Scott Miller blends folk and rock like there ain’t no words for. The power of storytelling with the power of a compressed electric guitar comes through this Virginian not heard since the likes of Wayne Newton (fellow Virginian) or The Statler Brothers (also of the Commonwealth.) Not even since Thomas Jefferson (Virginian) and Woodrow Wilson (another Virginian) formed their rock trio with drummer Stewart Copeland (northern Virginian) “League of Nations”.
Unlike most of the faux-simplified-effete’-elite-Americana/ Alt-Country world, Miller was actually raised on a working farm. His parents were a WWII generation couple that carried on the Spartan lifestyle of their Scots-Irish forefathers. Miller has described the lifestyle as “Amish that drink.”
In 1990, with a lucky-to-get blue blood education from the College of William and Mary, (“I at least learned how to spell ‘bourgeoisie’”), Miller moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he started scraping a living in local bars and clubs. The owner of a now defunct bar called “Hawkeye’s” quickly recognized Miller’s genius and gave him a regular night, where he built a loyal legion of fans and record bar tabs (despite the fact that Miller didn’t drink then…). The marquis outside said “Scott Miller: Every Damn Friday” for four long years, while Miller began touring regionally and building a following.
The next phase found Miller in the roots rock band called the V-roys, the first band signed to Jack Emerson’s (R.I.P.) and Steve Earle’s E-Squared label. His songwriting became more mature. His understanding of the music “biz” (“It ain’t called ‘show-friends.”) became more astute, but his guitar playing remained the ham fisted flat-picking of his youth. He calls them “solos.”
Sugar Hill picked Miller up for his next phase of musical life. Three studio records followed:
THUS ALWAYS TO TYRANTS produced by R.S. Field
UPSIDE/DOWNSIDE produced by Eric Fritsch
CITATION produced by Jim Dickinson
Before recording “Citation”, Miller and the Commonwealth landed a TV gig on the WB Network. “Hell, I got the job as band leader on Jeff Foxworthy’s “Blue Collar TV” show.” Miller recounts, “Suddenly the band and I didn’t have to load up and travel every night, we could walk across from the theatre where it was taped into a 5 star hotel bar, and make great money doing it. I hated it, of course.”
Six years into the deal and now a live record is released: Reconstruction. The band’s live shows are always rocking, and “just as good as any Bay City Roller’s show ever was,” according to Miller. “We’ve been a hard touring band with a show worth the hard earned money of our fans and this was a way of documenting that, if ‘documenting’ is a verb…”
So, why "Reconstruction" as a title? “Well, its not about the south rising again or anything like that.” says Miller, “Anybody that’s seen a city in the south deal with one inch of snow knows THAT ain’t gonna happen!”
“I play solo half the time and I play with the band. I try to write good songs that have some brains to them, and write them well enough that I can go out and play them every night and not get sick of myself. I want what anybody else wants from a means to live: a means to live. And I mean it.”