Milagro Saints

Best Reviews

Indyweek

 

Anger is an energy, sang John Lydon, and some righteous fury seems to have jolted Milagro Saints on the Raleigh band's eighth LP, Stranger Times. The record barrels open with "Shadow Man," which inveighs against rapacious fracking companies on personal terms and heaps ire on those who live to exploit the earth.

For a band that often occupies a musical space somewhere between jam-band comfort and folk-rock taste, the song deploys a welcome sense of urgency. A similarly righteous anger—married to a Bo Diddley beat and riveting slide work—animates a fiery cover of Woody Guthrie's "Deportee," written about a 1948 plane crash that killed mostly Mexican migrant workers. With all this talk of walls, the take is all the more powerful.

It's not all gloom. The burnished vocals of romantic shuffle "Heart Painted Red" sounds uncannily like the once-lost legend Rodriguez and his clean Cali pop, lifted by a lilt borrowed from vintage Van Morrison. The blues stomp "Rail Rider" roars with passion, although it sounds as if the lyrics were added only to suit the mood. "Another Country," or what the band terms "cosmic Americana," keys on lovely glints of steel and phased mandolin. With a suitably tipsy groove, the New Orleans tribute "Ruby Moon" ends the LP with an excessive build—righteous energy spent, hair suitably let down, lolling in the fecund source of American musical tradition.

 

Roots Music Report

Carolina guitarist/vocalist S.D. Ineson is a quite engaging songwriter.  And, with the assistance of tasty, diverse roots instrumentation provided by his very capable bandmates, his songs are at the center of a most appealing Americana/jam band mix.  “American Radio” definitely deserves to see the light of airplay day.  The title track, with its decided aural nod to The Band, also stands out, as do “Blue Guitar” and “Mama Lou”.   FIVE STARS!

Americana Music Show

Heartfelt, funky, and just a little bit trippy in the spirit of Donna The Buffalo. That’s how I’d describe the Milagro Saints’ latest release, Chance & Circumstance. These veterans of the roots music scene have transcended the alt.country crowd they sprang from into band that creates Americana that’s deceptively modern. Whether it’s the mandolin riffs setting a easy going roll or a well timed accordion riff at just the right moment, they know how to pay homage to traditional music without being limited by it. Highlight tracks for me are “Morning Song,” “Evangelyne,” and most of all “Pennsylvania Rose.”

The Independent Weekly

Slow-burning folk rock and time-steeled lyrical contentment shape the 10 tracks of Warm Soul Sunshine, the fourth album by Raleigh's Milagro Saints. This shouldn't come as a surprise, as the Raleigh staple has long built its peaceful, aging-into-wisdom reflections above suiting beds of polished rusticity, redolent of its '70s Laurel Canyon progenitors coming home to roost. Warm Soul Sunshine is the band's most self-assured platter yet, though, with S.D. Ineson's aphorism-rich songwriting and patient melodies bolstered by the capable playing of a strong supporting cast. But however well-rendered those old tunes and the new ones on Warm Soul Sunshine might be, their familiar roots drift doesn't sound like a band making a second run at fame. It's the young fool's game, right? Rather, they're outlets of Zen and contentment, often-cheerful elixirs of affirmation about appreciating what you've been given while accepting the madness of the surrounding world. Cutting a row between Cat Stevens' robust jangle and Robert Hunter's metaphor-laden words, Warm Soul Sunhine meets its audience in the middle, life experiences distilled into advice and encouragement, all splashed over bright hooks. Pedal steel, piano and the occasional fiddle wash against a steady rhythm section, tempered acoustic guitars generally the ballast of it all. "Chances are, you've got everything you need," sings Ineson during the move-with-the-wind gem "Chances Are," harmonizing with drummer Eduardo Root over subdued organ peals and F.J. Ventre's intricate bass. "Never accept anything beyond this bliss—of being alive." Ineson understates almost all of his lyrics, giving the band space to shape the mood around them. But on that last bit—"of being alive"—he finally lets loose, belting the line, singing in celebration. From someone who still seems inspired to find himself surrounded by a band this competent, it's a fitting, subtly poignant idea.

Americana U.K.

This album is a grower

Whiperin' n' Hollerin' Irish music review site

Classic Americana-all the way

Toxic Pete, UK online review site

Milagro Saints are a five-piece folk rock outfit from Raleigh, North Carolina; their blend of sweet country folk put me straight away in mind of Grateful Dead, The Byrds and Neil Young. Bright, contemporary and 'cultishly' commercial 'Warmsoulsunshine' is rich, warm, exciting and extremely fulfilling. Milagro Saints keep it cool and relaxed but manage to conjure up a real blissful and exciting sound that seamlessly blends all the subtle nuances of nu-country with all the graceful undercurrents of acoustic folk; theirs is a masterful variety of the form, lovingly conceived, stunningly performed and seriously contagious. Their respectful melding of acoustic and electric sounds is quite brilliant and sublime vocal harmonisation adds real depth and tenderness to the mix. There are eleven great Milagro Saints originals here and one impressive cover of Van Morrison's 'And It Stoned Me' - bountiful indeed!! Milagro Saints also 'splice' in some really heavenly keyboard work that lifts and decorates the underlying instrumentation. Mixing old with new, traditional with contemporary, Milagro Saints have concocted a wonderfully vibrant but somehow mellow and expressive sound; layering fiddle onto organ, blending electric with acoustic guitars, carefully slotting in soaring lap steel and crying slide guitars, harmonica, clarinet, didjeridoo and much more, Milagro Saints fill the 'dynamics' pot to overflowing - but nothing spills out, nothing is wasted and not one instrument is even faintly superfluous to the requirements of the overall mix - totally spot-on!! Milagro Saints' 'Warmsoulsunshine' is modern country folk music at its absolute best; twelve brilliant tracks adding up to one mighty fine and very impressive album - brilliantly conceived, stunningly crafted, faultless execution, flawless production - altogether, a quite stunning album!!

Leicester Bangs Music Review website, England.

Milagro Saints - WarmSoulSunshine (Moon Caravan) Just to set the right tone, WarmSoulSunshine was recorded live in the studio on Bob Dylan’s birthday (May 24th, 2008). Those good Zimmerman vibes obviously had the proper effect, as the Milagro Saints latest long player taps seamlessly into the 1970 West Coast vibe, characterised by artists like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Gene Clark, the Grateful Dead, and the birthday boy, himself. The band, led by transplanted Englishmen SD Ineson (formerly of The Jack Rubies), mix up their folk, rock and country in much the same way as their influences did, with a lyrical emphasis on the ideals of the ‘60s generation and with plenty of hooks to hang the message on. With its live production, too few harmonies and Ineson’s slightly fragile, Garcia-like vocal style, Workingman’s Dead is the most immediate comparison, but that’s a great album, and certainly WarmSoulSunshine provides some equally thrilling moments. The opening cut, “Come On Down (New Found Land)”, is one of them, a piano propelled paean to love, peace and new beginnings. The title track, with it’s Hammond and harmonies, is pure cosmic country rock, perfect for long summer days, and dismal winter ones, too, come to that.

Boston Herald

Soul-folk pioneers Milagro Saints open and just might steal the show. Tomorrow at Boardinghouse Park, Lowell

News and Observer

Milagro Saints strike a note of Majesty with "Child Of Peace"

Roots Music Report

A set that grabs the ear quickly and serves up some instantly memorable tracks.

(5 Stars)