Looking for the Light with David McMillin on Daytrotter


“I can still hear your voice echo beneath the Alabama night, like a firecracker whistle on the Fourth of July / You said, ‘Don’t fear the distance dear, don’t fear the dark, you don’t need to set the world on fire, you just need to catch a spark.'”
– David McMillin, “Looking for the Light”

David McMillin

A new Daytrotter session from the musician who loves the craft of songwriting more than any artist I know, David McMillin. Artwork by Johnnie Cluney, copyright Daytrotter

A long time ago, I went to see a show of a local musician I tried to support. It was at The Evening Muse, my absolute favorite place to see music in Charlotte, a tiny, intimate venue that might hold 125 people when it’s busting at the seams. The opener clambered onto the stage, a kid of maybe 21 or 22 that might have weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. He had just an acoustic guitar and he looked so small, even on the miniscule Muse stage. Then he opened his mouth and started singing. Huge voice came out of that little body. He was probably about a song in when I turned to look at Annie and we both had the same expression on our face… WOW.  And that is how my friendship with David McMillin began.

If I could say one thing about David, just one, it would be that among the musicians I know, he is the one who loves songwriting the most.  I mean he absolutely LOVES it.  And he excels at it. He’s prolific, but I’ve never heard him put out a mediocre song. He and his band, Fort Frances, make amazing music together, and in the down times in between, when his band mates are tending to their personal lives, David writes more and pursues his solo work. It’s pretty inspiring to watch as a fan.

In the eight or nine years since that first show at The Muse, I’ve gotten to know David well…and he remains the only rock star ever to hail me a cab. I’ve watched him grow tremendously as a songwriter (and grow a tremendous beard) and been heartened by the fact that no matter what successes come his way, he remains humble and genuine. And so today, when Daytrotter released a solo David McMillin session, my heart skipped a beat. Even better?  NEW SONGS. Gorgeous, lovely new songs like “Looking for the Light.”

I’d recommend going to take a listen (if you are a Daytrotter member, you can download it…and if you aren’t a Daytrotter member, you should be). Let yourself be won over. Because if you love music, you can’t help but appreciate an artist who loves it even more than you do.


More David McMillin:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Buy Heartsteady on iTunes

Earworm of the Week: Catfish and the Bottlemen, “Homesick”

A few weeks ago, Daytrotter’s top music muscle, Sean Moeller, sent out a tweet that said, “Catfish and the Bottlemen are going to be huge.  Trust me.”

My immediate response:  WHO ARE CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN?

I’m a Daytrotter subscriber, and get a ton of cool sessions from them, but they do lean a little to the indie hipster side.  So imagine my surprise when I Google this band and hear screaming guitars. I must know more.

I may talk quite a bit about singer-songwriter types, but it’s not much of a secret that I have a “thing” for rock n’ roll bands.  These four young’uns – and I do mean babies – fill my need for “MORE GUITAR!” Plus, bonus, they hail from Wales (Llandudno, to be exact), homeland of my mentor of fun, Mrs. G., and the Stereophonics.  I do love the Welsh!  Aged 18 – 21, these kids are already earning their stripes, playing over 100 shows in the UK in 2012 and currently gigging some pretty major festivals across the pond.

Their song “Homesick” has been stuck in my head for the last two weeks.  And don’t let the sparse opening fool ya…hang on for the chorus and you’ll see what I mean about the rock n’ roll.


There’s no full-length album yet, but you can pick up the “Homesick” single, a two-track blistering rock n’ roll feast, for less than two bucks on Amazon or iTunes.  Their new single, “Rango” is due out on Sept. 17 in the U.S., but if you just can’t wait, they debuted the official sperm-filled video this week.

Going to have to agree with Mr. Moeller on this one…this band is going to be huge.  (Grab their Daytrotter session here, by the way.)

More Catfish and the Bottlemen:  Web | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

8 Even Better Ways to Discover Your New Favorite Band Online

Recently, I was reading an article on Mashable when I noticed a teaser to another Mashable article titled “8 Ways to Discover Your New Favorite Band Online.” Given that Mashable is geared toward more technically savvy/Internet-heads like me, and music is pretty much the love of my life, I got super excited.

