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Malford Milligan was born in Taylor, Texas, to Frank and Mary Milligan. In 1981, after a period as a sociology student at Texas Tech University, Milligan moved to Austin to begin studies at the University of Texas. Instead, his Monday night blues jams became the beginning of a life in music. His local band, the Stick People, launched his career as a talented singer.
In 1994, he helped form the Texas supergroup, Storyville, with David Holt, David Grissom, and the rhythm section from Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble, which included bassist Tommy Shannon, and drummer Chris Layton. As a session singer, Milligan was in great demand. He toured and worked on albums together with other outstanding musicians, including Hal Ketchum, Marcia Ball, Alejandro Escovedo, Sue Foley, Eric Johnson and Chris Smither. During this period he also expanded his horizons from strictly secular music, privately releasing the two benefit albums, The Gospel According to Austin and The Gospel According to Austin, Vol. 2.
In 2002 Milligan recorded and released the critically acclaimed Sweet Cherry Soul album, backed by a band from The Netherlands that was put together by Milligan's friend and Dutch musician/producer Jack Hustinx. The album contains original material written by Milligan & Hustinx as well as a blend of known and obscure Soul, Rhythm & Blues and Gospel classics. Also two songs written by Milligan's close friend Stephen Bruton were included. This band, The Malford Milligan Band, played three very successful tours in The Netherlands in 2002-2003, as well as a tour in and around Milligan's hometown Austin, Texas in 2003.
After these tours Jack Hustinx and three other core-members of this backing-band started their own career as the Shiner Twins, becoming a highly respected Americana-outfit in their native country, releasing three successful and critically acclaimed CDs: All In Store (2006), Southern Belles (2008) and Four Souls - One Heart (2011). On this last album Milligan and his former band-members joined forces again, on two tracks in which Milligan was featured as guest-vocalist.
Milligan also fronted Randy Jacobs' band the Boneshakers in 2001-2003. He left the Boneshakers to form his own group in Austin, also called the Malford Milligan Band, which released Rides Again... on the Varese Sarabande label in 2006.
In 2008/2009, he was touring with Greg Koch, a multifaceted electric guitarist capable of fluently playing a gamut of musical styles. Together they formed a band called Nation Sack — drawing their name from the lyrics of a Robert Johnson song entitled "Come On in My Kitchen" — who released an album under the same name in 2009 which includes a blending of electric blues and rock styles. When performing live, Nation Sack is known to cover songs from Jeff Beck and Led Zeppelin, such as "Hi-Ho Silver Lining," "Rock and Roll," and excerpts from such classic tracks as "Dazed and Confused" and "Heartbreaker."
Currently, Malford has moved back to Austin and started getting back into the music scene there. An early highlight of his return to Austin was his appearance (along with David Grissom) at Antone's for Blue Tuesday on 20 October 2009. The last two songs performed at this were "Change is Gonna Come" which appeared on Storyville's first album and "What Passes for Love" from Storyville's second album.
He can be heard on the Eric Johnson album Up Close released in 2010 singing "Brilliant Room". He appeared on The Voice NBC TV series on September 30, 2013. He sang Al Green's "Let's Stay Together". He wasn't picked by any of the judges.
In 2015, Malford is going to release an album with a new band, Big Cat.