Milton Mapes: “Maybe You’re Here, Maybe You’re Not”

Photo by Stevan Alcala

Austin’s Milton Mapes named itself after singer/guitarist Greg Vanderpool’s grandfather, but it just as easily sounds like a character from some lost Western epic. The band’s music is just as western, country-adjacent and shot through with splashes of spiky electric guitar. Milton Mapes formed in 1999 and released several critically-acclaimed albums before morphing into Monahans, which steered hard into even more cinematic territory.

After ten years away from Milton Mapes, the band is reuniting with a show tomorrow night at the Continental Club, and this is as good a time as any to revisit the group’s underrated music. The sparse desert-rock of 2003’s Westernaire made Robert Plant a fan, and for good reason. On the record, Milton Mapes deals directly, hard eyes peering at the horizon. “Maybe You’re Here, Maybe You’re Not” opens with a gunshot of a snare drum, and the band is off and galloping, echoing the raggedness of Neil Young and Tom Petty all the way.

“Maybe You’re Here, Maybe You’re Not” appears on Westernaire, out now. Greg Vanderpool hosts My KUTX on Saturday, July 30 at 6 p.m., and Milton Mapes plays the Continental Club later that night.

–Art Levy

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