Brian Beken-Fiddle, Mandolin, Guitar, Lead vocals
Dennis Ludiker-Mandolin, Fiddle, Harmony vocals
Noah Jeffries-Guitar, Fiddle, Mandolin, Harmony vocals
Jesse Dalton-Double Bass, Harmony vocals
While most bands point solidly to one member on fiddle, another on mandolin and so on, such limited designations only give half the story on MilkDrive. This Austin-based, acoustic power team features skilled multi-instrumentalists versed in a variety of musical styles.
Indeed, swapping instruments comes most naturally for the band’s three founding members, who grew up steeped in musical community – particularly the fiddle contest scene. Brian Beken, Dennis Ludiker and Noah Jeffries met as youngsters and co-contestants in the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho. Late-night jams resulted in musical kinship for the friends who eventually joined forces to start MilkDrive. Fourth member, bassist Jesse Dalton, joined recently, rounding out the low-end for the band’s sophisticated sound.
The band’s third studio album, Places You’ve Not Been, is available for purchase in March of this year. Recorded at Austin’s Bismeaux Studio (Asleep at the Wheel) and self-produced by the band, the project features predominantly original material that is indicative of the group’s extensive influences and talents. An audible treat for the senses, Places features refreshing arrangements decked with strong, tight harmonies.
Previous albums include Waves (June 2012), which received notable press mentions; a debut studio album, Road From Home, released in April 2011; and a live album, MilkDrive Live ’09, spotlighting the band’s vigorous picking technique and charismatic writing style.
MilkDrive is a musical extravaganza that joins genres and generations. A talented and progressive blend of bluegrass, jazz, and folk, the band has been categorized and recategorized over the years by itself and others. However, as Bluegrass Today pointed out in a 2011 review of the group, “labels can get us into trouble sometimes.”
Why not put aside labels and simply listen? Listen to what led Ray Benson heard when he dubbed these guys “some of the finest musicians in the world.” Listen to what Twangville called “a music lover’s delight.”
Listen early and often to MilkDrive. It’s real music and it does a body good.