Milly Raccoon Evokes Patsy Cline On 'The Fine Art of Takin' It Slow'


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(Fanatic) Milly Raccoon finds inspiration in Patsy Cline on "The Fine Art of Takin' It Slow," the opening track on the upcoming album Frankincense and Myrrh, arriving July 7.

Milly's take on Nashville - the Nashville of now where messages of spirituality and liberation are more vital than ever - is all over Frankincense and Myrrh where Milly also delivers songs with a gauzy, dream-like, and poignant touch that evokes Nora Jones and Iris DeMent.

Milly Raccoon stands, fiddle in hand, on the shoulders of Patsy Cline, not only as an inspiration but also for the grounded emotional support lent by Patsy's powerful legacy.

Milly's own take on Nashville is all over the upcoming Frankincense and Myrrh, arriving July 7. The album exists in the Nashville of now where messages of spirituality and liberation are more vital than ever. Milly delivers her songs with a gauzy, dream-like, and poignant touch that is so easy on the ears (think Nora Jones or Iris DeMent) that it is easy to forget that Milly is telling us something we need to hear.

They used to beat me up for always
Makin the highest grade
Now they just pretend a smile
and turn the other way

The lyric comes from Frankincense and Myrrh's upcoming single "That Girl I Left Behind Me," in which Milly couples her words with a "melody that traces back to Elizabethan England when it was sung by British soldiers."

The result is a prime example of Milly's ability to weave the stark reality of modern life over historical toe-tappers. Milly's catalog of influences, and experiences in general, is a vast blueprint for the music she makes today.

"I played classical violin as a kid, and I became a big fan of 90s rock and pop, early 20th-century musical theater, traditional Irish music, and zydeco.

Vast, yes. But Milly must have been going with the crowd during those all-important, trying-to-fit-in teen years, right?

"I briefly had a Grateful Dead cover band in high school."

Milly's eclecticism followed her to Seattle after college where she discovered the bluegrass scene.

"After my first tavern bluegrass jam, I was enchanted by the musical style and fellowship. I dove into teaching myself bluegrass fiddle, mandolin, and ukulele."

In addition to busking regularly, Milly tested her burgeoning abilities by performing as often as possible, playing in several bands at a time.

An all-female bluegrass band. A honky tonk band. A band that played Turkish and Egyptian music for a belly dance troupe. An Irish band. A band that played the traditional music of Mexico and South America.

And many more.

"I'd play every bluegrass festival I could, sometimes traveling for days by bus to get to out-of-state gatherings," Milly remembers.

Soon, Milly started writing her own songs.

Encouraged by the approval of the songwriting heroes in her musical community, and after losing two of her closest friends to tragedy, Milly decided that life on the road without a destination was a life that spoke to her.

"I didn't have a home for about a year and a half and just went from town to town, making a living by busking," she says.

Naturally, Milly became a more prolific songwriter during this time.

"Eventually it seemed like the next step was to move to Nashville where I quickly learned that instead of busking, I would have to focus on more structured realms of performance work."

It was a tough adjustment. Milly found that her new peers saw her as "strange and woo-woo," and that the standards of musicianship in Nashville were daunting.

This situation inspired "That Girl I Left Behind Me," the song mentioned previously.

Last night while I lay fast asleep
Everybody I know
Reflected on my shortcomings
And switched from friend to foe

"After that, I even felt bolder about expressing my uncommon-to-Nashville bent," Milly says.

This newfound level of confidence led Milly to Grammy-winning producer Misa Arriaga, known for work with Kasey Musgraves.

"The recording scene in Nashville really opened my eyes to a level of artistry and excellence I never imagined being a part of," Milly says.

The product is Frankincense and Myrrh, which Milly refers to as "an ode to sacred collaborations." The two related plants have been considered a sacred duet since before biblical times."

The record also embodies the ancient process of alchemy.

"For example, turning lead into gold," Milly explains. "Or turning poison into medicine."

She continues, "What do people use heartbreak, challenges, tragedies, difficult emotions, religious experiences, taboo subjects, and other strong feelings for? Making compelling writing, painting, and music. Making an album is an alchemical process."

With such a grounded sense of the magic of music, surely Patsy would be proud to lend Milly her shoulders.

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