ends and the other begins. Beken’s vocals are sent through the string arrangements to offer a verbal story to this southern musical. All fourteen jam-band-like tracks feel as though they were meant to be precisely where they ar. It is as if they simply all happened to be in the same place at the same time, decided to pick up their instruments, and let it all flow. Their ability to add an upbeat feel to an otherwise dark story is delivered in “Dry Creek Inn.” Beken spins macabre lyrics of why people won’t be returning to theInn. Of all fourteen tracks, “SoHo” demonstrates the full ferocity of their talent. It demonstrates MilkDrive’s ability to utilize every piece of a song, including the emptiness between bars, to the fullest. Their timing is impeccable, their sound is refreshing, and their album is top notch. I have not experienced such an impressive show of stringed talent in one place…ever.
Road From Home will turn non-believers into believers and those who are afraid of stringed bliss into fans. The talent is obvious and the sound is imaginative. MilkDrive has taken the first step off the porch on a road that may have just become a little shorter with this release.