Milton Mapes has since evolved into a complete band (with the addition of Britton Beisenherz, Chris Dye, and Jim Fredley), honing in closer on an atmospheric revival of Young’s Crazy Horse or Bob Dylan’s electric conversion. While maintaining its roots under layered guitars and textures, the band knows the power of understatement—often allowing the quiet moments of a song to shine as brightly as the loud ones.
The band released Westernaire (Aspyr Media) in 2003, reflecting this migration with a heavy dose of guitar-oriented songs. Sounding much less “country” than the title might suggest, Westernaire explores themes of ‘the unknown’, love, and alcohol—painting with rock-and-roll a hazy landscape that holds more questions than answers.
The band has toured through much of the United States since the recording of Westernaire. Appearing both as a duo and with a full band, Milton Mapes continues to introduce itself to new audiences with a personal and diverse set of live performances. The group has shared bills with an assortment of its respected Texas contemporaries and touring acts (such as Magnolia Electric Co., Cowboy Junkies, Chris Whitley, Willie Nelson, and The Handsome Family).
Milton Mapes released its third album, The Blacklight Trap, on March 8, 2005 on the Undertow label, touring in support of the album throughout much of the Spring and Summer.
The Blacklight Trap was released in Europe on Decor Records in October 2005. The band also released an EP collection of B-Sides and Outtakes from The Blacklight Trap entitled Shady Valleys in late 2005.