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ďA native Texas voice whose music brings the Old World cultures of France, Mexico and the British Isles forward into the 21st century community of singer/songwriters. If you can catch her live, you should."
--Willis Alan Ramsey & Alison Rogers
Texas singer/songwriter Kim Miller
used half a dozen different studios, from Nashville to Santa Fe, to record her
new album, “Risk of the Roar.” But the physical space she covered
to get it done was nothing compared to the space in time it took. More than
ten years have flown by since Miller released her debut album, 1996’s
“Child of the Big Sky.”
Her explanation for the intermission is simple: “Life intervened. Sometimes we get called off one path for another. This album is the fruit of my diversions.”
Of course, the events themselves were far more than “diversions.” Not long after that album’s release, she chose to put aside her budding music career (which included performing at venues like the Cactus Café in Austin Texas and the main-stage of the Kerrville Wine & Music Festival) to take on “a beautiful responsibility to somebody I loved dearly who needed me.” That was her aging grandmother, whose image as a young girl on horseback graced the cover of Miller’s first album.
“My grandmother lived life on her own terms. Her passing jolted me into realizing how important it was to return to my music,” Miller says of that experience. So she cashed in her retirement and took a leap of faith. “Risk of the Roar’s” title song, and thematic center, comes from that courageous plunge. Miller says of the song, “It’s about the risk of reclaiming yourself from a cornered existence and suppressed creativity ... it’s about trading safety for the opportunity of that risk.”
The music Miller creates is ethereal, but not lost in the clouds. “She crafts meticulous, imitate tales at once hypnotic and seductive, buoyed by a voice remarkable in it’s ability to express complex emotion,” says Tom Buckley of Texas Music Magazine. Her sensuous melodies come laced in stirring detail like the “Last Light” interlude between Nashville player Josh Dubin’s pining pedal steel and Austin/Nashville music vet Cam King’s aching Gretsch guitar. The rich tones of each instrument and the sterling quality of Miller’s voice create lush textures on which she imprints her deeply intimate lyrics. In “I Still Believe,” she sings, “Hope dies hard for fools like me/I always pay a price/So much tragic comedy/It’s my virtue, it’s my vice./OK, I fly but I don’t run/Show me where’s the harm/If I wanna curl up like a question mark/Underneath your arm.”
Immaculately co-produced by Marvin Dykhuis (Tish Hinojosa), Miller and Cam King (Roky Erickson), “Risk of the Roar” features a dozen of Miller’s original compositions, sung in her finely-nuanced voice and supported by a rich ensemble of Austin, Nashville and New Mexico musicians. They include Dykhuis and King, Glenn Fukunaga, Paul Pearcy, Warren Hood, Andrew Hardin, Tammy Rogers and Jeff Taylor. Miller traveled to New Mexico to record backing vocals from two of her favorite singer/songwriters: Tommy Elskes and Vince Bell. Mark Hallman mixed and mastered the album at Congress House Studios.
Miller’s own musical influences range from Joni Mitchell (“if Joni had been raised in West Texas,” one critic said), the Finn Brothers and Kate Bush to Mary Hopkins and Marty Robbins; her non-musical inspirations include poet Pablo Neruda and famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. (The Gulf Coast-born Miller, a dive master since 1980, used to escort diving tours to some of the world’s most remote and exotic destinations. She once considered a career as a SCUBA instructor before her muse won out.)
“I’ve enjoyed a number of passionate pursuits in my life, but none so gratifying as writing and performing. It’s good to be back on stage,” says Miller. “My music is pretty intimate and revealing so the spotlight can be a risky place. But it’s a rewarding risk”
Just like all the others she took to get here.
Hi-res photos available at www.sonicbids.com/kimmiller
Sea Robin Music
PO Box 2874
Wimberley, Texas 78676