Since the beginning of his career, Chris Milam has set out to turn the music world upside-down-literally. As a kid with southpaw inclinations, Chris "flipped over" his first guitar and taught himself to play upside-down. In the years that followed, he also became a proficient bass player, pianist, and vocalist, combining the merits of formal instruction with the excitement of untraditional technique. In this way, Chris's development as an artist and creative force is a result of determination and good fortune. Born in Virginia, raised in Memphis, and trained in Nashville, Chris has been lucky enough to have spent most of his life in some of American music's true Meccas. In the spring of 2005, Chris recorded his debut album, Leaving Tennessee, combining the blues, country, and rock influences of his youth to create a sound all his own. Almost immediately after it's release, the title track 'Leaving Tennessee' was featured on a label compilation alongside the Greencards and Jeff Black. Chris's single went on to generate airplay on at least a dozen radio stations across the Southeast. Soon after, a copy of Leaving Tennessee fell into the hands of a Memphis DJ, who featured 'Whenever It Rains' in his new music segment. This second single drew a buzz quickly, and 'Whenever It Rains' stayed on regular rotation, enjoying more requests than it's nightly competition (which included 3 Doors Down and No Doubt). Constant gigging around Nashville gained Chris an increasing fanbase, as did the growing number of critics lauding his songwriting ability at such a young age. Comparisons to songwriting masters Ben Folds, Elliot Smith, Ryan Adams, and even Bob Dylan abounded, as Chris's sound is both unique and classic, fresh yet oddly familiar. Riding this wave of momentum, Chris spent six weeks in the spring of 2006 on the road, gigging everywhere from the Florida coast to central Oklahoma. After playing to full houses across the Southeast, he returned to Nashville to find that his fanbase was larger than ever-it's not often a solo acoustic performer fills major venues on a Monday night! Fans are already hyping his next album based on the live performances of his new material-lyrically-intensive, amazingly sharp folk tunes that recall both early Bob Dylan and late Steve Earle. Chris is also writing new, more rock-oriented tunes with his Nashville band, and sees all his new material forming a two-sided album, juxtaposing stripped-down folk and all-out Southern rock. If you ask friends, fans, and critics alike, they'll tell you multiple reasons for his success. His inventive language and memorable verse mark him as one of his generation's most promising lyricists. His ear for melody makes him one of rock's most pop-savvy songwriters. And his knack for sonic alchemy-the seamless integration of his most disparate influences-shows that, with each new song and album, Chris's music will continue to evolve. But if you ask Chris himself, he'll tell you a different, more typically self-effacing story: "I really don't know, but it's flattering. I'd like to think that kids my age are finding something in the lyrics to relate to, or maybe there's something in the melody that captures an emotion. Really, they're just coming out to see 'the kid who plays upside-down.'" If his career thus far is any indication, as long as Chris stays committed to turning the music world on it's head, he'll continue to have an eager audience.
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