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Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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"His Place Downtown"

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.

Ben Conniff - Playboy Magazine

"Milton is paradise found"

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.

Jim Farber - New York Daily News

"When 'regular' just doesn't cut it"

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?'"

Diana Costello - The Journal News


"Scenes from the Interior" (Moon Caravan - 2003)
"Milton" (Flying Horse - 2006)
"Grand Hotel" (Maggadee - 2008)
Tracks on rotation on WFUV:
"In The City", "God and Money" from "Scenes from the Interior" and "Milton"
Tracks on rotation on KCRW
"Real Long Time" from "Milton"



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 members of Milton's regular New York-based band are 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.

Milton and his band recently recorded "Grand Hotel", their last album, in Minneapolis with Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Iris Dement, Greg Brown) and engineer Tom Tucker (Prince, Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples). The album features all new material, including some of the songs that crowds have come to know and sing along to in sold-out shows in NYC.
In a lead review of Milton’s eponymous last album for the Sunday New York Daily News, Jim Farber called Milton “Paradise Found.” While he has been compared to many of his heroes—Van Morrison, Nick Lowe, The Band—Milton has distinguished himself with his unique voice and a compelling mix of grit and grammar. Milton has been aptly described as a writer’s writer; he’s extraordinarily capable of elegantly simple narratives about the complex wonders of life in the city and in the world.