John R. Miller

REVIEW: John R. Miller “Heat Comes Down”


John R. Miller – Heat Comes Down

John R. Miller has a new album freshly released, Heat Comes Down.

“Called in sick so I could get to work” (hell yeah) is the first line on the first song of the album: “Nobody Has to Know Your Mind.”   “Nobody has to know your mind, how you choose to waste your time.  Give me a mile I’ll take an inch … nobody has to know your mind.”  And you thought you had a secret nobody else knew.

“Insomnia Blues” is the kind of bluesy arrangement that’s layered and unassuming and sounds like the Jerry Garcia solo style stuff.

“Harper’s Ferry Moon” is rich and wry “I never wanted to belong and neither did you, I think that’s why we got along… someday may we float on back down to where we came from.”

“Smokestacks on the Skyline” is a story of setting up for a gig with a bartender who doesn’t want to talk, and nobody waiting on you at home to call anyway. A deep sigh.

“Basements” grabs your attention with its subtle softer delivery and some hushed haunting harmonies as the take unfolds of guitar players following their dreams only to wind up wondering where the years have gone as they’re still busting it trying to get something together.

“Conspiracies, Cults and UFOs” really steps up the pace and is just absurdly riveting. Listen to this one.

John R Miller has a directness and bluntness in his delivery, and gut punch, relatable twists in his words. Songs are done in the style of Tyler Childers, who credits Miller as an influence. It’s easy to hear why. He speaks directly to your experience without fanfare.

Instruments are arranged thoughtfully and never step on one another. Banjo, picked acoustic, sometimes fiddle, pedal steel, piano, and an instrument or two you might not be able to place at first listen, all add flair and nothing is too intense or overdriven.

Heat Comes Down was produced by Andrija Tokic and John James Tourville; recorded and mixed by Andrija Tokic at The Bomb Shelter in Nashville; and mastered by John Baldwin at Infrasonic Sound.

Production coordination was managed by Juanita Copeland.

Musicians on the album are John R. Miller on vocals, acoustic and electric guitar; John Clay Burchett on drums, bongos, optigan and auxiliary percussion; Craig Burletic on electric and upright and bowed bass and auxiliary percussion;  J. Yom Hnatow on electric and slide guitars, pedal steel, vibraphones and auxiliary percussion;  Jeff Taylor on piano, organ, accordion and Wurlitzer; Chloe Edmonstone on fiddle, auxiliary percussion and background vocals; John James Tourville on pedal steel, acoustic guitar, shaker, dobro, electric guitar, bowed guitar, tambourine, auxiliary percussion, synthesizer, vibraphone, talk box, baritone guitar, bongos, piano and glockenspiel; and Maureen Murphy, Kyshona Armstrong, Nicki Conley, and Vaughn Walters on background vocals.


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