Lisa Miller
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Lisa Miller

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | INDIE

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | INDIE
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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Lisa Miller's new album
May 12, 2007 12:00am

Article from:

by Noel Mengel

LOSS. It hurts, plain and simple.
Some of us try to ignore it, some of us try to bulldoze through it, some of us sink under its weight, all of us have to find a way to live through it.
And some of us can create something positive and rich out of it, digging into the memories and that hyper-sensitive state that we find ourselves in in times of grief.
This might be something intangible, like a new way to approach life. Or tangible, like an album of songs that finds a way through the pain, cathartic for the writer and for the listeners it connects with.
Like Lisa Miller's extraordinary album Morning in the Bowl of Night (Inertia).
There might be albums as good that come out this year, but I've played it over and over and it's hard to imagine that there is going to be a better one.
Since her 1996 debut, Quiet Girl with a Credit Card, Melbourne singer-songwriter Miller has quietly but surely built a career on the strength of her sturdy, emotional songwriting for grown-ups.
Her three albums of original material and one of covers all have much to recommend them, but Morning in the Bowl of Night is a treasure, a thing of breathtaking, honest beauty that deserves just as wide an audience as Missy Higgins's new album. The album is dedicated to Lisa's late mother and her memory is everywhere through it, from the family album snaps on the cover to the deeply personal songs like Point Ormond.
It begins: "It's been six months of a life sentence and it just keeps getting harder." And then: "I wear your old shirt/Shampoo bottle in the shower/Kept your last crossword/Word of the day was overpowered."
If that doesn't rip you up, remember there will come a day when it will.
Equally emotional is Bottle Up My Tears, with its reflective piano intro, before Miller, accompanied just by her own guitar, delivers perhaps the vocal performance of her life.
But these are just part of the whole, from the tender yearning of Upside and Motherless, to the bright, uplifting Such a Find and the mysterious groove of Love Will Carry You, with some magical Beatle-sy effects courtesy of co-producer Shane O'Mara.
Best album inspired by the passing of a parent since Loudon Wainwright's The Last Man on Earth.
And five stars out of five. - Brisbane Courier-Mail


THE AGE
Green Guide
Thursday, May 24, 2007

LIVEWIRE: MUSIC / New Releases

Morning In The Bowl Of Night
Lisa Miller
(Inertia)

????? 5 stars

Lisa Miller's remarkable new CD will doubtless be lost on the musical fast food mob. Morning In The Bowl Of Night, with its emotional intensity and adult themes, is light years from the world of celebrity pop and instant hits. Like so many superior artistic endeavours, the album's lyrical subtleties and spare arrangements, co-produced with guitar maestro Shane O'Mara, reveal their riches gradually. It is an acoustically rewarding experience, underpinning the vocals with refined guitars, piano, throbbing bass and brushed percussion. Miller's deceptively gentle vocal style enhances the introspective nature of the songs, which evolved over a long period that included the death of her mother. Reminders of family outings and personal mementoes are scattered throughout, yet by album's end, sorrow and loss have yielded to acceptance. Pivotal tracks are Bottle Up My Tears (with a stark piano prelude by Steve Hope) and the superb spiritual Motherless. Significantly, this is followed immediately by an upbeat, slow-rocker, Love Will Carry You, accentuating the positive with its mantra-like chorus. A musical masterpiece.
MIKE DALY
- The Age (Melbourne)


Version Originale has the same addictive quality of everything touched by her gossamer throat strings; the same understated, apparently effortless senses of melody and craft, with, if possible, an even more affecting emotional directness.
ROLLING STONE 4 stars

With Version Originale Miller's magical ability to elevate a song above its existing parts is no less disarming. It goes beyond the quality of her voice, which sounds more pleasant than really remarkable - until you realise your pulse is slowing and there is a Êthread of dribble hanging off your lip. Like all the greatest singers, it is less about pitch and timbre than her ability to make you believe she's breathing and bleeding in there...
THE AGE EG FEATURE ALBUM 4.5 stars

Version Originale, all songs by Lisa Miller, a hell of a stocking filler this Christmas and a genius pop record. Umpteen stars.
BEAT - ALBUM OF THE WEEK

