Contemporary jazz-grass band MilkDrive features award-winning instrumentalists Brian Beken on fiddle and lead vocals, Noah Jeffries on guitar and harmony vocals, Dennis Ludiker on mandolin and harmony vocals, and Matt Mefford on double bass. But awards reveal nothing about the Austin string band’s exhilarating sound. Fueled by equal parts tradition and innovation, MilkDrive delivers a distinctive acoustic experience that crosses genres, geographies, and generations.
Dennis Ludiker, Brian Beken and Noah Jeffries met as youngsters competing in the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho. Eventually they migrated to Austin, where they toured with an eclectic mix of bands and honed their songwriting chops before joining up with bass player extraordinaire Matt Mefford and forming MilkDrive.
Andrew Dansby of the Houston Chronicle calls the MilkDrive repertoire “a virtuosic blast of bluegrassy string-band music.” With labels that range from jamgrass and nu-folk to redneck gypsy jazz, the band has built a following that’s as funky and friendly as they are. The group plays festivals from coast to coast every year, with stops in between at Colorado’s beloved RockyGrass Festival and at home at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.