MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 20, 2014

Good, wholesome sound: Contemporary jazz-grass band MilkDrive to perform Saturday


— When three fiddle players met at a national fiddle contest in Idaho, little did they know more than a decade later they’d form a band.

MilkDrive, a contemporary jazz-grass band, hits the Frisco Depot at 8 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $10 at the door. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

“We all grew up fiddle players,” said Brian Beken, who retained fiddle duties for the band along with being the lead vocalist. “Over the years we’d go camping, and then we started jamming music.”

Three of the four band members even lived together for awhile in Austin, Texas, while each was attempting to branch out in different bands. The group officially formed in March 2011.

“It’s been a side project for about four years,” Beken said. “I think we’ve all always known we’d end up playing together. Whenever the opportunity came we all just dove in.”

The band also consists of Noah Jeffries on guitar and harmony vocals, Dennis Ludiker on mandolin and harmony vocals, and Matt Mefford on double bass. MilkDrive aims to deliver a “distinctive acoustic experience marked by sophisticated arrangements and fierce musicianship.”

The band’s second studio album, “Waves,” was released in 2012. It was produced by Bil VornDick and captures the band’s sophisticated arrangements and fierce musicianship, according to a media release. The album showcases a number of original compositions and features guests Noam Pikelny (of Punch Brothers) and Futureman (of Bela Fleck & the Flecktones), the release states.

The band’s distinct sound has drawn some comparisons to the Punch Brothers, Beken said.

“It’s of course a pretty different band,” Beken said. “But it’s an experimental thing with acoustical music.”

The group has received many accolades and is on the road every week through mid-July, performing 27 times in four states.

“It’s just really getting out and playing,” Beken said. “It really helps to get on at festivals, that’s where people will hear about you.”

Beken said his favorite songs MilkDrive performs is “Dear Prudence.” Bruce Robinson lent the band for its 2012 Album “Waves.”

“That’s really fun to play, too,” Beken said.

If you go

WHAT: MilkDrive in concert.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame’s Frisco Depot.

COST: $10 at the door, which opens at 7 p.m.