Sometimes you can listen to an album and just tell that everything has fallen together in the right way; right time; right place; right people. Her vocal style is pure and ingenuous - a rare treat in this era of modern day histrionics. Lisa Miller has the kind of talent that, every now and then, stuns you to a wide-eyed gasp.
INPRESS

An episodic and miniature world of feelings and heartfelt experiences. Version Originale truly captures the heart of the country, the soul of suburbia and an individual persona of a singer-songwriter at the height of her craft.
RHYTHMS

Lisa Miller is proof that a great album by a great artist can still find an audience in Australia. Her distinctive, late-night voice and heartfelt, beautifully crafted songs have already had the reviewers struggling to do justice to its sublime power.
DAILY TELEGRAPH - Various



Lisa Miller
“Morning in the Bowl of Night” Album Launch supported by Dog Trumpet

Thursday, May 10 2007 @ Toff in Town, The, Melbourne
by CaraBanana

I would have thought it was rather a risk for even a well established artist to launch their album at a brand new venue. Let alone on a school night. But for Melbourne’s alt-country darling Lisa Miller, the risk was well calculated. The charming new inner city bar that dared to call itself the Toff in Town was filled to capacity, creating a perfectly intimate and celebratory vibe for the launch of Lisa’s fifth long player.

Following support act Dog Trumpet’s endearing exploration of anti-social tendencies, Lisa took to the stage clad in a vintage 70’s sequined blue full length dress. “This is the drag queen dress” she quipped. The dress may indeed have been way over the top for a regular pub gig, but in the classy Toff it simply felt as if we were being treated to a show. Particularly when she put down the stratocaster, Ms Miller looked every bit the jazz or country diva of yesteryear.

Backed by a bunch of familiar faces from the Melbourne scene, Lisa opened the show with a couple of older tunes before delving into her newest body of work, the delectable Morning in the Bowl of Night. Drummer Peter Jones was joined alternately by Bill McDonald on electric bass and Howard Cairns on upright acoustic bass. The album’s co-producer and guitarist, Shane O’Mara, lent his expertise this evening, also showing off his banjo and mandolin skills for some tunes. His wife and Lisa’s close friend, songstress Rebecca Barnard, joined them onstage to offer harmonies and dance moves on 'She’s a Shining Star' and the album opener 'Upside'.

Additional colour was lent to the arrangements by Garret Costigan on pedal steel and Emily Rosna on harp. The harp was a very pleasant surprise, the first time I’ve seen one incorporated into a band setting and it was extremely successful. Almost piano-like in timbre but with a ligher, more whimsical quality, in songs such as radio favourite 'Such a Find', the harp suited Lisa’s sweet, lyrical tone to a tee.

Personal highlights of the evening were the dark, bluesy soul of 'Red Cross Store', and the thrilling crescendo of the finale – 'I Will Carry You' – which built from a three piece up to the full seven piece band and left her faithful audience cheering for more. Even on a school night. Which proves that for such a gifted songwriter and performer as Lisa Miller, launching an album at a brand new venue is no risk at all.

Review by Cara Lanyon
Photos by Adam Waring
- The Dwarf


Discography

2010 - Car Tape 2
2 ARIA Award nominations: Producer Of The Year (Lisa Miller & Shane O’Mara), and Adult Contemporary Album Of The Year.
EG Awards: Best Female Artist nomination
"Miller's heartfelt search for substance over style is never in doubt ... 4 stars." The Australian
"Its darkness, its mystery, its impossibly buoyant songs and its willingness to be something different - accessible but absolutely outside of mainstream parameters - really set this album apart." thedwarf.com.au

2007 - Morning In The Bowl Of Night
Australian Music Prize 2008 Shortlist
ARIA Award nomination Best Adult Contemporary Album
"Unquestionably a great album" Sydney Morning Herald
"A musical masterpiece. 5 stars" The Age (Melbourne)
"Breathtaking, honest beauty. 5 stars." Brisbane Courier-Mail

2003 - Version Originale
2 ARIA Award nominations: Best Female Artist, Best Adult Contemporary Album
"A great album by a great artist" Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
"The best Australia has to offer" West Australian
"Effortless sense of melody and craft. 4 stars." Rolling Stone

