Cameron Milford | Suburban Roots Music
August 12, 2015
August 12, 2015
Suburban Roots Music
Cameron Milford is a singer-songwriter from Brisbane Australia. His style combines the lyricism of Folk Rock with the sounds of American Roots Music. He has been compared to artists such as Jakob Dylan, Ray Lamontagne and John Prine.
Cameron Milford’s early years were spent in Brisbane’s alt-country scene as a member of “Inntown” and “The Golden Spurs”. When these bands broke up he decided to hit the road.
For nearly two years Cameron traveled the USA, UK and Europe as a wandering troubadour. While on this journey he made a stop in Nashville, Tennessee. During this time he refined his craft as a writer and performer.
By night he absorbed the sounds of Traditional Country and Americana. By day he wrote songs inspired by his time on the road. While in the town they call “Music City”, Cameron refined his craft as a writer and performer.
These songs became the foundation for his debut album, “Highway Wind”.
The recording of “Highway Wind” was an international effort that spanned Brisbane, Nashville, Sydney and Memphis.
The album was recorded with a group of acclaimed musicians including; Rob Ickes (Blue Highway, IBMA Dobro Player of the Year 2013), David Henry (Steve Earle, Missy Higgins), and Doug Gallacher.
It was mixed by Ted Howard (Kasey Chambers, Paul Kelly) at Rancom St Studios in Sydney. Since it’s release it has gained airplay across Australia and the USA.
The lead single “Fast As You Can” has been played on radio across the country. It entered the Australian Top 20 Country Charts for 98.9 FM in March 2013.
Suburban Roots Music
Can we ask about your family were they musical at all and did you know when you were growing up that you wanted to be a musician recording and playing to an audience? – Ed
My mother was the musical one in the family… she used to play the piano all the time. One of my first memories was hearing her play The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag. I started playing the piano at age three so I could join in the fun!
I wanted to be a lot of things growing up. But mostly I wanted to be just like the Beatles and Elvis.
Did you get up to any antics when you were growing up and what kind of advice would you give to aspiring musicians about their career choice? – Ed
I was quite responsible and serious in my youth. I think that comes with being the eldest child. How times have changed!
In many ways the music business is the communications business. I think it’s important to understand how to transmit some of what you are feeling into the heart of someone else. That’s when the magic happens.
How many bands were you in when you were a kid and can you tell us about your first gig? – Ed
My first gig was at the Greenbank RSL. My band was called Apples and we were playing in the Mackie Youth Music Competition. We scored second place and won a sweet mixer from Mackie. The mixer doesn’t work anymore, but I keep it in the cupboard as a reminder of my glory days!
Do you like Sheryl Crow’s music and how much would we like to hear you team up with her to write? – Ed
I’d work with Sheryl Crow anyday. Tuesday Night Music Club is one heck of an album.
Seriously though after we’ve bullied you into liking Sheryl Crow who would you like to tour with or collaborate with? – Ed
Britney Spears seems like a lot of fun.
Single, in love or married to your guitar? – Ed
Lets go with the guitar option for now.
When you went over to the States how many guitar picks did you pack? What kind of guitar did you take? – Ed
I actually don’t use a guitar pick! It’s all fingerpicking for me… James Taylor style. I feel more connected to my instrument when I play this way. Also, picks are kinda expensive!
I travel with this old cedar top Takamine that cost me 200 bucks. It’s one of my favourite sounding guitars.
How many bars/venues did you play at in Nashville? Which one/s bring back memories about the people you meet? – Ed
There were many…. I’ve really lost track on the number. The highlight was playing the Bluebird Cafe while Paul Kelly was hanging out in the crowd. I’m not sure I will ever forget that gig.
I would say that my favourite venue in Nashville is Roberts Western World. They call it the “home of traditional country music”. I have spent many nights at the bar, listening to old Hank Williams and Marty Robbins songs. The staff still remember me when I go back…. that feels pretty nice. It’s a wonderful place.
Can you tell us what you like/not so much about being on the road as a musician? – Ed
The best thing about being a musician on the road is being able to make friends wherever you go. I try not to think about the hard stuff.
Any plans to go back to the States soon and can we hitch a ride? – Ed
No immediate plans to tell you the truth.
Why Roots, what does it mean to you, and what do you want your audience to feel when they hear your songs? – Ed
For me, roots music means going back to where it all started. When I first went to Tennessee, I began to discover the roots of the music that I make. Traditional Country, Blues, 50’s Rock, Gospel and Folk were all around me. It was amazing… this was the music that I grew up with! I guess it all became real for me in the USA.
The kind of music I make is based around what someone can create with a guitar and a voice. Those are my roots. I think that musicians of the future will consider laptops to be folk instruments. For this reason, the definition of roots for me is a highly fluid, and likely to change depending on the person and time.
I can’t really control what the audience will feel… that really depends on the experiences of the listener. Two people can listen to the same song and hear two different things. I guess I just hope that people feel something, even if it’s not what I originally intended when I wrote the song.
Do you like Cat Stevens and are you religious? – Ed
I’m a massive Cat Stevens fan. In many ways I consider him to be the ultimate singer songwriter. He has the perfect combination of great lyrics, musicality and the ability to be both entertaining and artistically compelling.
I grew up in a Catholic family, went to a Catholic school and played piano in a Catholic church. I wouldn’t call myself religious anymore, but I believe that my upbringing has influenced the way I write. Christianity can give people a really interesting way of thinking about the world. As a songwriter, I’m always looking for small stories to talk about the big issues in life. When you think about it, parables do the same thing. Maybe all those mornings in Sunday school paid off after all!
What do you like to write about, what inspires your songwriting? – Ed
My writing is mostly a commentary on what is going on around me. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes these thoughts or words hit my brain and I just know they will work in a song. Like one day I was walking down the road and I saw a hand-drawn sign that said “10 Dollar Haircuts”. There was something about the scene that really appealed to me. The song eventually became “7 Dollar Haircut”, and it’s not really about haircuts, but you get the idea!
How many instruments do you play? How many instruments do you own? – Ed
I’m pretty good on piano, but I don’t play it so much these days. I play guitar, a little bit of banjo and ukulele too. I’m not so good on the wind instruments!
When is your next album/single coming out and what style will be hearing? – Ed
I’m working on a new record at the moment. It’s turning out great but won’t be ready for a while. In the meantime I’ve set myself the goal of releasing a demo every few weeks. Demos are cool because you get to hear the song before all the fancy production goes over the top. If you follow me on Facebook/Twitter/Soundcloud you’ll see them pop up every so often!
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