Music News

Tobie Milford Explains "Tiny Eucatastrophes" (VIDEOS)

Check out this week's issue of Phoenix New Times for a feature on a guy many call one of the most talented young musicians in the Valley, indie singer/songwriter/violinist Tobie Milford. Milford performs with band The Whisperlights, but when he takes the stage at Scottsdale's The Rogue Bar this Saturday, August 20, he'll be performing solo.

The Rogue is a special place for Milford, who has established a rapport with audiences there before, including the night he and percussionist Henri Benard performed this track, "Tiny Eucatastrophes". The live song was mixed and mastered by Travis Engler, and you can listen to it yourself for a peek of what's to come this weekend after the jump. Milford also explained what inspired his writing of the track, as well as gave fans a peek at the lyrics. Plus, check out some videos from Milford's recent performance at Modified Arts.

Milford says: "A 'eucatastrophe' is an sudden turn of events in which there is a dramatic, unforeseen reversal from hardship, pain, and loss to joy, thanksgiving, and happiness...hence the 'eu,' which means 'good', as in 'euphoria,' 'eulogy,' etc. Oftentimes the very circumstances which produce the hardship create the conditions for the happy outcome. For example, as a Christian, I believe the death and resurrection of Christ is the ultimate eucatastrophe: sudden, surreal joy and victory in the face of profound loss and grief.

What's poignant to me is how this theme has played out in my personal life as I've undergone two huge personal losses in the time since the song was written: the death of my mother and the loss of relationship with a woman I loved quite a lot. In both cases, there were ultimately very positive things that emerged out of those circumstances that couldn't have happened otherwise. In the loss of my mom, there was a lot of reconciliation and closure. In the case of the breakup, we ultimately got back together and had a much stronger relationship as a result of our individual growth during the separation...and now we're engaged. I still can't believe how things worked out.

Lyrically, this song is the one I'm proudest of, because I'm not even quite sure where it all came from and yet it seems somehow coherent. Like my song 'Death!,' it uses imagery instead of straightforward storytelling to convey a sense of narrative and meaning, and I think when you write lyrics that are a little vague and yet still have that story element, it creates an opportunity for the listener to bring to the table specifics from his or her own life, which allows them to claim the story as their own.

I would love to hear what people take away from this song as, again, the lyrics are fairly open and I have no idea how they might be interpreted. The recording itself serves as a showcase for my favorite Phoenix drummer, Dry River Yacht Club's Henri Benard. He not only plays in time with my off-kilter loops but also brings so much kinetic energy to these formerly mellow songs of mine. It's been truly great having him on board for shows this past year. Also I think it's a great example of some of the great engineering talent we have in town; Rogue Bar's Travis Engler recorded and mixed this during a set we played there, and I think it sounds pretty great."


Broken leaves, dead flowers, fill me up inside
You know where I'm going, so I will not try to hide
You've got secrets you've got wisdom I've got some lies
There's beauty in your composition poetic demise

Imagination thinking thoughts while particles collide
One from a dying ember, the other from a bride
She blew a wedding kiss and missed the candle on the cake
The wind the spark met in the dark before the day parade

You have no idea how wonderful you really are
I'd tell you but I get distracted chasing dying stars
I did what you said to do but it didn't work
So I wrote a song for you, so I wrote a song

The fools that you will bear
The fruits that you will bear

If words are tools, it is true I'm a crappy carpenter
I've built houses made of sticks and glue
Through tiny eucatastrophes my subjectivist tendencies are overcome
and I ascend the stair

The fools that you will bear
The fools that you will bear

Tobie Milford with Henri Benard, "Tiny Eucatastrophes" (live at Rogue Bar) by nicoole16

Follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nicki Escudero
Contact: Nicki Escudero