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New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Adult Contemporary


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"Journal News 3/4/09"

Sure he has what he calls a "regular old name."

But the songwriter known as Milton says he quickly learned that regular doesn't always cut it -especially in the music business.

You see, when a young Marc Rosenthal first set out to turn his passion into a profession, he couldn't even get club owners to answer his booking requests. So he figured he'd give it a shot under the name Milton and see what happened, since his childhood nickname was Milty.

It turned out to be a smart move.

The 34-year-old Larchmont native today has an HBO movie score under his belt and has opened for such headliners as Joan Osborne.

"I really work in every context, from opening for Joan Osborne to playing small parties for friends," he says. "We play whenever we can. ... That's the only attitude you can have."

Taking a trip to Westchester County last week from his New York City dwellings, Milton unpacked his acoustic guitar for a live performance in The Listening Room, a concert series produced by (Visit to check it out.)

With him was bandmate Sami Buccella, who anchored the tunes with his upright bass.

The two men have been playing together since their paths first crossed in Argentina more than a dozen years ago, and it's evident they share a musical understanding as they exchanged notes and rhythms.

Milton's guitar was crisp and rhythmic. Buccella's bass was mellow and meandering. Together the product was a bit folk, a bit jazz and a bit rock.

Yet the most distinctive aspect of the music was by far Milton's raspy and raw vocals.

He has the type of voice that would have been wasted on anyone other than a singer, and it's fortuitous that it happened to land with a person who has been writing lyrics for as long as he can remember.

"I would just sit in my bed after lights out and just write songs," Milton says. "I can't understand it, really. I was like a retriever dog that retrieves even though it doesn't know why."

Like so many others, one of Milton's first and most lasting musical influences was The Beatles. At age age of four or five, he remembers getting his hands on his mother's record "A Hard Day's Night" and realizing the band had exactly what he wanted.

"I just destroyed it. I scratched it up to death listening to it," he says. "I would just say, 'Listen to these guys, and the sounds they make! They're good friends, the girls love them, what else could you want in life?'" - Gannett Westchester Newspaper

"Grand Hotel Review 3/6/09"

Milton, "Grand Hotel" (2008)
NICK DERISO: Milton's roots music, ruddy and real, doesn't sound anything like his bio: New York City-based singer-songwriter.

Instead, we have this sweetly gruff record, "Grand Hotel," which stands flat-footed in the middle of the four-way intersection of folk-rock, country, blues and pop.

Milton, turns out, comes by this honestly: His grandmother, a pianist, taught music. His great-uncle was a folk singer in the 1940s. He had a cousin who picked. His dad followed bluegrass music, too, even taking him to see a Doc and Merle Watson show.

Still, you imagine Marc Rosenthal (who later renamed himself, and his band, Milton) in a cluttered Manhattan apartment, a swirl of traffic and humanity echoing from the streets below, banging out story ideas on a guitar or keyboard -- and you wonder where this well of deep-fried soul comes from.

He gets a powerful assist from Bo Ramsey -- a producer with Louisiana roots who adds the same graceful sway, and meaningful use of space, that defined Lucinda Williams' "Essence."

There are shades of the Band's doomed romantic Richard Manuel ("Grand Hotel," "A Whole Lotta Pain"), the masterful storytelling of Warren Zevon (Pale Moonlight"), the striking melancholy of "Tumbleweed Connection"-era Elton John ("Into the Blue"), a tribute to piano-playing jazz legend James Booker ("Booker"), the scuffed-up pop poetry of Nick Lowe ("Night Driving"), the groovy R&B grit of Van Morrison ("Everybody Loves You"). Imagine a banjoed-up version of Sly and the Family Stone -- literally, on "All The Time."

It's hammered together through the natural character of Milton's charmingly gnarled voice -- which sounds like a big rig downshifting when the highway curves into a small town.

In this way, "Grand Hotel" brilliantly builds on the college-radio hit "In the City," from Milton's 2003 indie debut "Scenes from the Interior" (and the unjustly overlooked self-titled follow up from 2006) because of an open-hearted appreciation for all of the rough-hewn joys of roots music, whatever its derivation. - Somethin' Else Music

"Grand Hotel Review 3/2/09"

Serving up a soulful blend of literate, street-smart NYC folk and free-wheelin' Texas troubadour-styled alt-country, Milton (born Milton Rosenthal) hits all the right notes on third longplayer Grand Hotel. Operating from those two extremes can be a tough juggling act even for the most seasoned artists, but to the young songwriter's credit he enlisted a pro: Bo Ramsey, who's produced records by Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown and others.

