Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Malford Milligan & the Southern Aces, “Life Will Humble You” (Royal Family). A star frontman with 1990s local supergroup Storyville and more recently the vocal half of the Milligan Vaughan Project, Milligan teams here with five Dutch musicians: guitarists Jack Hustinx and Eric Van Dijsseldonk, keyboardist Roel Spanjers, bassist Roelof Klijn and drummer Nicky Hustinx. Recorded primarily in Austin with additional sessions in the Netherlands, “Life Will Humble You” consists largely of songs co-written by Milligan and Jack Hustinx. High points of their collaboration include the title track and “The Man I Used to Be,” which bring out the sweet and rich tones of Milligan’s distinctive voice, and the passionate "When Love Brings You to Tears." Fans of the late Austin songwriter/producer Stephen Bruton will appreciate the inclusion of two Bruton tunes here, “Getting Over You” and “Yo Yo.” The set closes with a classic, Charlie Rich’s “Feel Like Going Home”; it’s a tall order to tackle that one, but Spanjers’ empathetic piano playing strikes just the right tone, and Milligan gets a nice vocal counterpoint from renowned Dutch singer JW Roy. Here’s the opening track, Homer Banks & Johnny Keyes’ 1967 hidden gem “I’m Glad to Do It”:
Ed Miller & Rich Brotherton, “Follow the Music.” A fixture on Austin radio for decades with his “Across the Pond” show (now airing 7-9 p.m. Sundays on Sun Radio), Miller’s an accomplished songwriter and interpreter in his own right. Focusing on traditional tunes from his native Scotland here, Miller occasionally broadens the scope to include elements of Irish folk music. He has a kindred spirit in Brotherton, who played guitar with Robert Earl Keen for 25 years but was playing with Miller even before that. Brotherton shares top billing on "Follow the Music" because he produced and engineered along with singing harmony and playing six instruments. Others, including Miller’s daughter Maggie, contribute backing vocals and instrumental accents, but it’s Miller’s congenial voice, smart song-selection and informative liner notes that make “Follow the Music” what it is. Favorites may vary, but mine so far are Colum Sands’ “Buskers,” which celebrates the joy of hearing musicians playing on the street, and “Aisling,” an ode to traveling the world but still being pulled back to the homeland. Flute tones from EJ Jones give a graceful touch to the title track, “a happy waltz by Scott Murray, set in and around Edinburgh,” Miller writes in the credits. The music’s available digitally via the CDbaby website; physical CDs also can be ordered via Miller’s website.
JAN. 11: Rob Baird, “After All” (Hard Luck), release show Jan. 12 at Antone’s.
JAN. 15: Nagavalli, “Immersion,” release show Jan. 20 at One World Theatre.
JAN. 25: Hunt Sales, “Get Your (Expletive) Together.”
FEB. 15: Hayes Carll, “What It Is” (Dualtone).