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Farm, weather be damned, Miller plays on

Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass., January 22, 2014

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Scott Miller said after the show that this was not the best time for him to be touring. The alt.-country musician, who was once a member of The V-Roys before embarking on a solo career and leading his own bands over the years, maybe should have been back home in Staunton, Va. tending to his 70-head of cattle, 200-acre home. Not to mention the brittle, cold temperatures in the Boston area on a January night.

Timing be damned because Miller has a few things going for him - he writes really good songs for starters. That was evident from the start with "I Made a Mess of This Town." There is a bit of an erudite factor about Miller with smart, sometimes historically-based songs. One mentioned Ivan the Terrible, not a typical lyrical topic. He also evoked religious imagery in several songs.

Miller had a penchant for changing directions, sometimes simply by playing faster and/or increasing the volume, but only fleetingly because he often would bring the tempo back down. Miller had a knack for pushing the material in the right direction.

Miller also has a warm stage presence, telling a smile inducing story about while in alcohol rehab at a hospital and hearing one of his songs being played in music therapy.

Engaging with the audience, Miller eschewed a rigidity to his set list by taking in a number of requests from the crowd, including "Dear Sarah," yet another well put-together song.

There may have been reasons not venture north, but Miller, fortunately, decided, otherwise.

Area resident Daniel Miller opened with a solid half-hour set. He has a few things in common with the headliner. Miller's from Knoxville, Tenn. where The V-Roys were from, but more importantly he has a penchant for writing real good songs ("Pigtails").

Miller has a full-sounding voice that tends to belie his big-bearded, burly looks on songs

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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