Chris Milam
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Chris Milam

Conway, Arkansas, United States

Conway, Arkansas, United States
Band Pop Rock


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"Music City Unsigned Review of Tin Angel"

So, I am taking my first listen to the Tin Angel EP by Chris Milam. It kicks off with the driving, melodic pop-rock sounds of "On My Way," a song that's one part contemporary pop and another part big band, big horn section, throwback to days gone by. There sure is some catchy stuff here as Chris belts out, "Get down, singing my song/keep on rolling all night long."

Next up, "Only One," an expertly-crafted 3-minute pop song with driving drums, a great guitar line and more way cool horns to bring it all home. Chris slows it down on the beautifully-arranged title track that feature some great harmonies by Moriah Harris.

Chris definitely shines on the track "Shine" (yes, I know that sounds like a bad cliche!), a powerful ballad with another great melody and one sweet organ to set the mood. The Tin Angel EP really pops at the end with the ultra-catchy "Don't Give Up On Me Now," another timeless 3-minute pop song that could have been written in any era.

Listening to Chris Milam leaves you feeling like you have just experienced a fresh new voice with a welcome appreciation for the music that has come before him. It all blends together seamlessly in a way you are sure to enjoy. You owe it to yourself to give Chris Milam a spin. I know I'm glad I did! - Music City

"Listen!Nashville Review of Tin Angel"

Chris Milam Releases EP, and Rocks 12th & Porter to Celebrate the Occasion

Currently based in Nashville, Chris Milam is a young southpaw from Memphis who has just released his second record entitled Tin Angel. Saturday night (October 11) Milam and his outstanding band put on an impressive performance to celebrate the release.

Milam's got the Memphis blues in his blood, but his music resists stereotypes. For one thing, it's not his guitar-playing that's the focus—he's got one hell of a blues guitarist behind him for that. Rather, Milam writes rock/pop songs that focus the spotlight on his vocals which, again bucking stereotypes, are as white as snow. The odd pairing of blues with lilly white vocals may seem an unlikely strategy for success in the business of rock 'n' roll, but when it works the combination is reminiscent of Paul Simon's solo efforts. Milam's youthful appearance, boyish charm, solid vocals, and stellar backing band all make for an impressive live show that will continue to win over audiences. The Tin Angel EP, however, does not capture Milam's boyish charm, which is disarmingly appealing in his live shows.

I've got a feeling about this kid. While there's certainly room for growth as a songwriter, he's heading in the right direction.

—Vincent Wynne
Listen! - Listen!

"Chris Milam’s wit, wisdom take music in a new direction"

On any night in Nashville, there are countless guys with guitars trying to make it. Music City resident Chris Milam has been in the crowd. He knows “that guy,” and he earnestly does not want to be “that guy.”

“As soon as somebody gets up, a solo acoustic guy with a guitar, I automatically go, ‘Oh no, here we go,’ ” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of bad diary entries and stripped-down emo and bad, melodramatic, cheap sentiments, and I’ve heard it before.

“So I know from a crowd’s perspective what that feels like. The best thing I can do is, from early on, say, ‘Don’t expect that.’ We’re going in a different direction.”

Milam looks the part of a starving artist trying new ideas. Down South they might call him bean-pole thin. His sly, boyish face makes the young performer look like he might need a chaperone on tour. On the road, though, it’s just Milam and his guitar, and they are both backing up his talk.

The Memphis native plays modern folk and what he calls “lyrically-intensive songs.” His honest delivery, accompanied by enough wit to keep the audience alert, is engaging, and people are listening.

“The cool thing,” Milam said, “is how many people have been accepting of that. Hopefully, people are interested in hearing something new.”

When Milam talks about something new, he is talking about his own voice. “I don’t see anyone other than OutKast or Radiohead that’s reinventing the musical wheel,” he said. “But I think I can say something different.”

On Milam’s debut album, 2005’s “Leaving Tennessee,” he sang about searching for love, losing it and maybe finding a silver lining in an otherwise cloudy sky. Since then, he has branched out. But he continues to turn a phrase on end with lethal precision. His lines can sneak up on a listener like a grin on a Cheshire cat’s face.

“I would listen to a piece of music (but) there’s nothing out that’s giving me that feeling (of) ‘He is talking about exactly where I’m coming from.’ At some point, I started writing those songs myself. Hopefully then, somebody else out there will listen to it and say, ‘That’s where I’m coming from. I haven’t heard anybody put it like that before.’”

He took a conscious path to developing his voice. “I think I can say something different. What song would I like to hear? What should be said right now? From messed-up relationships, family issues or if you want to get socio-political, from any slant, what can I say that’s new?” he said. - Chattanooga Times Free Press

"Vanderbilt alum proves a promising Southern singer-songwriter"

Nashville singer/songwriter and 2005 Vanderbilt alum Chris Milam is not leaving Tennessee, despite what his debut album might have you believe. In the title track to “Leaving Tennessee” Chris says he’s had it. With what? The rest of the album tells you: he gets his heart broken (in “Elaine”) and he breaks some hearts (in “Lisa, My Dear”), but even though things get tough, he still manages to have a good time (in “On A Wire”).

