In some ways you could call Alex Miller a walking contradiction. His baritone is a bit of a surprise when people hear it coming from a baby-faced guy standing 6'6". He's a very young country singer whose heart is in traditional country. And when he got career advice at 17 from a current-day country star, Luke Bryan on American Idol, Miller decided to stick to his country roots.
"Country," a five-song EP, leaves no doubt that Miller's heart is in...well...country. From western swing to traditional to cutting edge country (Miller's words), it all on display here, featuring top-notch studio musicians and Jerry Salley's crisp production. Salley co-wrote four of the songs here and Miller co-wrote three.
"Girl, I Know a Guy" is about a guy who'll be there if she ever changes her mind about staying single and fancy-free. A banjo intro gets the toes tappin' as the singer builds his case: "Want to know what love feels like? Girl, I know a guy."
"When God Made the South" is an uptempo tune with a clever lyric that's rich with feel-good southern imagery. Barbeques and back woods, the smell of jasmine floating through the pines, grits and gravy...after He made all this, God said it's all good.
"Every Time I Reach for You" is a flat-out great country ballad with an inventive lyric. Fiddle and steel open the song, in which the singer admits, "Every time I reach for you, I grab the bottle" because since she's gone that all he has left to hold onto. It's hard to understand how someone so young can create this type of ballad filled with loss and emotion.
"Puttin' Up Hay" is a sassy, fast-paced tune with overtones of Dierks Bentley's "What Was I Thinkin'." The singer recalls his first summer job, working on a farm, where he couldn't keep his eyes off the farmer's sexy daughter Daisey Bell. It was impossible to ignore her cutoff jeans and red pigtails while he was at work "puttin' up hay." Working in the barn was hot, as is the fiddle and electric guitar work on this
"Gettin' Lucky in Kentucky" is the Texas Swing entry here. It's a happy-go-lucky fast tune with a touch of George Strait and a literal shout-out to Bob Wills. The singer's friends at bingo, poker and the race track don't see much of him these days, since he hit it lucky with his new love.
Alex Miller may be a walking contradiction in some ways, but when it comes to creating music, there's no two ways about it: he's country.