Tobie Milford

Tobie Milford

 Phoenix, Arizona, USA
BandFolkAvant-garde

Tobie Milford is a classically trained songwriter-violinist who broke out of a traditional mold to create a sound that defies genre. He performs regularly with the Tetra String Quartet, combining looping with lush string arrangements and percussion.

Biography

Tobie Milford has steadily cemented his reputation as a performer and songwriter through his juxtaposition of lush violin looping with dynamic vocals which often jump from broken whispers to full-throated melodies within a single song. Milfords recent songwriting has focused increasingly on arrangements for string quartet, and as a result he has debuted new pieces in a variety of performances utilizing string players from Phoenix's beloved Downtown Chamber Series, Tetra String Quartet, and other local acts. In June of 2013, he joined DCS members at the prestigious Musical Instrument Museum for a performance of these pieces, which received enthusiastic responses from both existing fans and longtime DCS attendees new to his music.

Milfords new  album 'Listen To The Trees Grow'  is poised to be leaps and bounds beyond his well-received debut EP Alyosha. Unlike the live-performance sound of its somewhat experimental predecessor, WtTG will be a true studio album, finally capturing Milfords unique brand of instrumentation on record. Following in the footsteps of influential albums such as Sufjan Stevens Age of Adz and My Brightest Diamonds Bring Me the Workhorse, 'Listen To The Trees Grow' is an album arranged orchestrally. Rather than being a prettifying addition to 'Listen To The Trees Grow'  its song's string arrangements will form their backbone. Other instruments - piano, vintage synths, chopped-up percussion and old drum machines, to name a few - will certainly make appearances, creating the illusion of straightforward pop music. However, they will often vanish or disintegrate as quickly as they appeared, leaving behind only the quartet and Milfords raw vocals, working together as a single organism. Above all is Tobie Milford's unique vocal style, soaring and intense.

Listen to the Trees Grow' release date 11/14/2015

Musical influences include Radiohead, Max Richter, Arvo Part, Rachels, Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens, and Andrew Bird.

Lyrics

Death!

Written By: Tobie Milford

Everything you know is gone away
Your soul so small and cold
It's gone with winter snow
Never to return

And your friends so lively now
They'll all be with you deep in the ground
They'll be right next to you
But they'll never hear a sound

So you begin to cry

Your tears water the ground
and forests spring up all green and proud
Your body so tired and worn
A tree trunk takes form within you

And your hair flames like the sun
Your feet become the animals that run
Your arms reach high and wide
In death you want to embrace all of life

But there's a thorn in your side

All your stupid jokes
and all your misplaced notes and
all those ugly feelings
and all of that deceiving it
never quite existed it
robbed you of the present
alive your arm was twisted
in death you see the heavens

The Disconnected Heart and Voice Box

Written By: Tobie Milford

I could be somebody I could be somebody
Everyone knows me everyone
Can just ignore the fact that they don't know me

What can I offer? I can't speak much softer
as one part is searching for the great ever after
the other is clinging like mad to the feeling that this is all there is

And it fights through to the end
Where everything's always struggling broken
Banging and burning and hoping but always just a little bit disappointed
Getting sleep but no rest no peace no
Getting sleep but no rest no peace no

Being an artist it's kinda like lying
but please give me credit anyways for trying
everyone truly wants to affirm beauty though they may lack the words

Even bad people we've all got our steeples and
vices are mean but they let others see
that inside we're needy despite always feeding on such empty things

Just try connecting your heart
With that underused voicebox inside of your throat
Frayed wires split at the ends
They've been disconnected by the devil's electricians

We'll call you crazy and we'll call you a liar too
Cause I ain't seen anyone hanging out with prostitutes
You love the politician and the crazy cornered men
In their darkest hours you were with them even then

You wept when you saw how far we're willing to go
And I locked the door when I saw you at my window
The apple is tasty but it does not satiate
It's sweet taste is off; it doesn't invigorate

Sometimes you break me and your love confiscates
My narcissism and all of the things that I hate

Tiny Eucatastrophes

Written By: Tobie Milford

Broken leaves, dead flowers fill me up inside
You know where I'm going so I will not try to hide
You've got secrets, you've got wisdom, I've got some lies
There's beuaty in your composition poetic demise
Imagination, thinking thoughts, while particles collide
One from a dying ember, the other from a bride
She blew a wedding kiss and missed the candle on the cake
The wind, the spark, met in the dark, before the day parade

You have no idea how wonderful you really are
I'd tell you but I get distracted chasing dying stars
I did what you said to do but it didn't really work
So I wrote a song for you, so I wrote a song

The fruits that you will bear.
The fools that you will bear.

If words are tools it is true I'm a crappy carpenter
and I've built houses made of sticks and glue
Through tiny eucatastrophes my subjectivist tendancies are overcome, and I ascend the stair

The fruits that you will bear.
The fools that you will bear.

