Denver-based Milquetoast & Co. will release its newest single – a sultry, atmospheric rendition of the Moody Blues’ 1967 radio staple, “Nights in White Satin” – available on all major streaming platforms on Friday, May 19, 2023. The slyly psychedelic offering is blanketed with resonating melodies, moving chamber textures and swells, subtle infusions of acoustic and electric guitar, and uplifted with haunting, emotive vocals that give off a non-rushed, mellow feel before soaring into an epic finish.
“‘Nights in White Satin’ is especially dear to my heart. I fell in love with this song at a very young age, before I had any understanding of the lyrical message,” says Milquetoast & Co. singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer, James McAndrew. “There is this sense of foreboding and longing for something just out of reach. It just hits my soul button. And, this song has seemed to show up in perfect moments throughout my life.”
Milquetoast & Co. experimented a little on “Nights in White Satin” while still honoring the original. “The classic is just a priceless piece. It really captured what I think they wanted it to. You could tell Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues really loved writing this,” says McAndrew. “So with this rendition, I wanted to fill out the song and give it an even larger feeling that I think it deserves while paying attention to the string swells. For some space, I chose a different (vocal) note path, and I laid low on the chorus until the very end. Also, we swapped out a flute solo for an oboe one, which is performed by Ashley Jarmack, who also plays the English horn and flute on the track.”
Surrounding themselves with an accomplished engineering team, Milquetoast & Co. flew to California last year to record “Nights in White Satin” with producer/engineer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Afghan Whigs, Ray LaMontagne, Flaming Lips) and mastering engineer Nathan James. Prior to the band’s trip to the West Coast, McAndrew and co-writer/bassist Dan Zangari had developed the meat and potatoes of the songs. “I started putting together song ideas for Dan to develop his bass parts so we could play what we have to the rest of the band, which is how we begin the creative process,” he explains. Collectively written by McAndrew and Zangari in three-months-time, the band first demoed the entire album in Denver.
“Kevin was kind enough to host the band at his historic house that was built in the 1970s, which sits on one-and-a-half acres of land just nine miles northeast of Los Angeles,” says McAndrew. “It’s beautiful. There are lemon groves around. His studio, which is separated by the garage, was a perfect space and setting to record.”
For the next nine days, Milquetoast & Co. recorded the Moody Blues cover as well as nine other songs at Ratterman’s studio, Invisible Island, for its forthcoming album, Run Rant Rave. “It made a big difference for the band to be together every day. It was a wonderful bonding experience all around,” reflects McAndrew. Milquetoast & Co. brought in some additional musicians to broaden its musical palette on Run Rant Rave: “Grady Kinnoin plays the pedal steel and Brad Gardner the organ.” The singer also invited the Section Quartet, a renowned string quartet with two violinists, one viola player and one cellist whose sound leans more toward rock than traditional classical. “They played on half of the tracks on the new album, which is phenomenal,” he says. “They’ve worked with Beck, the Foo Fighters, and many top artists and producers.”
“Milquetoast & Co. blends elements of Americana, rock, and blues with hints of pomp and pageantry, embracing themes of life, joy, sorrow, and the complexity of human relationships” ~ Celeb Mix
“Through fiery vocals and passionate storytelling, their sound hypnotically draws listeners in” ~ Earmilk
The band’s current lead single off Run Rant Rave, “Spinning,” dropped at the end of March along with an accompanying video. “The song speaks to the confusion that sets in through our early lives. Ultimately, some people evolve from those life experiences, and some people refuse to move forward,” explains McAndrew. “Sonically, the song counters the layered messages; I picture Don Quixote and Sancho Panza riding off into the sunset, forgetting what they made the trip for in the first place, yet at peace with the journey regardless.”
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