“Leaving Tennessee” has a simple but unique sound that’s a little folk, a little country and a lot of good Southern rock. Many of the songs are catchy (though not pop-infused), and some of them rock pretty hard. Milam’s sound may be a little familiar: he cites greats such as Bob Dylan, Robert Johnson, Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash among his biggest influences. His style, however, is definitely all his own.

Chris says he gets his inspiration for songs from various places, but it mostly comes from girls, love (and sometimes lack thereof) and relationships. But every now and then that inspiration doesn’t come so easily, and he says that’s when “you have to create your own inspiration.” He also looks to literature for inspiration: “The Great Gatsby” is his biggest literary influence because “it’s a good place to go to think lyrically,” and he sees an “energy and urgency in literature” that serves as inspiration.

Milam has been making music since an early age, when he says he played Beatles songs on Fisher Price instruments with his older brother. When he was six, he began taking piano lessons; at age 10, he learned to play bass; finally, when he was about 13 he picked up the guitar. Because he is left-handed, he flipped the guitar over and taught himself to play upside-down; he plays guitar more than other instruments, but, ironically, it’s the only one he’s never been formally trained to play. This has allowed Chris to take more liberties with his music and really develop his own sound.

Chris has indeed developed a sound of his own, and he’s taking it on the road. Since graduating from Vandy in the spring of 2005, Milam has been playing in Nashville and around the Southeast, and he’s managed to build a solid fanbase. He says he is often “surprised when there’s a crowd (at the shows). I don’t expect it.” Among his favorite places to play, he counts Nashville venues 12th & Porter Lounge and 3rd & Lindsley, as well as Sticky Fingers in Little Rock; however, he says the best place to play is “anywhere people are listening.”

People certainly are listening. Chris is currently hard at work on his second album, which he says is going to be very acoustic, with pop/rock/blues sound. Fans are already hyping it, based on live performances of new material, and Chris says he particularly enjoys playing his new song “Matchstick Blues,” which will appear on the album. He plans to record the album in early 2007 and release it in the late spring.

Even though a lot of Milam’s songs are about things like girls and love, don’t write him off as just another sensitive white guy with a guitar. He is no John Mayer, and I mean that in a really great way. Chris is set apart from the masses by his distinctive sound and intelligent lyrics. His songwriting abilities, combined with his great vocal talents and guitar-playing skills, make “Leaving Tennessee” extremely listenable and the new album highly anticipated.

In short, Chris Milam is one of the South’s most promising young singer-songwriters; his live performances are just as great as his record. He is hard-working and dedicated to his music, but he makes time for his followers because “nothing is more valuable than a devoted fanbase.” His already-devoted fanbase, as well as new fans, can find out more about him and his music on his Website ( ( and hisMySpace page ( “Leaving Tennessee” is available for purchase fromCD Baby ( and iTunes. If you want to see him live, he’s currently booking shows in Nashville for the near future; you can catch him at 12th & Porter Lounge on Oct. 25 at 9 p.m., but make sure to keep an eye out for more dates in the area. - Vanderbilt Hustler

"Leaving Tennessee Review"

So after a long hiatus filled with house guests, insanity and tequila, I sat down to review the albums that seems to building up from inattention here at HCT HQ. [I am taking time off from the same, PLUS there’s my busy scifi-viewing schedule which is too copious for me to insert mean remarks here.—Mimi]

At the top of my stack is Chris Milam’s Leaving Tennessee which I’ve been meaning to review since he came and did a podcast with us a while back.

I find myself in hard position writing this review. See, being in Nashville means I get to hear a lot more from musicians than just what they have released. Chris is one of those musicians that’s close enough for me to stalk and follow closely live and as a person. Chris is good enough that I do exactly that.

For one, he’s an exceptional songwriter. There are a lot of songwriters here, since it’s Nashville and all. I could go hear half a dozen of them nearly every night if I devoted myself to nothing but songwriting rounds in Nashvegas. But I don’t, I sit around and listen to a handful of what works for me, a small handful that includes Chris Milam. There is a compelling immediacy to Chris’s lyrics. Whether he’s writing about love and loss or politics, he crawls through blues, rock, country, folk and pop with definite impact. His skill as a songwriter surpasses many artists twice his age.

On “Whenever it Rains,” Chris sings of being haunted by a girl now gone, though I hear underneath that the changed season here in Tennessee, the cold, autumn comes through. The song carries the same melancholy as a season that’s left the warm blanket of summer behind. It’s more a slow pop song than anything else on the album, but it doesn’t suffer because of that.

