Dig Baton Rouge

Making Sounds Together

By Cody Worsham

A band’s chemistry is Boolean: it’s either there, or it isn’t.

For Baton Rouge five-piece The Millburns, the chemistry has been there since day one, which is good, because, well, it had to be.

“The first time that all five of us were in the same room together was when we arrived to sound check at our first show,” said Ben Nelson, vocalist/guitarist for the group. Tasked with putting together an opening act for a friend playing Mud & Water last year, Nelson quickly added vocalist Ashley Cowart and open-mic compatriot John Mark Lowry (bass) to lead guitarist Jason Bossier and drummer Michael Lane, who Nelson claims “had been playing around with some songs that I had written but we did not really know what our ambitions were beyond making loud noises in a room a couple days a week.”

The sound check went well, as did the show, and since, the band has stuck.

The Millburns
Saturday, August 16th at Spanish Moon
With Little Radar and The Myrtles
First 50 people in the door get a free beer
Doors open at 9, show starts at 10

“It has been a little over a year since that first show and we have spent that time rehearsing, playing shows, and recording,” Nelson said. “We were lucky enough to be able to have that group of people who met on stage have a chemistry that enabled us to continue.”

That chemistry will be on display Saturday, when The Millburns play Spanish Moon with opening acts Little Radar and The Myrtles. The first 50 to arrive for the show get free beer, and the rest will have to make do with good tunes.

Nelson said the band’s sound is formed from a variety of influences among the members, with a base in rock and roll but from a broad spectrum of timeframes.

“From a songwriting perspective the songs come from a variety of influences,” he said. “Growing up my parents were always playing a lot of music from the 50s and 60s. That combines with the music that I started to love at 12 and 13 which was the time of 90s rock. Those influences also combine with a love of a large variety of modern music both in rock and roll and beyond.

“The aim is to write music that is a reflection of ourselves and all of the music we like, so we hope that the tunes pull from the music of the 50s and 60s just as much as they do from music that is released this week.”

A staple of their sound is vocal harmony, as the intonations of Nelson’s and Cowart’s chops lead The Millburns sound.

“Ashley and I feel fortunate to have found each other,” Nelson said, “as it can be very difficult to find someone whose voice blends with your own.”

Behind those voices are a full sound. Lane’s aggression on the drums gives the band energy and pulse, Bossier handles the guitar cleanly, and Lowry’s indie influences come through on the four-strings, giving The Millburns a sound hard to emulate but easy to enjoy.

“We are also influenced by the speed and agility of Deion Sanders and the sunglasses and hair of Ethan Hunt,” added Nelson.

Nelson said the group has been recording periodically since the spring, but their only release has been a demo recorded shortly after the band’s formation. They are currently working on a debut album, hoping to release a single by year’s end and more material afterward but are hesitant to put any “artificial time constraints on the process.”

“We have put all of our songs under a microscope,” Nelson said. “Each song is analyzed and critiqued in order to make the recording as strong as possible. We believe that this process has strengthened the material and made our performances stronger.”

The Millburns’ chemistry has always been there; it’s just refined now, carefully crafted into a sound that, more than anything, is about enjoying music for music’s sake.

“We are a group of five people who enjoy making sounds together,” Nelson said. “While we take the writing and performing of our material very seriously, the ultimate goal is to enjoy ourselves, as music is a release if nothing else. We hope that we can create songs and shows that can allow people the opportunity to also enjoy themselves.”

See The Millburns live at The Spanish Moon Saturday, August 16.



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