2002 - Car Tape
3 ARIA Award nominations: Best Female Artist, Best Independent Release, Best Adult Contemporary Album
"An irresistible, smoky, 4 in the morning voice...a blissful experience. 4 1/2 stars." The Australian (national)
"One of the most divine voices ever heard in Australia. 4 stars." Sunday Telegraph (Sydney)
"Like a thunderbolt out of the sky, bright, bold, beautiful, and awe-inspiring." Beat (Melbourne)
"Pure midnight cabaret, conjuring up a musical mood that sticks to the lonely side of blue." The Bulletin (national)

1999 - As Far As A Life Goes
ARIA Award nomination: Best Female Artist
"An album without a weak link and at least 5 singles to choose from. 4 stars." The Age
"A true tour-de-force." Addicted To Noise

1996 - Quiet Girl With A Credit Card
"Very smart torch and twang. 4 stars" Rolling Stone
"Daring, different, and teeming with integrity." Beat

Photos

Bio

“The warmth Lisa Miller radiates onstage forges an instant crowd connection. It almost feels like we are a room full of mates waiting to hear what she has done with her latest list of forgotten favourites. Backed by guitarist Shane O’Mara and a host of guest performers, she steps inside each song like putting on a reworked retro wardrobe. The arrangements are sublime: brave but perfectly suited to her rich rootsy sound. The eclectic list lends Miller the perfect platform to show music is a road she travels without fear. We follow her from melodic pop rock to urban country, from sweet folk to sizzling cabaret. Her vocals effortlessly move from powerful to vulnerable, from rock’n’roll to lullaby... Keep an ear out for the next time she drops by your neighbourhood. You’d be mad not to hit the road with her.”
fasterlouder.com.au Live Review

Lisa Miller has what every singer strives for - a voice of her own. Nuanced and delicate, capable of grittiness and sexiness when called for, but always undeniably and authentically herself, she is one of those rare artists of whom it can truly be said "she has her own voice". She does more than just deliver words and a tuneful melody, she gives the songs she sing a colour and a pathos that is utterly distinctive. There are very few others with the ability to convey such a degree of soulful emotion, and who are able to write songs that cut so close to the heart of the matter. To listen to Lisa Miller is to hear your very own story put to song.

6 albums in a 15 year solo career have marked her as a genuine Australian auteur, as much admired for her emotional and veracious songwriting as for her uniquely diverse interpretations of obscure folk, soul, country and blues songs. Since the release of her debut album in 1996, Miller has received consistent and unanimous praise from reviewers across the board, and earned a place as one of our very finest musical artists. Lisa Miller has 3 times been a final-five nominee for the Female Artist Of The Year ARIA Award - in 1999 for her second album “As Far As A Life Goes”, in 2003 for “Car Tape” and again in 2004 for “Version Originale”. Altogether she has been nominated 9 times for solo ARIA awards, most recently in 2010 for Best Producer and for Best Adult Contemporary Album for “Car Tape 2”. “Morning In The Bowl Of Night” was nominated in 2007 for Best Album and Best Female Artist in the EG awards and in 2010 “Car Tape 2” has earned her another Best Female Artist nomination. Her songs have been featured on many compilations and soundtracks, such as She Will Have Her Way, Look Both Ways, and Seachange). She has toured with international artists as diverse as Neil Young, Nick Cave, Billy Bragg, Nick Lowe, Alex Chilton, Bert Jansch, Iris Dement and Jonathan Richman. She has performed live on national television on numerous occasions, and more recently her voice has been heard by millions of Australians in the highly successful If You Need Me TV ads for RACV.

In 2008 “Morning In The Bowl Of Night” was named in the shortlist for the prestigious Australian Music Prize, awarded to the best album of the previous year, as voted by a selected panel of critics, retailers and peers. This is an album that is spare in its detail, intimate in its presence, and overwhelmingly poignant in its effect - but one that nonetheless radiates the joy of life and love above all else.

In 2010 Lisa Miller released “Car Tape 2”, the sequel to her much-loved album of covers from 2002. Car Tape 2 features another diverse array of songs and songwriters that mean something special to Miller, from the well-known - such as Curtis Mayfield and Neil Young, to the obscure - The Cake and Ruby Johnson for example. Once again Miller displays her rare gift for completely reinventing a song on her own terms.