Southerly: Art Songs of the American South
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Tenor Jos Milton offers a recital of American art songs connected to the South.

Tenor Jos Milton relocated to Oxford, Mississippi to teach at the University of Mississippi in 2011. Since moving to his new home, he has become curious and fascinated by the sheer volume of culture that flows from the South. The creation of Southern poetry and literature thrives today and these vibrant writings prove ideal sources for transference to contemporary classical song. The songs on this recording all contain some pertinent connection or thread to this Southern theme. James Sclater's songs are set to texts by Ovid Vickers, a well-known Mississippi writer, teacher, and folklorist. Price Walden's song cycle reflects the experiences of his young life -- growing up in Mississippi and attending the Free Will Baptist Church. Dan Locklair's texts are words of three Southern African-American women transcribed by Emily Herring Wilson, while John Musto's Shadow of the Blues draws on the inspiring words of Langston Hughes, who serves as a voice of hope in African-American culture. A graduate of Trinity University, University of Massachusetts and Peabody, Jos Milton enjoys an active career as a recitalist, chamber musician, and opera singer, in addition to his work as an educator. His collaborator, Melinda Coffee Armstead has performed as recitalist and chamber musician in the U.S., Canada, England, France, and Israel.
James Sclater, composer
Beyond the Rainbow
Jos Milton, tenor; Melinda Coffey Armstead, piano

Dan Locklair, composer
Jos Milton, tenor; Melinda Coffey Armstead, piano

Price Walden, composer
Abide With Me, Five Songs of Love
Jos Milton, tenor; Melinda Coffey Armstead, piano

John Musto, composer
Shadow of the Blues
Jos Milton, tenor; Melinda Coffey Armstead, piano

"Nothing quite equals the special pleasures derived from a recording that is truly fresh in its musical offerings or approach. Southerly is such a recording.…This was clearly a labor of love, executed with a relentless attention to the smallest detail, and the result is one of the most enthralling art song releases of the last twenty years…Milton's singing is unfailingly beautiful throughout all the songs…Pianist Melinda Coffey Armstead's wonderful playing is a consistent joy…In short, this recording is exemplary in every way." (Journal of Singing)

"Jos Milton has put together a very fine program of songs by living composers that reflect aspects of southern life and culture…Milton's singing is exemplary. His voice is luminous and his diction exceptionally clear. The artistry of his singing is quietly radiant in his unaccompanied performance of Locklair's Unknown.…Bravo to Albany, to Milton, and to Armstead, whose interpretation of the fine piano writing is outstanding…" (American Record Guide)

"…The sets offer considerable variety, textually, musically, and texturally, both internally and amongst each other, and they interrelate well as a program.…The performance has a very intimate feel, almost as if Milton were performing for the listener personally. His warm, light tenor suits this music to a T; it conveys the mood and spirit of the works quietly and persuasively, as if he were conversing with the listener, narrating the tales and musing on the events, as befits an art song recital. Armstead's support is likewise warm, solid and perfectly balanced…" (Marvin J. Ward)
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