Scott Miller is a musician, but not the musician already discussed in this node. The Scott Miller, I'm talking about was born in the small town of Slope, VA to a southern
mother and a Dutch
father from Pennsylvania
. This dynamic between the two sides of his family would influence Miller's songwriting.
While in school at home Miller learned how to play his brother's guitar with a chord book from Reader's digest. Also during this time he read a lot about the Civil War and this influence would loom large in his first solo project.
Scott Miller went to the College of William and Mary and studied Russian literature and American history. By his own account he claims to have been somewhat of a recluse at school. After he finished studying, he moved to Knoxville, TN in 1990 and worked in construction while he was playing as a solo acoustic artist in local clubs.
In 1994, Miller formed the V-Roys with several other local musicians. They produced their debut album "Just Add Ice" in 1996. The V-Roys twangy Americana sound was noticed by Steve Earle who quickly signed the band to his label and produced the band's follow up "All About Town".
Following the second album, Miller decided to strike out on his own and in 2000 he self-published a live acoustic album "Are You With Me?" The title was taken from Miller's often-asked stage question to the audience, "Are you with me?" When asked about this habit and the worst response he ever received, he said, "Silence. I was playing a country fair in Green Bay and I asked it - once. And that was enough. It breaks the rules to ask the audience a question anyway - because they might answer."
He then followed it up with a 2001 studio album called "Thus Always to Tyrants," where he was backed by a band he put together called the Commonwealth. This studio album took its name from the Virginia state motto, Sic semper tyrannis. It was aptly titled. Half the album's songs are either implicitly or explicitly about Virginia.
Scott Miller then followed up "Thus Always to Tyrants" with "Upside Downside" in 2003. "Upside Downside" is an album that is meant to play like an album even though it's a cd. It has an "upside" and a "downside" or side 1 and side 2. Also the upside has the majority of the records up-tempo songs while the downside has the quieter material.
He's a great live show - he can kick ass one song and then play very effecting quieter material. So if you like Son Volt, Paul Westerberg, Ryan Adams or Steve Earle, you will like Scott Miller.
I got to meet him when he was in Pittsburgh playing the festival run by the radio station at which I volunteer. I was working as a roadie of sorts and he was very appreciative of my helping carry things around. When I tried to carry an enormous piece of equipment he told me to wait for the dolly that would be coming, because he said, "That will stain your milk." I forgot to ask him what exactly that meant or where it came from. If anyone knows the answer give me a /msg.
No Depression July/Aug 2003
"World Cafe" Concert Taping and
All Music Guide