Pete Miller
Gig Seeker Pro

Pete Miller

Portland, Maine, United States | SELF

Portland, Maine, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"Daydream Believer"

Pete Miller debuts with Shake the Dawn
-Sam Pfeifle May 19, 2010

Long a young songwriter with buzz, Pete Miller has been woodshedding with Eric Bettencourt all winter working on a debut record that sees the light of day this weekend. Six full songs strong (plus a 30-second coda) and produced much like a big-band album, this is solo work fleshed out by some good studio efforts so that the songs take center stage, but there are a lot of nice individual performances.

The constants are Miller and his acoustic guitar, which opens just about every track, with various other mostly acoustic instruments joining him to build crescendos and tension that aptly support the material. Chuck Gagne (the Lucid) does that especially well on the drums in the opening “All That’s Real,” the most poppy of the folk-rock tunes here. The drums are usually mixed pretty far to the back and not mic’d overly close, so Gagne can start quiet and strong-arm his way to the starts of verse, cresting with a cymbal hit that introduces Miller’s first word. With an organ drone and warm stand-up bass from Colin Winsor, Miller’s breathy tenor floats above with good separation and a progressing chorus that takes a love interest wishing to fly and helps make it happen.

Tim Garrett’s cello is also pretty instrumental to the sound here, creating with the bass a fat-bottomed foundation that carries Miller well when he decides to get vampy and jazzy on “To See Your Eyes.” He gives a chunky sense of urgency to “Daydreamer,” a tune where Miller shows off the singer/songwritery Australian accent that can happen when singers are smirking at you. Bettencourt adds good flavor here with multiple string tracks and Will Evans’s mandolin is a good crisp counterpoint.

Sara Hallie Richardson, whose solo work I really like, enters late for harmony vocals on “Daydreamer,” but their voices just don’t resonate well together, both of them somewhat thin and airy here. Someone more full-bodied might have been better, or Miller could have dropped down and ceded the melody to Richardson an octave higher. The most successful back-up vocals here are probably Monique Bidwell’s in “Shake My Bones,” but that’s also the song where Miller’s vocals have the most body and force so there’s more of a back-up role to play. It’s good he decided to include that song, really, as it’s stripped down to just Miller and his guitar for the majority of the piece and it shows he’s not solely a studio construction.

And it’s more than the song title that reminds me of Emilia Dahlin’s Rattle Them Bones, with similar percussive delivery and flair. I like the Chris Martin falsetto here, too. It works less well elsewhere.

Miller shows good vocal flexibility in general, though. Sometimes he affects a G Love-style soul croon (with some Christian Hayes thrown in), as on the finish of “Shoes,” or the opening of “You.” Sometimes he’s more sultry, like “Eyes,” which also gets a nice guest spot from Rustic Overtone Ryan Zoidis, whose saxophone is contrasted with Bettencourt’s electric slide guitar chimes, which lend an edgy vibe and keep the song from getting syrupy.

The lyrics can be above-average, too, though Miller swallows or noodles on the last words of lines quite often, so they can be hard to make out (he says he’ll have them available on his Web site soon). There’s witty derision in “Shoes” — “Look to the sky paper for a sign/The stars could care less what you do” — and vivid sentiment in “Bones”: “I lean against the wind to feel your pain.” And even though the album moves through various genres, there’s a common sound (partly supplied by Bettencourt’s production) and a consistent vibe that mostly doesn’t exist elsewhere in Portland’s oeuvre. When I first saw Miller in a band setting on the Big Easy stage, I wasn’t sure he would get to that place. Again, that could partly be Bettencourt’s production efforts working.

While there aren’t any songs here you’d likely label spectacular, this is a debut that should at the very least keep you interested. - Portland Phoenix


"Local Music Review: Miller keeps it simple and honest on new EP"

-Mike Olcott, May 6, 2010

Recently Jack White was interviewed, and he made an interesting point about the hisses and pops and imperfections that are rampant in old blues records.

Essentially he was saying that the coughs, missed claps and botched takes were the most story-rich elements of the whole process. By implication, as we hurtle toward having only airbrushed banality stuffing our iPods, we're cleaning the soul right out of our music. How horrifying! How Huxley!

In this light, you've got to appreciate what Pete Miller's up to. In a local radio world made too syrupy-sweet by Pro Tool tricks, the songwriter keeps it organic on his new EP, "Shake the Dawn."

