Songwriter Spotlight: Scott Miller

This is the first of my series of posts highlighting my favorite songwriters.

For me, the most important part of a song is the lyrics. The second most important part is how those lyrics are delivered. I like a raw sound in music which exposes emotion. Intense feeling distracts us from perfection. Therefore, flaws can be beautiful.

Okay, on to my favorite songwriter of the week:

Scott Miller.

I’m not going to write his entire biography (I’ve put a link to his website here), But I will share this from Wikipedia: “Miller’s songs reflect his degrees in American History and Russian Studies, with references to his home, family, history, geography, writers and Appalachia.” By “his home” they mean a farm in Swoope, Virigina.

Here are my top 5 lyrics from Scott Miller, with video preceding:

1. from “Loving That Girl”

Dead as the Moon is,
It still pulls the tide.
Somewhere within
It must still be alive.
Still I don’t think that I can love again
Loving that Girl is too hard on a man.

This is actually my favorite song of his. The video shows him at the Downhome in Johnson City, TN where I have seen him a number of times.

2. from “Lie I Believe”

If you stand naked
The mirror won’t lie
But it has to be filtered
Through the wish of an eye.
All that I needed
Was a reflection of me
You said I was someone
It’s a lie I believe.

3. the entire song The Rain. This song tells a story about a civil war battle and it has actually made me cry (more than once).

Through the trees I heard them coming
By the clank of their canteens.
Since the rain softened the drum-head
You could hear the order screamed,
“There they are, boys. Make ’em bleed.”

4. from Across the Line

Sheets of rain, sheets of silk
Cloudy water, mother’s milk
Swollen gorges filled with blood,
Cannot stop the coming flood.
Overflowing storm filled drain,
Bolts of lightning, searing pain,
Claps of thunder, gusts of wind,
First I’m out and then I’m in.

5. the entire song Red Ball Express, another song about war

I jumped at it when I had the chance,
Joined the Army and went to France,
At Roosevelt’s request.

Two weeks sitting in the mud
Made me lie to the man that I could drive a truck
For the Red Ball Express.

All we do is keep it rolling on,
Trading bodies for the petroleum…

Scott Miller and the Commonwealth at Bristol Rhythm and Roots 2004

Here is a photo I took of Scott Miller and the Commonwealth in 2004 at Rhythm and Roots, a festival in Bristol TN/VA. I don’t know if he was flipping off the crowd because they were jerks, but the people sitting in front of me definitely were. Long story. I’ll save it for another day.

Now it should be obvious why Scott Miller is one of my favorite song writers.

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