Michael Paul Miller,
(Silk City, 2002)

I have to agree with Andy Allu of Silk City Recording Co. about Michael Paul Miller's Homeward: "In a word ... stunning."

When the first selection began and I heard Miller's voice, I frowned. His voice is oddly scratchy and pitched in the netherrealms between average and high. It sounds like it would be anything but a singer's voice.

However, once you hear a few verses, you realize that his voice is perfect for this style and the musical accompaniment he selects. The same voice that first struck me as oddly scratchy became oddly comforting, taking on the quality of a friend sharing his inner feelings.

The longer I listened, the more I felt like I was sharing this man's innermost thoughts and feelings. That's what the blues is supposed to be about -- sharing life's experiences in a one-on-one conversation set to kicking music with guitars that seem to be "crying."

The assortment of guitars -- rhythm, steel, slide and bass -- is fascinating and provides just the exact background for Miller's words. There's no way to select a favorite out of this collection. Every selection has some special quality that makes it stand equal to the others. All are supreme!

I am especially impressed with Miller's ability to vocalize along with the guitar and to sound almost identical to it. This used to be common with blues singers, but I have not heard it much in the last two decades. There has been a move to synthesized music and less human "sound effect." It is refreshing to hear someone doing the old-style entertainment.

Each of these dozen songs was written by Miller except "Lonesome Town." Perhaps that explains the personal nature of Miller's performance -- he is doing his own work. As a songwriter, he is fabulously talented. It is difficult to say whether he is more talented as a singer or songwriter.

I could find nothing bad about Homeward except that it ends too soon. Miller is a super-talented individual with so much to offer the world; he deserves much more recognition.

If you like the oldstyle blues, get this CD. You will not be disappointed.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 15 May 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.