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"Ornithological Rock: Milhouse takes flight with a new collection"

In the sanctuary of a spacious Presbyterian church in West Ashley, Dusty Painter's fingers are wrapped in layers of tape. He's anxious to start banging away on the cymbal perched atop his conga set so he can wrap up our interview (he's late for work). Matthew Herring strums his Taylor guitar and keeps saying how he's "on Mars" playing this early — noon on a Tuesday. Mandolin player Cory Jarrett was up late playing at the Blind Tiger. He's groggy, but it's not showing through when he takes his first solo. Lonnie Root is cool and composed on his cello, as any musician responsible for holding down the low end should be.

Like every unsigned band, the four members of Milhouse are just regular guys — they still have day jobs, and they pick up side gigs to make ends meet. But after seven years together, they may be on the brink of something much bigger.

This Friday, the band releases a collection of rare birds, a six-song EP they recently recorded at Asheville's Echo Mountain Studios with Danny Kadar, the acclaimed producer known for his work with My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses, and the brain behind the smoothness of the Avett Brother's Emotionalism.

Last week, Milhouse toured the East Coast, culminating in a performance at acclaimed venue The Bitter End in New York.

"We worked really hard on rare birds for two weeks straight of 12-hour days," says Painter. "It was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. Danny Kadar is a magician, just amazing."

Kadar agreed to produce the album after hearing Milhouse perform in Greenville last fall. His influence was more than just knob twisting.

"Danny came to me and said, 'That was really good, but you need to be playing a snare and kick drum because that's boring,'" Painter recalls (at the time he played only hand drums). "I was like, 'Well, it's kind of different,' and he said, 'Well, it's cute, but when's the last time different meant good?' - Stratton Lawrence Of the City Paper

"A Collection Of Rare Birds"

A Collection Of Rare Birds"

Listening to "Sliding Doors," the leadoff track on the new EP by local band Milhouse, one gets the feeling that the writing and recording process for the CD took the band members to some interesting places creatively. The airy song sounds like a combination of Jars of Clay, Duncan Sheik and something else unidentifiable, and it sets a nice mood for the music that follows.

"Better Off" features some lovely cello parts courtesy of Lonnie Root, while the somber "So Long Farewell" showcases the power of Matthew Herring's vocals. "Gold Dust" is also particularly pretty. It is actually a shame this collection of songs is only EP sized, because all too soon it is over, and the listener is left wishing for at least a couple more lovely tunes such as the six that come to life on "A Collection of Rare Birds."Download These: "Sliding Doors," "So Long Farewell," "Gold Dust" - Devin Grant: Charleston Post and courier (Preview)

"Local in the Limelight"

What do you get when you combine conga drums, beat boxing, a cello, acoustic guitar and electric mandolin? You get one eclectic mix of instruments whose melodies and grooves blend into an engaging ear-pleasing musical sensation called Milhouse. Consisting of senior Lonnie Root (cello), Matthew Herring (singer/acoustic guitar), Cory Jarrett (electric mandolin) and Dusty Painter (congas and beat boxer extraordinaire), Milhouse creates a unique dynamic and fills the gap between the typical Charleston jam band and the o-so-common alternative rock band. These guys can certainly throw down a good jam but their music rocks more and moves forward with thoughtful lyrics and hooks. Their music sounds familiar but distinct and brings to mind a style and sound similar to that of Dave Mathews Band, Phish or O.A.R.

Cellist, Lonnie Root is a Music major at C of C and formerly played with local artist, Steve Fiore. Root joined Milhouse this September after Fiore moved to Boston. Root, with his hobo black gloves cut of at the fingertips has been playing the cello for roughly 12 years and adds a layer of emotion to the songs. "People like the cello because it is relatable," says Root, "it is the instrument that is closest to the human voice."

As if their instrumentation wasn't enough, Root said that he is planning on getting an electric cello and a looping pedal for a better sound and to create more intricate cello parts. Drummer Painter, who drives the songs with his bouncy energy, will also be spicing it up by adding some extra percussion to his conga-based set up. "There's a lot going on right now," says Root after giving an impromptu cello lesson to a fellow C of C classmate. "We're going to the studio in January and have been practicing and playing constantly."

Milhouse is moving forward with their music and they hit the studio this January to record with Danny Kadar who has produced other jam-rockers, My Morning Jacket and The Avett Brothers. This match seems to be perfect for their sound and their ambitious attitude to progress as musicians and song writers.

Milhouse, who has been a band since 2001, have made their mark on the Charleston music scene by playing around town at venues such as the Music Farm, Pour House, Wind Jammer and bars such as the Roof Top, Brick and Wild Wing Café.

They will be playing Thursday Nov 15 at the Pour House in West Ashley for Dangermuffin's CD release show, Friday Nov 16 at the Vendue Roof Top in the market and on Saturday Nov 17 for the Barrier Island closing Oyster Roast (right before the bridge to Folly Beach). Make sure to check these guys out because wherever they are, the crowd is sure to let loose and have a feel-good time. - Susan Kamenar George Street Observer


Tales of Woe and Yay 2005
a collection of rare birds 2008* May 2nd release
Live Birds 2008
currently recording full length record



Charleston SC’s quartet Milhouse are rapidly building a reputation as one of the most eclectic bands to break the surface in years. With such a distinct and an energetic live show, Milhouse draws on a unique combination of instruments and influences to create a sound that is unclassifiable. While listening to Milhouse you will realize and come back to the beauty and art of music. It's the evolution of Bach to The Beatles.

What do you get when you combine an electric cello, electric mandolin, acoustic guitar, a homemade drum kit consisting of conga drums, snare drums, kick drum and various percussion? You get one eclectic mix of instruments whose melodies and grooves blend into an engaging ear-pleasing musical sensation called Milhouse. - George Street Observer.

Composed of four best friends Matt Herring, Dusty Painter, Cory Jarrett, and Lonnie Root this quartet manages to intertwine the evolution of classical music to the sounds of modern music with influences of My Morning Jacket, Keller Williams, The Blues Brothers to Jason Mraz and Damien Rice. With such broad influences and instruments not consistent to the rock music genre the creative efforts of the songs and arrangements becomes an influential strength to the eclectic sound.

With such broad influences and instruments not consistent to the rock music genre the creative efforts of the songs and arrangements becomes a driving force to the eclectic sound. Milhouse has shared the stage with many acts including: JJ.Grey and Mofro, Hackensaw boys, Wild Sweet Orange, Outformation Tyler Ramsey, Zach Deputy, Outformation, Zac Brown Band, NeedtoBreathe, The Blue Dogs, Moses Mayfield, Scare Crow Collection, and Barefoot Manner.

On December 7 2005, Milhouse released their highly anticipated second album, which clamoring fans sent to number two on the home charts, filling the coveted slot behind Madonna. Milhouse sold an astonishing 1400 copies at local record store Millennium Music in Charleston. In January 2008, Milhouse entered Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville NC with respected producer Danny Kadar who is well recognized for his production and engineering for acts such as My Morning Jacket, Iggy Pop, Avett Brothers, and Arizona. The goal for the six track EP entitled “a collection of rare birds” was to produce a record that will capture the live and organic chemistry of eclectic quartet. . "We didn't hire studio musicians or add to or change our sound." Herring explains. "…in the end it was me, Dusty, Cory and Lonnie; the people in this band, creating the music we love." he adds confidently," It will always be the Milhouse family."