A former member of The V-Roys and erstwhile leader of the combo he dubs the Commonwealth, Scott Miller has always shown a remarkable gift for exploring the complexities of everyday emotions, undeterred by the troubles and travails that engulf ordinary folks caught up in the complexities of the modern world. That's an auspicious statement, one that admittedly veers towards hyperbole, and yet, one need only sample a song like How Am I Ever Gonna Be Me? from Miller's powerful new album, "Big Big World," to fully appreciate the eloquence in his execution.
As he's done so often before, Miller ponders the various roles that he himself so frequently plays - that of son, family farmer and determined troubadour - while commenting on the daily hurdles that those responsibilities bring. The troubling "Cold War Veterans," for example, speaks to the malaise that infests the modern world, an admittedly screwed up situation made all that much worse by our bumbling politicians. (Can anyone say, "government shutdown?") It's telling too that even though Miller's southern sensibility evokes its inherent charms, "Big Big World" doesn't simply pander to stereotypical cliches. Songs like "I Gave You The Power" and the title track's boast bluesier designs, providing the album with rougher, rugged edges that play off the tender sentiments expressed in "I Can't Go Back To Her Love Anymore" and "Goin' Home." It's telling too that the latter tune, told from the perspective of a prodigal son, easily qualifies as the one of the most sobering songs Miller's ever written.
In the end, "Big Big World" signals another major step forward for an artist deserving of greater glories. An equal blend of humility and humanity in equal measure, it resonates in a big, big way.