Talk about clicker’s remorse. What a freaking let down! Lamest article on music discovery I’ve ever read. Of the 8, there were TWO that were worthy of mention. The other six? iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify, Rdio and YouTube. And even worse, it didn’t even really tell people how to use some of the lesser known features of these popular resources that could actually help them FIND new music.

Look, we live in the Internet age. There are literally hundreds of thousands of great music resources out there – blogs, apps, video channels, you name it. I have four or five dozen favorite ways to discover new music. Sorry, Mashable, I love ya, but here are 8 Even Better Ways to Discover Your New Favorite Band Online.

1. Noisetrade.com
Get bands to buy into to giving away their music in exchange for fan email addresses and zip codes? Might sound far-fetched, but Derek Webb and his crew in Nashville have done it. Artists control what they can give away – full albums, samplers, live tracks. Even better, fans can tip artists if they so choose, or easily click to promote their downloads on other social media channels. Hundreds of artists giving away music and thousands upon thousands of fans getting exposure to new artists. Win, win, win. Recent artists to give music away on Noisetrade: The Civil Wars, Radiohead, Jars of Clay, Courrier and The Dirty Guv’nahs.

2. Daytrotter
Daytrotter takes some of the hottest up and coming artists (as well as respected, long-established ones) and records them stripped down in small studios or at intimate live performances. They stream the sessions free for anyone to listen to, and for just $32 a year, you can become a member and download sessions. Combine it with some of the best music writing out there today and unique artwork of each artist, and you’ve got a recipe for million-dollar concert vault. In addition to a full-featured website, can also download the app for your device. Recent featured artists on Daytrotter: Ben Howard, The Maine, Grace Potter, Counting Crows, Half Moon Run and TONS more.

3. Soundcloud
Think of Soundcloud like an audio-only Facebook. Follow artists and friends, repost sounds you like, explore new sounds. In addition to oooooodles of new music that I’ve found there, you can also check out podcasts (for example, the excellent Audio Astronauts), audio books, and just about anything else that people can record. In addition to the Soundcloud website, you can also download an app for your devices (App Store or Google Play).

4. Shazam (App Store or Google Play)
This one might be the best-known on my list, but I use it CONSTANTLY, so I can’t neglect talking about it. How many times have you been somewhere or watching a TV show and heard a song and wish you could find out what it was? Shazam is your answer. Two clicks on your phone or tablet and it does the work for you with surprising accuracy. Hold your device up, let it hear the song and … boom goes the dynamite, within a few seconds, you have the name of that earworm. What’s more, in the iPad version of the app, there’s real-time tagging to let you see what other folks are Shazam-ing. Great way to discover what is catching everyone else’s ear…

5. Bandsintown (iTunes or Google Play)
If you like going to see live music, this app is a MUST have. Best way to find out about artists (or new artists you might like) that are coming to your area. The app scans your music library to track artists, but it also allows you to view concerts your friends have RSVPed to, as well as popular events in your area. I think most of my music friends probably know about this one, but just this week, I had a non-music friend email me and say, “Thanks to you I found the bandsintown app! Going to see Marc Broussard in October! Just letting you know that my soon to be concert addiction will be all YOUR fault (and I love you for it)!”

6. BalconyTV
This is one of my favorites that not many people seem to know. I stumbled across BalconyTV about three years ago when some band or another that I like had a session there. BalconyTV is a global concept where musicians play on “balconies” (sometimes decks, sometimes rooftops, but the general idea of somewhere higher up) in nearly 50 different cities (channels) all over the world. The sessions are short, one or two songs, and often enriched by the sounds of the city and weather – cars, wind, foot traffic, etc. Bands are usually local or regional, but every once in awhile a national or international band will show up on a channel around the world. BalconyTV started more than six years ago, so you can find a lot of old videos of once small, unknown bands that are huge acts now (like The Script in Dublin in 2007). I have discovered so much wonderful new music via BalconyTV, but my favorite find to date is still Mighty Oaks. Recently, BalconyTV became more interactive when it added a “judging” component where you can vote between the stronger of two sessions; rankings are used to score the sessions on a global basis. Check out recent sessions from Passenger, Matt Pond PA, Josh Doyle, Matt Corby, Youngblood Hawke, and The Dunwells.

