• Review

Review: John R. Miller at The Southgate House Revival

The songwriter has been having a resurgence in the past few years where fans are again seeking storytelling through their music. They want to hear stories, ones they relate to or ones that paint a story and a life that is foreign to them. 

John R. Miller a singer-songwriter out of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, Miller is one of those songwriters who is able to make the listener experience his songs through his heartfelt and witty writing.

Thursday night Miller was at Southgate House Revival in Newport, KY showing a decent-sized crowd his veteran musicianship playing bass for his opener Pat Reedy & the Longtime Goners, who’s performance garnered an encore. Miller is also the bass player in William Matheney’s band another songwriter out of Morgantown, West Virginia worth your listening if you haven’t heard of him already. 

But Thursday night Miller was playing acoustic and fronting his band John R. Miller & the Engine Lights, playing tunes off of his new album ‘The Trouble You Follow.’ The album was personally one of my favorite albums of 2018, with songs like ‘Lights of the City’ and ‘Red Eyes’ Miller proves that he is a veteran songwriter and longs for a simpler life in this chaotic world. 

Miller uses phrases and wording that make your head turn in their absurdity, while making entire sense.  “I need you like I need a shot of turpentine straight to my head,” from his song ‘Whale Party’ is both a clever line, as well a sentiment we can all relate to. 

You may have heard Miller’s song ‘Coming Down,’ if you’re a fan of Tyler Childers. Miller wrote the song while fronting another band of his Prison Book Club, Miller is one of Childers’ favorite songwriters and spent many years in the same music scene in West Virginia. ‘Coming Down’ in particular had the crowd’s attention Thursday night and was a favorite moment of mine to hear the song from Miller again. 

The show was brief but left a lasting impression on the crowd with fans stomping and cheering an encore out the very humble Miller. For the members of the crowd that hadn’t seen or heard of Miller before last night, his performance was enough to leave people wanting more. 

You can see Miller again in August down by in Smale Park at the Whispering Beard Folk Festival on August 22 -24. Miller will be playing an earlier slot and is must see for that weekend.