The partnership proved fruitful. On songs such as the twangy, choogling "Stars" Milton sounds uncannily like classic Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, right down to the singer's edge-of-a-rasp vocals, while on the yearning, lightly-skipping "Everybody Loves You" he's a dead ringer for Steve Forbert. With empathetic backing from his combo - in particular, the female harmony vocals and an ever-present rollicking piano elevate the material - Milton points his lens at the full spectrum of human emotion, uncovering hard-won truths and savoring tiny moments of ecstasy. - Blurt Magazine (formerly Harp)

"His Place Downtown Playboy 3/08"

Ben Conniff loves the folk-rock music.

Touring from venue to venue is a real test of a band’s versatility. So when you’re lucky enough to catch one in its niche a good show is virtually guaranteed. Thus, New York folk-rocker Milton’s kick-off-your-shoes bar music has been thriving in weekly sets on his home turf, the aptly named Living Room; the Lower East Side bar has crammed in loyal Milton fans every Wednesday night in February.

Milton’s music clearly descends from the likes of the Band, King Harvest, and Van Morrison. His songs are tight and melodic, albeit less groundbreaking than the work of his predecessors. For me, the band’s draw comes less from the melodies than from a texture that plays particularly nicely in an intimate bar. Milton’s voice is a deep rasp that sounds carefree but never misses a note, perfect for the band’s relaxed, swinging tunes. Oxford grad Frank Campbell’s jangling barroom piano intros and solos inject liveliness in an ensemble that might otherwise be weighed down by more mundane guitar chords, particularly on pop-ier songs like “Her Place Uptown.”

The group also flourishes when it digs into bluegrass, as it did last Wednesday in a mid-set interlude. Guitarist Martin Kearton switched to a mandolin and bassist Sami Bucella traded his electric bass for a stand-up, and the band let loose on a few twanging country tunes. The audience reached for another beer and let out a few whoops and hollers as Milton mimicked George Clooney from O Brother Where Art Thou? This energy carried through the end of the show, with die-hard fans singing along on the last few tunes.

Milton’s most recent, self-titled album is a fun listen, but it doesn’t retain the energy of the live set. If you’re around New York, see their last show at the Living Room this Wednesday night. Otherwise, check the band’s website to see when they’re hitting up a bar near you. - Playboy Magazine

"Best NYC Song"

Top five songs about New York City by Tris McCall, Jersey Beat

1. Milton, "In The City" (from Milton/Scenes From The Interior)

A limitless outpouring of love for the downtown - the hipsters and the dive bars, and the… oh, hell, Milton details it all much better than I can. One of the greatest New York songs in a city full of great New York songs, "In The City" captures the ambition, the relentless activity, the

spectator's feeling of insignificance, and, most importantly, his accompanying drive to make the streets his own. If you're a New Yorker and you haven't heard this yet, do yourself a favor, pal. And if you're an out-of-towner and you don't, upon hearing this song, immediately and desperately wish you were walking on Stanton Street, well, you're probably best off in the boonies.

- Tris McCall, Jersey Beat

"Song of the Day on NPR"

" the one-named folksinger knows what he's doing." - NPR

"Paradise Found"

Milton is paradise found
Sunday, January 6th 2008, 4:00 AM


MILTON. "Milton" (Flying Horse)
Not all scratchy voices sound the same. Rough-hewn singers, from Rod Stewart to Macy Gray, each boast a unique flinty texture.
The singer known as Milton makes that point with a vengeance. Thick, wide and ruddy, his voice has a special huskiness, a gnarled charm that makes it sound like he's about to swallow the notes before we even get to hear them.
Essentially, it's the sound of a gulp. As such, it has the capacity to make listeners choke up, too.
Milton's tunes take a sweetly casual approach to folk-rock. He leaves his songs full of space and flaws. You'll hear echoes of homespun pop, ranging from the Band to Elton John on "Tumbleweed Connection."
The singer and his group have been making this kind of knockabout music for most of this decade. Though based in New York, Milton gathered musicians from as far away as Spain (drummer Adam Chasan) and London (Frank Campbell, whose piano serves as the music's defining instrument).
The six-piece band put out its debut, "Scenes From the Interior," in 2003, on the Southern indie label Moon Caravan. This self-titled second album has been out for some time (there's a new one coming in '08), but it's worth highlighting for anyone who hasn't been paying attention so far.
The songs sway gracefully. "Her Place Uptown" has the playful piano, and winning swing, of the '70s hit "Dancing in the Moonlight." "Waiting for You" takes the opening piano chords from "Midnight Train to Georgia," then steers them somewhere else, while "God and Money" sounds like the Wallflowers channeling Robbie Robertson.
Milton writes often about loves that he can't let go ("Her Place Uptown," "Waiting for You"). But he has an even deeper ardor for music itself ("Williamsburg Lullaby" or "Club Life"). It's hardly an original point of view. And his music plays off chord structures we all know well. But the way his voice navigates those tunes - lagging just behind the beat and threatening always to fade away - will take its own tug on your heart. - New York Daily News Jan. 2008