7. Band of the Day (App Store)
I’ve written previously about Band of the Day, so I am not going to be long winded. This app is based on one really simple idea: push a band out a day to music lovers so that they can discover new music. The app has a pretty broad range of artists, from up and comers to long established bands, pop to rap to funk to electronic. From within the app, you to read bios, listen to songs, post about discoveries to other apps (Facebook, Twitter), listen to “mixtapes” (which select from featured Band of the Day artists), track artists you’ve listened to on the app, and check out the most popular Bands of the Day. Recently featured artists include one of my newest favorites James Bay, The Musgraves, Robert Randolph and more. Unfortunately, this one’s only available for Apple users as an app, but the website offers the same experience.

8. TastemakerX (App Store)
I’ve also written about TastemakerX before, but it’s such a unique concept that I couldn’t leave it out of this list. Self-billed as a “fan-powered game for music discovery,” TastemakerX is a way to strut your ability to know a good artist when you hear one. In short, you buy “records” of bands (with fake dollars, or “notes”). And then, a bit like the stock market, as more people buy records of the same band, the value of your collection goes up. You can “trade” out records if you want (selling off underperforming artists or to “make money” because a record has gone up in value). With great features that allow you to see what bands are hot and trending among other users, or to follow users with similar tastes to yours, you can easily find dozens of new bands to listen to. I love this app. I literally login every day to see how I’m doing and I always find something new. The ONLY complaint I have is that a lot of bands that I listen to just aren’t on the app yet – I’m not sure what store or base the app pulls from. However, you can email them with suggestions. I have in the past and they do listen and add them (Saints of Valory, for example…who, by the way, I own nearly 100,000 records of at this point…I’m driving my own cost up!). Again, only available in app on Apple devices, but you can also play online via the website.

This list certainly is just the tip of the iceberg, just a few of my most used and favorite features. So tell me what I’m missing! What other ways are you finding new music? Let me know, and maybe I’ll post “Even More Better Ways to Discover Your New Favorite Band Online.”

Grace Potter + Daytrotter: More Than An Awesome Rhyme

Image ©Daytrotter.

Image ©Daytrotter.

If you know me AT all, you know that I have a ginormous girl crush on Grace Potter.  If you don’t know me … well, now you know.  I’ve never wanted to be someone else in my whole life, but I would trade shoes with Grace Potter for a day in a heartbeat (seriously, I would, the woman has killer shoes).

Anyhow, the fine folks over at Daytrotter recently recorded a 8-song session with her and it is absolutely SICK.  I’m not even sure you can call it 8 songs, since one of them is 12 minutes long.  That particular piece of solid Grace gold could be called “how to get from a mooning love song to a sex anthem in five deft moves” as she transitions from “Stars” all the way to “Paris”  and makes it sound like it was MEANT TO BE THAT WAY.

Daytrotter has a knack for recording these artists in their naked, stripped down beauty, which is, I guess, the point of Daytrotter.  In Grace’s case, it just showcases how truly amazing her voice actually is.  That girl is a vocal powerhouse and listening to her reminds me of just how incredible music can be.

The highlight of the session for me is “Belladonna,” which Grace pulled out of the Nocturnals archives.  It’s gorgeous.  There are a few other non-album song appearances, including “Mystery Train” and “Cinnamon Girl.”

[If you’re a member at Daytrotter, you can download the session for free.  If you’re not a member, you really should consider joining.  For just $24 a year, you can access literally thousands of unique, intimate recorded sessions with some incredible up and coming and established artists. ]

More Grace Potter & The Nocturnals:  Website | Twitter | Facebook

More Daytrotter: Website