Austin Miller's interest in music emerged at a young
age. Raised all-American on Springsteen, Petty, and
piano lessons starting at 3 years old, there was rarely
a moment when a radio wasn't playing or a record wasn't
spinning. But it wasn't until college that he began
putting pen to paper, thanks to a week-long Dylan binge.
Today, those influences have been met with a short history
of shows spanning 40 states and 13 countries. Miller
exerts a worldliness beyond his 28 years -- not only
in his confident croon, but also in his rambling rhythm
and thoughtful guitar work. Over the years, inspiration
has continued to strike just like that original Dylan-fueled
kick did: without warning, yet beautifully timed. It's
the combination of lonely stretches of highway between
gigs out west, or short amount of time at home before
wanting to get back on the road, that these songs come
to fruition. When he finds the time to reflect, it results
in a certain nostalgic and refreshing take on the classic
Americana from which he draws so much influence. In
comes "Engine": his third and most ambitious
album yet, on which Miller exudes his stories of love
and loss in understated, calculated, and skillfully-crafted
hooks that leave listeners with just the right taste
of melancholy in their mouths. The record is supported
by a dynamic group of musicians originally assembled
to tour behind his last album, "More Than One Way".
Touring seems to be the time and place that Miller's
life makes the most sense, and the group stuck around
to work diligently on "Engine". Over the span
of its 39 minutes, Miller gently asserts his voice and
tone into the forefront, and the tactful accompaniment
carries the soft melodies the rest of the way home.
In "Skeleton Keys" he sings: "I will
rest when it's assured that I have no reason to be awake."
Seems like he has yet to find that chance to rest, and
we're all better for it.