Sometimes you just know. It didn't take more than one listen to Kids These Days to convince me. Chris Milam's voice rides the edge of John Denver's, the very slight tremelo embellishing a song which could easily have been a hit in any of the decades since Denver dominated radio and TV in the seventies. And, sure, it is somewhat of an anomaly, but Milam is not one to cop another person's sound or aura. It just so happened that the voice (and song) has that sound, nothing more. I mean, others might be happy to sound like everyone else---God knows there are enough in the tribute and vocal competition game who are trying to do that--- but Milam has the music in him and he takes it wherever it happens to go.
He is more upbeat than Denver which turns out to be a good thing. After Kids he bounces from one to another of his originals, each written and performed to semi-perfection, or so I think. (Semi- only because perfection is unattainable) There is magic in the grooves here--- All Of Our Ghosts a mid-tempo ballad of sorts, helped along with what sounds like string ensemble; Autumn a slow-rocking tour de force of emotion and voice; Tell Me Something I Don't Know a march-tempo rocker; and an album-ender of which John Denver would have been proud--- At the End of the Day--- a soaring and all-too-short piece (1:23) which wraps up a very impressive collection of songs.
It is not just the voice, though Milam has one of the better voices I've heard in some time. It is the heart. You don't write music like this without one and judging from the quality of the songs his is a good one. Love, life, heartbreak, wonder are all topics he touches upon and very well indeed.
Look, I debated whether to even mention Denver. So many of us old fogies are so staid in our ways that we hardly even notice him these days except for the most hardcore fans. But Denver was a good guy and talented as hell, whether you like his music or not. Only time will tell whether Milam meets the requirement for sainthood, but he sure does when it comes to talent.
The album is titled Kids These Days, after the song. I recommend it wholeheartedly if you like mainstream pop/folk/songwriters. Hell, I even recommend it if you don't.
Added bonus--- this is one beautifully produced album. Worth it for that alone. Seriously.