"A Winner"

"Everything [Milton] does feels authentic. His voice is so distinctive and welcoming and exudes so much natural character....Sharply written, emotionally evocative....For those of you who still believe in the album, here is a winner for you." - City Belt

"New York Times 2/09"

AFTER dubbing himself and his band Milton, the singer-songwriter once known as Marc Rosenthal saw good things start to happen. Clubs that had rejected music he submitted under his former name started booking him. Radio stations attuned to folk-rock gave air time to his songs, and he began to attract a following. The name also had a practical value beyond branding. “Milton is really me, so even if no one else in the band shows up, we’ve got a gig,” he said in a recent interview.

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IN TUNE Milton, with his band, is coming home for a performance.
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Raised in Larchmont in a family of doctors — his father and mother, like his two grandfathers and a great-grandfather, practice medicine — Milton discovered his love for songwriting at the age of 5. A graduate of Mamaroneck High School and New York University, where he earned a degree in Spanish literature, he mostly taught himself to play the guitar, persevering despite skepticism about his voice.

“I was told, ‘You can’t really sing but are outgoing and hammy,’ ” said the 35-year-old performer, whose voice has been noted for its “gnarled charm” and been described as “worn but warm.”

In fact, he has the pitch and rhythm to carry the day, and his sophisticated lyrics, if sometimes hard to discern at high decibels, keep listeners coming back for more. One night during the band’s four-week residency at the Living Room in Manhattan last month, a group standing at the back (the place was swarming with well-dressed and attentive fans) yelled “In the City!” demanding one of Milton’s best-known songs. Instead, he gave them “Booker,” an ode to the piano-playing jazz legend James Booker, a song that has been featured on National Public Radio and is included in the band’s latest CD, “Grand Hotel.”

After asking the crowd to acknowledge his mother’s birthday — she was beaming in a front row — Milton, a lanky, clean-cut performer who favors dark sports jackets and plaid shirts, hooked up a harmonica and began playing it along with his guitar. A smile was never far from his lips as he rolled out one set of lyrics after another.

He will be coming home to perform at the Watercolor Café in Larchmont on March 10 at 8 p.m. (; 914-834-2213). It is an engagement he said he is looking forward to. “There was no music venue in Larchmont when I was growing up,” he said. - New York Times

"Journal News Weekend Cover Story 10/9"

When he was growing up in Larchmont in the late ‘80s, Marc Rosenthal tagged along as his older brothers, Tom and Ben, formed bands and played gigs in local clubs, even at the famed CBGB in the Bowery.

