John R. Miller

REVIEW: John R. Miller “Depreciated”


John R. Miller — Depreciated (Rounder Records)

John R. Miller has a new album out, DepreciatedDepreciated was recorded at the Sound Emporium’s Studio A in Nashville, and co-produced by Justin Francis (Margo Price) and Adam Meisterhans. In addition to Miller, musicians on the album are Adam Meisterhans on guitar, Chloe Edmonstone on fiddle, John Looney on mandolin, Jonathan Bean on bass, Russ Paul on pedal steel, John Clay on drums, and Robbie Crowell on Wurlitzer and Hammond B3.

Miller pens songs about temporality and the passage of time, and the letdown that can happen when the novelty fades, hence the apt title “depreciated.”  So there’s a depth here.  The more you listen to the album with this in mind, the clearer the concept becomes.  It’s not just a collection of songs.  And it’s easy to see why this one made so many year-end favorite albums lists.  The songwriting is fresh and deep, and the music is all Americana style with twang.

“Lookin Over My Shoulder” is bright layers and a sidewinding buildup of anticipation in this a song about the anxious hope of avoiding someone.

“Borrowed Time” is a thoughtful song about times that things aren’t going quite easy, and we have to face grim the reality of living on borrowed time.

“Faustina” is ultra hit material, and truly great songwriting.  Someone please stop the flow of everything rushing past.

“Shenandoah Shakedown,” an early single release, has a loping rhythm and foreboding that draws you into the story immediately.  “I couldn’t fault her knowing what was at stake…the Shenandoah shaking me down.”

“Coming Down” is a bit brighter song but the theme still toys with regrets and wishes for things to be different.

“Old Dance Floor” is another that considers the aging of objects and our memories.

This album is 11 songs and is distinguished by great songwriting and complex call & response guitar in easy, sad, winsome Americana style.

Check out some of our year-end lists here: 2021’s “45 RPM (Reasons to Purchase Music)” with Playlist

Editor’s Pick: Favorite Albums of 2021

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