Scott Severin & The Milton Burlesque

Posted by angienorman on Fri, 02/11/2011 - 2:14am


Scott Severin redefines eclectic. Born "sometime during the Kennedy administration," this songwriter/performance artist has been a folkie, punk rocker, actor, street performer, and published poet. Although his musical style could nominally be defined as Indie-Rock, he manages to encompass and eviscerate musical styles from Country & Western, Americana, traditional Rock & Roll, Blues, Folk, and Tom Waits-like mock opera. The only thing easily definable about Scott Severin’s sound is that it is truly original and challenging.


Scott has recorded and released his debut album, Unknown Rider, and returned to live performance in 2005 after a 10-year absence from the stage, caused by, he says, "a really bad cold." Recorded in the town of Kingston, New York, Unknown Rider was produced and mastered by the legendary producer and musician Steve Burgh, who passed away tragically a few months after completing the album.

Unknown Rider has received rave reviews from the Omaha Music Community:

Lest you get the wrong idea, the Milton Burlesque has nothing to with “Mr. Television” or Dita Von Teese. However, Scott Severin, one of Omaha’s most-cherished transplants, and his cleverly named ensemble (comprised of drummer Marco Rossetti, bassist Pfloyd and ax-man Tim Ranard) manage to excite, even without the corsets and stockings. Severin’s sound is hard to categorize, with elements of rock, alternative, blues and Americana threaded by ’70s inspired vocals that are parts Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and Iggy Pop. It’s a unique vocal delivery that elicits wanderlust. 
— Sarah WengertThe Reader

Last up was the four-piece band Perry H. Matthews (by the way, which one's Pink?), but by then, I was getting tired of all the noise. Matthews also plays post-punk but with an even more abrasive, atonal style and glaring vocals that cut like shards of glass. I turned to the drinker and said, "I'm going down to Barley St. to catch Scott Severin." He replied, "I see. I guess you want to hear some real music."

It's always been a matter of bad timing that I've never caught a full set of Severin and his band, The Milton Burlesque. In all honesty, I've never cared for Severin's recorded music. But I found out that Severin is a much different animal on stage than on those recordings, thanks in part to a super-tight band of seasoned pro's who know every turn, every lick of Severin's old-school, NYC-flavored rock. For that evening, The Barley Street was transformed into a Brooklyn lounge because of Severin's knack for showmanship, something that has been long dead in the indie world. Most of the slumped-shouldered bands I see at TWR or Slowdown stumble on stage in their T-shirts and jeans and then start playing their janglepop, rarely acknowledging the crowd other than to say "We got one more." They leave the stage and you wonder if they're coming back, until the lights comes up and everyone turns to leave.

Severin, on the other hand, commands a room as if he knows and loves everyone there (and considering there were only 20 people in the bar, he very well might have). Vocally, he commits a slight twang that reminds me of John Hiatt, a rocking singer/songwriter that his sound resembles. There were a couple times when his music caught a more progressive groove, including one tune with a repeated outro that seemed to (pleasantly) go on and on. His music is urban but not gritty, almost traditional in its style, a far cry from indie or punk, but still entertaining. The best part was how he ended the evening: While the band continued to play a rendition of "On Broadway," Severin set his guitar down and picked up a jacket and slung it over his shoulder. He introduced the band -- member-by-member -- then asked for a cigarette and a light, leaned forward into the microphone and thanked the audience before leaving the stage while the band played on. It was a New York thing or a cabaret thing, and it was great. It was entertaining. And in an era when so many seem to have lost sight of what that word means, it was a welcome oddity.
---Tim McMahonLazy-I


“Song by song, Unknown Rider reads like an exposed journal that doesn’t require a rainy day to finish, but inspires an overcast sentiment, with redemption just on the horizon. Think Kerouac with a six string.”
---Andy NormanThe Reader

“Severin’s encyclopedic knowledge of pop music also sets him apart from most contemporary musicians. This is an album that serious music fans will be able to appreciate. Severin has added bark to the historic tree where rock music is an interactive art form rather than some passive fashion accessory.”
---Rick GalushaPacific Street Blues

After being a lifelong New Yorker, Scott relocated to Nebraska in 2005, “to clear his head.” Since moving to Omaha he has established himself as one of the best “new” songwriters and performers in town, earning the praise and respect of his peers and an ever-growing fan base.

The Scott Severin Band recently recorded a new song “Xmas B & E”, which was included on a Omaha produced CD, Homeless For The Holidays---A Twisted Tale. A benefit for the Omaha Battered Women’s Shelter, this CD, also includes new recordings from local Omaha bands Anonymous American, Shinyville, Vago, Kill Bosby, Icarus, and several others. The song “Xmas B & E” also includes special guest appearances by Matt Whipkey from Anonymous American, as well as Sarah Benck and Jason Ferguson from Sarah Benck & The Robbers. The was released on November 1st, 2006

Both as a solo artist and with his band, Scott has performed numerous times at The Sokol Underground, Mick’s Music & Bar, O’leaver’s, and virtually every other musical venue in Omaha and Lincoln. Scott’s temporary exile to Nebraska may prove permanent with the birth of his first child late in 2005. On the horizon are a new CD (in the pre-production and writing stages, and tentatively titled Nebraskan Exile), more shows, and a regional or national tour.

Scott’s new band, The Milton Burlesque, is a cast of seasoned Omaha music scene veterans. Drummer Gary Foster, Bassist Pfloyd, and Guitarist Tim Ranard round out this new ensemble, which began performing together in the winter of 2006. The Milton Burlesque are now recording a new cd, "Birdhouse Obbligato" was released June 1st, 2010. This cd  was produced by Joel Peterson of The Faint, and features the keyboard wizardry of noted Film Soundtrack composer Joe Delia.