“At a very small age, at 12 or 13, I’d see the rehearsal process,” says Rosenthal, who now goes by his stage name, Milton. “Seeing them book gigs, loading in at the clubs, learning how to put together a set list, seeing a band fight, seeing how songs got written, seeing how you chose covers. And meeting touring bands who were professional that had managers and labels and seeing how it worked.
“From the age of 4 or 5, it’s really all I ever wanted to do. But to be able to see it with my brothers doing it only fed the fire,” he says.
By the time his brothers went off to college, their kid brother had formed a band of his own.
Milton returns to his Westchester roots with a performance at Mamaroneck’s Emelin Theatre on Saturday, part of the theater’s Indie Rock series.
“When I was a kid, the Emelin was a big deal,” the singer-songwriter says. “If you were from that town and you liked the arts at all – I remember I saw that Ahmad Jamal Trio at the Emelin when I was 12. Anything that happened at the Emelin just had this air of ‘you’ve made it, that’s pro, that’s real.’
“It was a dream for me,” he says. “I couldn’t even imagine being on a circuit like that where you could actually play the Emelin, like that was your gig.”
Saturday, years after leaving Larchmont – for college in Saratoga Springs, Manhattan and Argentina, and for a career in the Midwest, Brooklyn and, now, Manhattan – Milton returns to realize that dream, bringing his latest CD, “Grand Hotel,” on Maggadee Records.
The disc finds Milton’s gravelly voice at its finest as he and his band glide effortlessly from one song to the next: a dozen stories told by narrators with a real story to tell.
Milton’s lyrics are deep, the emotions real but never easy, and the melodies are infectious.
He welcomes inevitable comparisons to Bob Seger, Van Morrison and Warren Zevon.
“Van Morrison is the one I spent most of my time being freaked out about and digging a ton,” he says. “Warren Zevon: I definitely had that ‘Excitable Boy’ record growing up, and Bob Seger was all over the place when I was a kid.”
The connection to Seger is inevitable, Milton says, for a singer with what he calls “a rough voice.”
His writing approach goes back to something he learned in sixth-grade creative writing, he says: “Show and not tell. Paint the picture fully rather than trying to explain.”
“I try to bring you to a scene and set the whole thing and have narrators who are just being themselves,” he says, adding: “They’re largely based on my experience, but they’re mixed around with people I’ve met.”
In the song “Everybody Loves You,” Milton plumbs celebrity and adulation, “like if you suddenly fell in love with Kate Winslet and everybody loved her, too. It would be easy to say: ‘Oh, it’s just the whim of the people,’ but it’s true. She’s really great.”
The lyric goes:
“I’ve tried, but I can’t erase you from my heart’s rolling tape
I could look for flaws that would give me pause
But that would just be sour grapes.
Why defame your pretty name with things that aren’t true?
Everybody loves you, I’m just everybody, too.”
“I try to make melodies that are catchy and nice and something that you’d like to listen to again,” he says. “But if you get down to the story of people, it’s never that clean.”
Witness the CD’s first track, “Night Driving,” as gentle a driving song as you could want, but one that tells of a man who is alone.
“I get off most nights before eight.
The traffic ain’t bad, it ain’t great.
I get home and I got me a date
With the TV and beer.
A free man who comes and goes just as he pleases
I guess that’s about the only life I’ve ever known.
And now I’m night-driving alone
Feel a chill down deep in my bones
And I’m taking the long way home
Once again.”
“A lot of people have told me that when they learned the lyrics to ‘Night Driving,’ they thought it was a terribly sad song. And I always thought: ‘But it’s sort of healthy, too.’ It wouldn’t do it justice to say it’s just a sad song. The person who’s narrating that song is somewhat basking in that loneliness in a happy way, enjoying that moment of being alone and digging the music and driving the car and longing for the girl.
“There’s some sadness there, but there’s also some joy to be in it, to be alive,” he says.
“Grand Hotel” is dedicated to Milton’s aunt, Jan Robbins, “one of my lifetime supporters, confidants, best friends,” who died while the album was being finished.
“She was very encouraging from an early age. I used to get a Beatles record from her for my birthday every year, which is exactly what I wanted,” he says. “She was very tuned into me. Unfortunately, she was very ill, and right when we took the pictures for the album, she died. She used to see us play at Joe’s Pub and sit in the same table every time.”
Milton’s band includes Sami Buccella on bass, Adam Chasan on drums, Frank Campbell on piano, Martin Kearton on lead guitar and Becca Parrish on vocals and percussion. Milton plays guitar and harmonica and has the lead vocals.
“They’re great players who can play all kinds of styles – country or jazz or rhythm and blues,” he says. “They can all play me into the ground, but they’re all playing to make the song better.”
What Milton has that his brothers didn’t back in the early ‘80s was the Garage Band computer program that lets him write out a song on his computer with demo parts, e-mail it to his band members, tell them that they’re going to rehearse in a week’s time and ask them to “find their way with it.”
“They come in with it and if something’s not working, I point it out, but it’s a group that has a large vocabulary and a similar frame of reference. I can say: ‘On the second side of that Neil Young record, that piano sound that guy gets, I’m looking for that.’ And they’ll understand it.
“It’s music-nerd stuff, sure, but it works,” he says.
Milton gets back to his hometown once in a while to visit his parents, who still live there.
“One thing I’ve noticed. When I was growing up and it was time to leave elementary school, there was a line of moms and they’d all have these beat-up station wagons. The coolest ones were the boxy Volvos, but very often the wood-paneled Chevys – because they had broken the bank to get into that neighborhood. Now there are rows of giant SUVs and you can’t see the street.”
“But Larchmont is a place of great nostalgia for me,” he says. “You could hear the snapping of the tracks of the commuter trains. That was my deal: to sneak down to the city and experience music in the Village.” - Gannett Westchester


Grand Hotel (2008)
Milton (2006) Flying Horse Records
Scenes From The Interior (2003) Moon Caravan

"Grand Hotel" made the national top 40 Americana radio charts for two months in early 2009, going as High as #19.
The previous two records have been in heavy rotation on WFUV Radio New York and KCRW in LA and many stations in between. Play on many college radio stations throughout the U.S. WUMB Boston, WDET Detroit, WRUW, KTRU, Virigina, Cleveland, etc..



