For Crying Out Loud

Scott Miller is the kind of guy you’d feel comfortable sharing a few brews with on a soggy summer evening. He reminds you of the guys you work with, he’s the neighbor who distracts you from cutting your grass, he’s the guy in the mirror who stares back at you bleary-eyed every doggone morning. The familiarity hits you immediately when Mr. Miller starts singing “Cheap Ain’t Cheap (For Crying Out Loud).” You know where he’s coming from, heck, just last night you were bitching about the economy going to hell. It’s nice to have someone put it into a song for you.

Scott Miller is a smart guy – you might even say smart aleck – but he doesn’t flaunt what he knows. You can figure that out for yourself when you laugh out loud at one of his snarky comments about life’s little ironies. His intelligence comes through osmosis, note by note, by turn of phrase, through his shy sweetness. Scott Miller rails at all the things you do but he knows how to laugh at the ridiculous nature of every situation. Take “Sin In Indiana” for example; in less than 3 minutes Miller introduces us to a cast of characters who contradict the very things they believe in. When you step back from the song you realize that this fun little ditty is actually a metaphor for Bible belt mentality.

For Crying Out Loud is a rowdy album full of swagger, defiance, muddled macho emotions and tender masculine love. Miller wrote most of these songs while tending to his dying father-in-law and that comes through strong on the disarmingly bittersweet “I’m Right Here My Love” a duet with Patty Griffin. The two trade lyrics as one partner prepares to leave this world while the other offers reassurances of faith and love. Miller balances the sentiment with “Let You Down” in which a man admits to his own limitations. There are also a few new musical avenues on the album including the soulful “Heart in Harm’s Way” and the rockabilly influenced “Claire Marie.” We’re even treated to an updated murder ballad “Double Indemnity” but mostly Scott Miller produces country-flavored rock with a big dash of Appalachian grittiness.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix Host)