Old Friend

Written By: Tobie Milford

You let me down, oh trusted friend
You let me down again
I tied my shoes and waited
for the night-redeeming ring

The moon was up and the starts were down
Oh you've seen so many things
My head was up but my eyes were down
and my hands are cold now

Well I used to lock myself up into rooms
With sad pictures on the wall
Put that key in your pocket; yeah wait for you
It's no wonder I'm no use at all

Well you pick me up and I've got no words
And I've got no goods for you
I wander down alleyways
And I make up some excuse

I let you down oh trusted friend
I let you down again
I tied my shoes and waited
I was thinking

Not much at all.

Roomies Redux

Written By: Tobie Milford

Deep inside the deepest halls and corners of my brain
It's absurd there are no words to adequately explain
I can't believe that you're really leaving, growing up means being needy

If you stayed well-behaved you might not shine tonight
If you stayed well-behaved you might not shine tonight
I can't believe that you're really leaving growing up means being needy

See the world, save the world, and do it in record time
You'll be forever young with the fountains that you'll find
I can't believe that you're really leaving, growing up means being needy

Deep inside the deepest halls and corners of my brain
It's absurd there are no words to adequately explain
I can't believe that you're really leaving, father time's a big deceiver

If you stayed well-behaved you might not shine tonight
If you stayed well-behaved you might not shine tonight
I can't believe that you're really leaving, father time's a big deceiver

Firefighter Pt. 1

Written By: Tobie Milford

Well I been kinda lonely for a while
"That's ok," you said, "you know, God gives us all little trials"
But this one's not so little, I said back
There's fires in my backyard they're burning up
That I been throwing water at

And it burns

And it burns
And it's coming at the eves
Loneliness the creeping flame
Never lets you leave

I told you I need water
I told you I need hands
I told you I need buckets
I told you I need plans

Well that went pretty good didn't it? I said to you
We fought the fires off and it is very nice indeed to be able to depend on such a friend as you
"Actually," you said to me, "I prolly shoulda told you...I wasn't planning on staying, I already made plans tonight, and I think I'll be leaving soon"

Oh no

And it burns
And it's coming at the eves
Loneliness the creeping flame
Never lets you leave

The Disconnected Heart and Voicebox

I could be somebody I could be somebody
Everyone knows me everyone
Can just ignore the fact that they don't know me

What can I offer? I can't speak much softer
as one part is searching for the great ever after
the other is clinging like mad to the feeling that this is all there is

And it fights through to the end
Where everything's always struggling broken
Banging and burning and hoping but always just a little bit disappointed
Getting sleep but no rest no peace no
Getting sleep but no rest no peace no

Being an artist it's kinda like lying
but please give me credit anyways for trying
everyone truly wants to affirm beauty though they may lack the words

Even bad people we've all got our steeples and
vices are mean but they let others see
that inside we're needy despite always feeding on such empty things

Just try connecting your heart
With that under-used voicebox inside of your throat
Frayed wires split at the ends
They've been disconnected by the devil's electricians

We'll call you crazy and we'll call you a liar too
Cause I ain't seen anyone hanging out with prostitutes
You love the politician and the crazy cornered men
In their darkest hours you were with them even then

You wept when you saw how far we're willing to go
And I locked the door when I saw you at my window
The apple is tasty but it does not satiate
It's sweet taste is off; it doesn't invigorate

Sometimes you break me and your love confiscates
My narcissism and all of the things that I hate

Discography

'Listen To The Trees Grow' by Tobie Milford released November 14, 2015

- Tobie Milford - vocals, keys, all strings in "Queen Isabella"

Mark Michaud - percussion, keys, studio wizardry/recording and mixingChris "Creeko" Kasych - studio trickery and tom-foolery (engineering and mixing on "Queen Isabella", banging on things in "Queen Isabella", mastering)
This recording was made possible by the Downtown Chamber Series, bringing music to urban art spaces in Phoenix, Arizona.  www.downtownchamberseries.org.  Downtown Chamber Series musicians on this record: 
Leslie Frey Anderegg and Megyn Neff, violinsMark Dix, violaPeter Lorenzo Anderegg, cello
All songs, lyrics, and arrangements written by Tobie Milford

-composed original score for Phoenix-based documentary The Immigration Paradox (September 2012

"Alyosha" EP, January 31st, 2010 and is currently working on his follow up release.

Milford's song "Death!" part of the midem off Showcase Competition 2012 where the artist ended at number 13 in international competition.

""Death!" included in the "Sonicbids Indie Radio" station available on US Airways Summer 2011

"Tiny Eucatastrophes" was featured inthe first episode of Season 7 of PBS' Roadtrip Nation

Set List

Twelve originals and unique covers of favorite artists, rearranging them using violin loops, for up to a 1.5 hour show.