2007 Mountain Stage NewSong Northeast Finalist.

Milton is a New York-based singer/songwriter and the leader of the Milton Band, a lively, rootsy six-piece group that plays dates up and down the East Coast and around the country. Already well known for his radio hit In the City on New York City’s WFUV, Milton released his second, self-titled CD to wide critical praise in November 2006. With the help of a busy live performance schedule and frequent airplay, Milton and the Milton Band have seen their audience increase rapidly in recent months.

The new CD features members of Milton's regular New York-based band, an international outfit that has come together over years of club gigs, and plays together like a family act. The band's senior member is bassist/string arranger Sami Buccella, who played his first gig with Milton in a Buenos Aires bar before the singer was even legal. Drummer Adam Chasan grew up in Spain, managed a recording studio and played drums on the road with a number of acts before answering an ad for the Milton Band. Piano player Frank Campbell started tickling the ivories just north of London, where he was born. His jazz chops impressed at Oxford, where he studied before working on the London club scene with Latin jazz ensembles. He eventually made it across the Atlantic, as did his Oxford classmate Martin Kearton, the band's lead guitarist and mandolin player. Lending harmony and percussion to the act is Southern belle Becca Parrish, who performed on her own and with several established club acts around town before she heard Milton practicing in an empty office and asked to sing with him.

Milton's musical journey began in the suburbs of New York City, where he was the youngest of many music-playing brothers. His family has a long history of making music. Grandma was a classical piano player and music teacher. Her brother was a folk singer who made 78s in the 40s, and sang songs from all over the world at family parties. There was also a bluegrass-banjo-picking cousin, a jazz-piano-playing uncle, and another cousin who met her husband in the French horn section of a pit orchestra. Not to mention Milton's older brothers, who were making records and playing punk rock in clubs by the time they were in high school.

As a teenager, Milton snuck off to the city whenever possible to meet as many strange characters and hear as many kinds of music as he could. Way gone on Bob Dylan, old R&B and the classics of Western literature, Milton began in earnest his own struggle to compose the well-made song. He taught himself to play guitar, and performed his fledgling compositions on any stage that would have him. After college in New York City and some time in South America, Milton headed to the heartland. He set up shop in Chicago, and played coffeehouses and clubs all over the Midwest. Eventually, feeling the pull of his roots, he returned to New York City. Here he writes, plays, sings and lives a life dedicated to making music.

Spotted singing at a folk showcase in Jacksonville, FL, Milton was approached by Moon Caravan Records, an indie label from Raleigh, NC. Soon after, he recorded his 2003 debut Scenes from the Interior at Jerry Kee's Duck Kee Studio with a host of great session players. Upon its release, Scenes from the Interior came to the attention of New York's acclaimed radio station WFUV, whose music director Rita Houston, along with many of the DJs at the station, became great Milton supporters. Other notable fans include famed New York concert promoter Ron Delsener and veteran Dylan/Cash/Leonard Cohen/Simon and Garfunkel producer Bob Johnston.

The new self-titled CD, released November 2006 on Flying Horse Records, was recorded in New York City, North Carolina and at the storied Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, NY. It’s currently getting spin on KCRW in Los Angeles and WFUV in New York, along with many stations in between. The band has appeared several times as guests on WFUV programs, including an on-air concert on Vin Scelsa's legendary Idiot's Delight. As an opener, Milton has shared bills with Yo La Tengo, Shelby Lynne, Jamie Cullum, Norah Jones and James Hunter, among others. As headliners, the band debuted at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater with a sold-out gig in November 2006. In the City was recently featured on a CD compilation of rising talent in Relix magazine's December 2006 issue.

Milton continues to tour and record regularly, both with the band and as a solo performer. He composed and recorded the music for Hard as Nails, an HBO documentary scheduled which premiered Spring 2007.