“On a Wire” and “Ain’t the Way” almost seem to channel love songs of the 50s or early 60s. There’s a slow melodic tempo to these that sends you back to times past, if you’re my age, times you don’t even remember but still carry a strange fondness for. “On a Wire” has a roughness to the lyrics that fill in images of sweet-voiced boys in white t-shirts, with cigarettes rolled up in their sleeves. Especially when Chris sings, Well, the stars are out, but they don’t look bright/ Let’s drink some gasoline, maybe start a fire/Let’s park the old Supreme, maybe start a fight. “Ain’t the Way” is a little sweeter, lighter and sadder, painting a picture of a girl I always imagine with hair sprayed up, long skirt swinging around her calves as she looks sadly on at the singer, stirring something in him that he longs for but can’t quite define.

The stand-out lyrically on Leaving Tennessee is “Lisa, My Dear (I Look Better Alone).” The production on this song isn’t quite as heavy as it is on some of the other songs allowing the strength of the words shine through. There’s such a loneliness here–the protagonist sends the object of the some away, saying he looks better alone, until it finally comes through that really he thinks she’s better off without him. I don’t know if it’s autumn being the season of melancholy or something else, but I really feel a sharp ache whenever I listen to this.

“Memphis Queen” stacks Memphis girls up against girls from other places. It’s a great song, definitely the most radio friendly of the bunch, and here I mean that as a compliment rather than an insult. If Chris chose to be a pop singer, he could use this as a launching pad and send himself out into the ether of popular music with songs like this one.

But like I said I’m in a unique position here in Tennessee. I’ve heard the songs not on this album and I know first hand that those are what Chris should be showcasing. He’s growing exponentially as a writer. Moving into more folk and blues. He really is at his best with just him and his guitar, allowing an audience to not only focus on the incredible lyrics, but to really feel the emotion and passion beneath them.

Some of his new songs, like “Talking Divinity Blues” veer into the political without being heavy-handed or trite. There’s a level of writing here that’s both more subtle and more detailed than the songs on Leaving Tennessee.

Chris is touring this winter, showcasing his new writing. I’ll be seeing him as often as I can and you should too. I’ll post dates as they come up or keep an eye on his site for news.

In case you missed the podcast, or care more about songs than us HCT girls chattering at musicians, here’s a few songs Chris recently recorded (right click and ’save as’ to download). It’s a zipped file that includes mp3s of “A Song I Used to Know,” “Maria, Maria,” an acoustic version of “Memphis Queen” and “Talking Divinity Blues.” You can hear these alongside the album and get the best idea of the range of stuff Chris is doing, from the almost pop country of the album to the folky strains he produces when it’s just him alone without the band behind him.

Leaving Tennesssee is available on iTunes and our beloved CD Baby. - Hardcore Troubadours


Tin Angel EP, October 2008
Featuring the single, "On My Way"

Leaving Tennessee, LP, 2005
Featuring the single, "Whenever It Rains"




Expertly crafteda fresh new voice.
--Music City Unsigned

Reminiscent of Paul SimonIve got a feeling about this kid.
--Listen! Nashville

His skill as a songwriter surpasses many artists twice his age.
--Hardcore Troubadours

One of the South's most promising songwriters."
--Vanderbilt Hustler

"Milam's creative melodies and smart lyrics won't keep him underground for long..."

For any fan singer/songwriters, Chris Milam might surprise you. First, hes young, and looks even younger. Hes no solo acoustic balladeer. He rarely sings in falsetto. His love is not unrequited. His hearts not broken, and his souls not shattered. He sings to the crowd, not into his guitar.

Rather than following the trends of his contemporaries, Milams prodigious talents place him in the longer tradition of classic American songwriters like Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and even Bob Dylan. Armed with a backing band and a sharp lyrical wit, hes more comfortable within the confines of a timeless pop song, or a raucous blues riff, than a finger-picked ballad.

In the summer of 2005, Milam released Leaving Tennessee, an alt-country record that earned him a regional fan-base and a wave of critical acclaim. The records hit single, Whenever It Rains, showed Chriss already immense talent for pop song-craft and poetic lyricism. In 2006, Chris hit the road, touring the Southeast, Midwest, and east coast in promotion of his debut album.

Now, in his sophomore effort, Milam has blazed a brand new trail for contemporary singer/songwriters. The Tin Angel EP is a triumph of pop song-craft, big-band energy, and Milams trademark ear for melody. From the opening horn line of On My Way, to the final note of Dont Give Up On Me Now, the entire record is infused with contagious energy and infectious pop sensibility.

His songs are at once fresh but familiar, contemporary yet universal; the kind that keep you company on a cross-country drive, or backdrop a late summer barbeque; the kind that fill you with the expectant energy of Saturday night, or the sun-lit calm of a Sunday morning; these are the songs that remind you where youve been, and give you a glimpse of where youre going.