Cellos, acoustic guitars and brushy drums dominate as though it were high time someone went back to a more honest, transparent sound. Try to imagine Damien Rice's all-acoustic affairs, just not so sad puppy.

The EP has some sure highlights. Miller and fantastic singer Sara Hallie Richardson soar on the single "Daydreamer" over Tim Garrett's pulsing cello and rock drums. "You" features detailed guitar work, spooky strings and Miller with a low register growl all neatly trapped in a blues stutter step. There are fantastic little pockets of creativity, as in the heartbeat trick in "Shake My Bones."

Miller saves his best for last. Usually, a title like "To See Your Eyes" is a cheeseball code-red on a songwriter's record. But with menacing strings and some horns for color, it turns out to be not much of a ballad at all, but a mischievous Miller dabbling in the dark side.

The guy's got a little ways to go yet. Sometimes the lyrics sound like complacent fillers. A couple of voice lessons would put more air in Miller's diaphragm and improve his overall tuning. But these songs take turns to unexpected places, and the acoustic arrangements that carry them there consistently sound tight and organic.

It's important to note that this thing came out of Eric Bettencourt's underrated shop over at Shadow Shine records, and so this talented writer has the right stewardship around him. Miller's got all the tools to grow up properly as a musician, because he made all the right decisions first. Now he just has to get better. - Portland Press Herald


"CD REVIEW: Pete Miller "Shake The Dawn""

-Tony Gisondi, May 21, 2010

Pete Miller is a promising new singer/songwriter from New England that is creating some incredibly interesting music. His style combines the energy of a live jam band with the subtle approach of a solo artist, emphasizing on stellar lyrics. It doesn't take much to make good music these days, but it takes a lot of heart and feeling to make music that connects with listeners and stands out from the bunch. Pete Miller's debut EP sets him apart from a lot of other musicians and makes a statement about what it means to be an independent singer/songwriter. His song "Daydreamer" doesn't only show off his lyrics but also showcases his talents on the guitar. Fellow New Englander, Ryan Zoidis of Rustic Overtones, lends his saxophone skills to Miller's "To See Your Eyes" adding depth to an already complex sound. Pete Miller is part of a new generation of New England bands to take the independent and jam rock scene by storm, and his debut EP is just the beginning of an excellent music career. - thisismodern.net


Discography

Shake the Dawn EP (May 2010)

Photos

Bio

Pete Miller’s honest songwriting and musical stylings stem from an intimate upbringing in Southern Maine, an intuitive awareness of the aesthetic world, and a passion for spending time among waves and snowy peaks. A blend of indie and folk, his songs explore the unmasking of human tendencies. Miller’s lyrically clever offerings delve into the raw nature of humans—exposing, proposing, desiring, and accepting.

Now a resident of Portland, Pete has frequented stages around the city including One Longfellow Square, North Star Music Café, Biddeford City Theater, and The Big Easy. He’s also joined Barefoot Truth, Gypsy Tailwind, Brown Bird, and Chris Velan on stage.

This spring marked the highly anticipated release of Miller’s debut album “Shake the Dawn” – recorded and co-produced with Eric Bettencourt at Shadow Shine Productions. The new album presents seven songs exploring the shapes, sights, and sounds of the depths of human honesty. In his first headlining show and record release, held at One Longfellow Square in downtown Portland on May 21, 2010, Miller and band played to a sold-out crowd of more than two hundred.

"It takes a lot of heart and feeling to make music that connects with listeners and stands out from the bunch,” writes Tony Gisondi of THISisMODERN.net. “Pete Miller's debut EP sets him apart from a lot of other musicians and makes a statement about what it means to be an independent singer/songwriter."

Of “Shake the Dawn”, Mike Olcott of the Portland Press Herald writes: “Cellos, acoustic guitars and brushy drums dominate as though it were high time someone went back to a more honest, transparent sound. Try to imagine Damien Rice's all-acoustic affairs, just not so sad puppy.” And Sam Pfeifle, from the Portland Phoenix, expresses that “while Miller moves through various genres, there’s a common sound and a consistent vibe that mostly doesn’t exist elsewhere in Portland’s (Maine) oeuvre."

Miller’s determined approach and desire to transcend traditional music boundaries have established him as a prominent, emerging local musician and fueled him to continue growing beyond.

For music, shows, and more information, visit www.thepetemiller.com.