The Chicken Wing Sessions EP

by The Milkweeds

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The Chicken Wing Sessions

What you are about to download is a brief collection of recordings (an EP, if you will) that we made over the last several months. The point of us making these recordings was twofold:

First, while Michael has been in the band for about a year now, we had not yet recorded with drums, and we figured it was probably a good idea to try it out before we started recording our next full-length album. Recording drums is an art form unto itself involving a great deal of knowledge about drums and sound, tedious and exact placement of specific microphones, a whole lot of trial and error, and a finely tuned ear for EQ, compression, reverb and the like. Recording engineers spend years of their lives honing their drum engineering and recording skills, and it is not uncommon for an engineer and a drummer to spend hours – if not days – in the studio perfecting the recorded sound of each individual drum and cymbal on the kit before the rest of the band comes in to record.

Let us be clear: We did not do this.

Instead, we set some microphones up around the kit, recorded, listened, changed cymbals, swapped snares, moved microphones, recorded again, listened, etc. We got something that sounded like we wanted it to sound, and then we recorded. This took about twenty-five minutes over the course of two recording sessions. We’re certainly not experts, but we’re better at it now than we used to be. Mission accomplished.

The second reason that we made these recordings is that over the years there have been a few of our original songs that always sort of sounded to us like they should have drums but – as we didn’t have a drummer in the band – didn’t. Rather than set them aside until the day that we managed to find a drummer that fit the band, we arranged and recorded them for the Milkweeds without drums. We love our drumless versions of those songs, but we always wondered about what could have been. After Michael joined the band, we started playing several of the songs live, and we decided that this set of recordings would be the perfect opportunity to rerecord some of them with drums.

So what’s with the name? The Chicken Wing Sessions? Well, the very first night we set up in Kurt’s basement to record, Tom didn’t have time to have dinner so he picked up some chicken wings on the way to practice, and being a standup guy and solid bandmate, he brought enough to share. As the night progressed, we realized that we liked eating chicken wings about as much as we liked playing music and decided that one band member would be responsible for bringing wings to practice each week. This tradition continued throughout the entire recording process, and with the exception of an overdub here and there, these chicken wings played a role in every note on every song on this EP.

[01] Honest Abe (Malboeuf)
John – acoustic guitar, lead vocal
Kurt – keyboard
Michael – drums
Tom – electric guitar, backing vocal
Travis – bass, backing vocal, lyrical commentary

“Honest Abe” was originally released in its drumless (and three-piece Milkweeds) glory on our 2009 album Break My Heart. We recorded this version live in Kurt’s basement on May 16, 2012. It was take three. The chicken wings were from Shifty’s. The backing vocals were recorded in Travis’s basement on July 31, 2012. The chicken wings were from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. A minor bass overdub was recorded on August 4, 2012 in Travis’s basement. There were no wings, however, which made John & Travis sad.

[02] Not So Sweet (Baron)
Tom – acoustic & electric guitars, lead & backing vocals
John – bass
Kurt – mandolin
Michael – drums
Travis – keyboard

“Not So Sweet” appears in its drumless form on our 2011 album Cowboy For You. For this new version, the acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard were recorded live in Travis’s basement on July 23, 2012. It is unique on the EP as this is the sixth recording take. The chicken wings were from Dorian’s. Electric guitars were overdubbed on July 31, 2012 in Travis’s basement. The chicken wings were from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Tom recorded lead and backing vocals and the acoustic guitar on the bridge in Travis's basement on August 12, and Kurt overdubbed the mandolin in his basement on August 15. These overdub sessions were wingless.

[03] I Will Dare (Westerberg)
Kurt – electric guitar, lead vocal
John – bass
Michael – drums
Tom – mandolin
Travis – acoustic guitar

“I Will Dare” was written by Paul Westerberg and appears on the 1984 Replacements album Let It Be. The Milkweeds version was recorded live on May 23, 2012 in Kurt’s basement. This, too, was a third take. The wings were from Avicolli’s. There is a super-minor bass overdub that was winglessly recorded on July 10, 2012 in Kurt’s basement.

[04] The Ballad Of Evel Knievel (Vande Berg)
Travis – acoustic guitar, keyboard, lead vocal
John – bass
Kurt – electric guitar
Michael – drums
Tom – electric guitar

A no-drums “The Ballad Of Evel Knievel” was released on our 2011 album Cowboy For You. The acoustic guitar, electric guitars, and drums were recorded live in Kurt’s basement on May 23, 2012. Strangely, it is also a third take. The wings were from Avicolli’s. The bass was overdubbed on July 10, 2012 in Kurt’s basement while the lead vocal and keyboard were recorded in Travis’s basement on August 7, 2012. One final guitar overdub was done in Kurt's basement on August 10, 2012. No wings were present for any of the overdub session.

[05] Mason Jar (Lohr)
Kurt – acoustic guitar, lead vocal
John – bass
Michael – drums
Tom – electric guitars
Travis –keyboard

The drumless version of “Mason Jar” can be found on our 2011 album Cowboy For You. This is a live band recording done in Kurt’s basement on May 16, 2012 (another third take!). The chicken wings were from Shifty’s. The electric guitar embellishments panned to the extreme left and right were overdubbed on July 31, 2012 in Travis’s basement. These chicken wings were from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

[06] Folsom Prison Blues (Cash)
Travis – acoustic guitar, lead vocal, in-song banter
John – bass
Kurt – lapsteel guitar
Michael – drums
Tom – electric guitar, in-song banter

“Folsom Prison Blues” is a Johnny Cash song first released as a single (Sun 232) on December 15, 1955. This Milkweeds version was recorded live as part of a level check at the beginning of the May 23, 2012 recording session in Kurt’s basement. It was yet another third take. The wings were from Avicolli’s (Kurt). Kurt overdubed a little lap steel guitar in his basement on July 12, 2012. No wings.

Recorded May 16 & 23, July 10, and August 10 & 12 in Kurt Lohr’s basement in Liverpool, NY
July 23 & 31 and August 4, 7 & 12 in Travis Vande Berg’s basement in Syracuse, NY.

Recorded & Engineered by Kurt Lohr & Travis Vande Berg.
Mixed August 3 – August 18, 2012 by Travis Vande Berg.

Produced by The Milkweeds.

Cover Photo & Design by Mike Rae

The Milkweeds are…
Tom Baron (acoustic guitar, mandolin, electric guitar, vocals)
Michael Ebner (drums)
Kurt Lohr (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lapsteel guitar, mandolin, keyboard, vocals)
John Malboeuf (acoustic guitar, bass, vocals)
Travis Vande Berg (acoustic guitar, keyboards, bass, vocals)

Chicken wings by…
Avicolli’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, 7839 Oswego Road, Liverpool, NY 13090
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 246 West Willow Street, Syracuse, NY 13202
Dorian’s Pizza & Deli, 534 Westcott Street, Syracuse, NY 13210
Shifty’s, 1401 Burnet Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13206

Thanks to our families, friends, and fans.

Special thanks to John Craddock for the gear.


released September 1, 2012



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The Milkweeds Syracuse, New York

Est: 2007

Tom Baron – guitar, mandolin, banjo, lead & backing vocals

Michael Ebner – drums

Kurt Lohr – guitar, lap steel, accordion, mandolin, bass, keyboard, banjo, ukulele, lead & backing vocals

John Malboeuf – bass, harmonica, guitar, lead & backing vocals

Former Member (2007-2016): Travis Vande Berg – guitar, keyboard, lap steel, banjo, bass, lead & backing vocals
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