Jack donating his drums and Martin guitar to Brian's home studio project is part of a pattern that began many years prior—even before he mailed his 12-string to his brother Jim back in the 70s. The first time this guitar-gifting motif occurred in the family was back in the 60s when Jack and Dad's "Uncle Scotty" Milum left a Harmony guitar at the Ullman house on Wayne Street in Rittman. It was then, before that guitar was ultimately repossessed, that Dad began learning to play.
JIM: [During The Great Depression,] The Milums lived in such unbelievable poverty that half the house didn't even have a floor. It was a dirt floor! My grandpa was a railroad engineer. He worked on the railroad, but they didn't have any money. What we are understanding now, as we look back, what they did have was music.
BRIAN: The Milums had the music. That's where the music came from, and ours is genuine. It's down to the soul.
Family Album is a testament to that legacy; and thanks to the ongoing, intergenerational exchange of musical inspiration from brother-to-brother, The Ullman Boys have persevered. By the time the record was finished, Uncle Jack would himself suffer a heart attack and spend time in the hospital, and of course, we would all be waylaid by the seismic impact of a global pandemic and an intensifying period of social upheaval. Through the carefully selected cover songs, and later with the additions of my tune "How Loved You Are" and Dad and Brian's "Dream Lullaby," The Ullman Boys are singing and playing their way through loss, heartbreak, health crises, life lessons learned, and relearned.
BRIAN: I can't think of another group of brothers of different generations having made a collection of music. They're in their seventies, approaching seventies, and we're in our forties, approaching forties... It's just amazing. During these tremendously hard times against humanity, I just can't believe we're doing it. It's a tremendous victory for hope.
JACK: It tells a little story. I think it says a lot [about] who we are, what we've learned, where we want to go, and the legacy we leave behind. It means a lot to me.
JIM: I see genuine growth, especially letting it be your project and Brian's project. Instead of being a cover band, you guys are actually putting your artistic strokes on it. The crayons are not telling the artist how to paint, and I really appreciate that.
Coming from a family of deaf parents, we know what it was like to live in a house where music was not a part of our lives. You have to live that life to understand it. [Jack and I] did live that life, and this is a reminder to me of how it's all built up to, when I look at you guys and say, "I did have a part in that."
It's nice to see that we got two guys that are gifted, that are carrying it the right way. You're not full of yourselves or any of that stuff. You have genuine, amazing talent that because of where you're at emotionally, physically, and spiritually, a lot more people are going to enjoy what Jack and I have planted and what we've done. And that's quite a legacy.
And the legacy will continue. When I spoke to Dad, Jack, and Brian for this article, they were already psyched about the work they've been doing for "Album III."
JIM: The new stuff that's coming out on the next album is so good. I'm shocked. Shocked!
BRIAN: We plan on doing harder songs.
JIM (to me): And so do you. You just don't know it yet!