Marilyn Miller
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Marilyn Miller

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Band Folk Acoustic

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Mar
24
Marilyn Miller @ Taste Budd's Cafe

Red Hook, New York, USA

Red Hook, New York, USA

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Music

Press


When an artist decides to create an album by compiling a list of songs from multiple genres, it can be an iffy decision – especially when the album is the artist’s first release.  But that certainly did not stop Marilyn Miller when she decided to release her debut album entitled Nighthawk.  Though the range of genres was a bold decision, Miller pulls it off without a single hitch.  The album is everywhere at once, ranging from rock and folk to even blues and country.

The second song on Nighthawk, “Crater,” creates an old timey Western sound.  Miller’s “na na nah’s,” the song’s twangy guitar sounds, and the background melody of a violin create an interestingly catchy tune that could easily be mistaken for one of Patsy Cline’s.  Miller details how it feels to be stuck in the ‘crater’ of a relationship.  “Don’t give me more than you are able, but a little bit of time would have made my day.”

Nighthawk continues with “Crash and Burn,” a rock song that contains a bit of a bite.  Miller sings, “You know you’re gonna crash and burn, but I bet you still don’t learn.”  The edgier tone and lyrics of the song gives it obvious punk characteristics. By this time in the album, the listener has gained a definite feel for the diverse range of genres that Miller is able to pull off. Miller taps into the roots of each genre in a skillful way that makes it seem as if she is a seasoned veteran within each music scene.  “What Is It?” for example, is a hands down, pure blues tune.  The guitar creates a fond bluesy melody, while the drums can be heard in the background keeping beat.  The two would be nothing without Miller’s voice, however.  Her voice ties the whole song together into a solid, well performed track.

The album changes direction once again after “What Is It?” to venture onto the title track of the album. “Nighthawk” is perhaps the most tranquil song on the album.  It’s softer, mellow tune saunters along as Miller sings, “Nighthawk, can you give me what I want when I want it . . . when I need it?”  It is a simple song with few lyrics, but Miller does well to keep an ambiguous tint over the song that urges the listener to remain focused on the lyrics.

Having apparent country tones, “Dancing Tonight” follows along the same lines as “Crater.” It will take more than one listen to soak in the song’s intricately woven storyline.  Miller describes a girl whose mother warns her against going dancing.  She goes against her mother’s wishes, and while there, she meets a fiddle player who “just kept on playing the fiddle until he broke [her] heart right down the middle.”  The song ends with the narrator warning her children just as her mother had warned her.

While Nighthawk is a solid album through and through, Miller may do well to spend a bit of time honing in on her vocals.  By no means is Miller’s voice subpar – she has a raw voice that suits her music well.  Nighthawk does well to encourage the listener to listen to not only the music as a whole, but to soak in the lyrics as well.  It is an album that can be listened to over and over again without becoming bored. - Alec Cunningham


Discography

Nighthawk, 2011

Photos

Bio

Hudson, NY and the surrounding towns have been home for singer/songwriter Marilyn Miller for most of her life, and her music often deals with the contradictions inherent in an area which is at once both very rural and very urban. You will find her most often encouraging others at an open mic, having an open jam at her country home, supporting a farmers' market or other cause, or busking on the streets of her hometown. It is no surprise that, given the diversity of her sounds, her favorite musician is Neil Young, a man well known to follow his muse wherever it takes him. His influence is very evident in the songs Marilyn writes, and in how she approaches the art of music. As a performer, Marilyn is most often compared to Patti Smith, no doubt due to the high energy she displays in presenting her work, and her dedication to always seeking the truth in the music. Her goal is to provide the listener with sounds that make a person move, think and feel, and she does deliver.

For Marilyn Miller, music is a mental, physical, and emotional activity: totally engaging, offering constant opportunities to grow, to explore, and to connect with audiences and other artists. This summer, the release of her 10-song debut album, Nighthawk, showcases her unique voice, her mastery of a wide range of song styles, and her emotional depth.

Nighthawk, produced by Todd Mack of Off the Beat 'N' Track Studio in Sheffield, MA, is a collection of songs ranging from the punkish-rock of "Crash and Burn" to the down-home country of "Crater." She doesn't stop there, however: there are also some folky ballads, a straight up blues piece, and then the title song – likely, you will want to listen to Nighthawk in the dark, with head phones. Marilyn's songs are highly personal, with catchy, fun and beautiful melodies and honest, thoughtful lyrics. Each song comes all wrapped up in musical magic created by an exciting set of musicians who define each song moment, heavily flavored with guitars of all sorts, pedal steel, violin and viola, piano and drums. This is art of many layers, and you will hear something new with each listen, and find yourself humming these tunes as you move through your day.

Marilyn has been a guest at FODfest (www.FodFest.org), runs a Round Robin Jam at The Rev in Hudson, NY (formerly The Parlor), and has performed at The Spotty Dog (Hudson), Hyde Park Brewing Company, Beacon Barks Festival, American Glory (Hudson), Kennett Flash (PA), and various other house concerts, coffeehouses, private gigs, and farmers markets, as well as being a frequent face at local Open Mics.