West Virginia-raised country singer John R. Miller has been on the rise lately. His upcoming tour (dates below) including shows with Son Volt and a gig at Red Rocks Amphitheatre opening for Margo Price and Tyler Childers (the latter of whom has been one of John's big supporters). He's releasing his debut album Depreciated this Friday (7/16) via Rounder Records (pre-order), and it's a warm, welcoming, indie-friendly country record that should definitely appeal to fans of Tyler and Margo (and Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Arlo McKinley, etc). We're premiering a full stream of it in this post, and John also broke down every track for us. Listen and read on for what he had to say...

JOHN R. MILLER'S TRACK-BY-TRACK

“Lookin’ Over My Shoulder”
This song appears from the perspective of somebody who returns to a small hometown after some time away, attempting to avoid contact with an old flame while revisiting places they used to haunt together. Ostensibly it was through the narrator’s own actions that the relationship soured, and he remembers it bittersweetly, if regretfully. Out of sight, out of mind, but it only works for so long, as sometimes we are inevitably drawn back to places that contain painful memories for us.

“Borrowed Time”
Always liked this phrase, and I always thought it was funny that it’s generally used only when somebody appears to be near death, “living on borrowed time.” I always assumed all of our time was borrowed when it came down to it.

“Faustina”
A rumination on the pitfalls of a traveling life, and a nod to a troubled mystic saint of the early 20th century. Part of our nature seems to be to throw ourselves into things we feel passionately about at the expense of everything else.

“Shenandoah Shakedown”
A collection of psychedelic-influenced vignettes set around the Shenandoah River, which frame the gradual dissolution of a relationship, its aftermath, and eventual absolution - set against a dark & lush musical backdrop.

“Coming Down”
We talk about home as if it can be simply found on a map. When you eventually lose the place or people to which you’re anchored, it can feel like you’re falling without a net; the only way to start climbing again might be to hit the ground.

“Old Dance Floor”
Fresh starts are hard to come by, but ever-appealing for those of us who have seem to have a knack for screwing things up. If you’ve ever had a landlord whom you were afraid to call if something went wrong with the HVAC, I can relate to that.

“Motor’s Fried”
A song for a friend (and myself, for that matter), a reminder that being at the end of your own proverbial rope doesn’t mean you have to sabotage yourself or others. For those of us who sometimes see the wall coming and speed toward it, when all you may have to do is put on the brakes for a moment to see the curve in the road.

“Back and Forth”
I wrote this one years ago inspired by a barfly friend of mine. Flies of a feather buzz together, and for a while we were as close as drinking buddies could get. Some folks only reveal their grace in basement ashtrays, and I always hoped she found whatever she was looking for down there.

“What’s Left of the Valley”
Chloe requested that we record this tune in the studio, and we liked it so much that we included it on the record. I love acoustic guitar music, particularly the “American Primitive” style developed by John Fahey, and while this is perhaps an oversimplification of an approximation of what I love about that kind of music, I think this little tune sounds pretty nice.

“Half Ton Van”
An ode to Craigslist, and the dwellers-therein. If you’ve ever bought an automobile secondhand from a classified, or scoured listings for hours looking for treasure, you may be familiar with some of the tactics. My favorite is “low miles!” on a stock vehicle that’s 40 years old and has been sitting in a barn for what looks like 35.

“Fire Dancer”
I came upon a group of traveling fire-spinners one night years back, and sat with them a while. We passed a bottle around while fiddle music was being played in a camp nearby, and one of them handed a pipe to me.

“Medicine?” He asked.

I obliged him, assuming this was weed. I took a drag from the pipe, the contents of which tasted something like lavender and electricity.

I looked around, and all he said to me was, “do it again.”

So I did. And the whole circle of them, and the fire in the center, began to change. Their faces were masks of enormous laughter, the whole scene turned into a spinning mandala, and I gently lay back and left my body behind. When I returned to it some 10 minutes later, they were all still there, laughing and talking and drinking and playing with fire, but things seemed different, somehow. I’d been gone only 10 minutes in our time, but “minutes” had ceased to exist for me, and I felt I had absorbed something, that these strangers had gifted me with a priceless experience.

Months later as I found myself bumming around, looking for a warm couch anywhere I could find one, that experience guided me in a way I can’t quite describe.

I never knew any of their names, and they never knew mine, but I am grateful to them for helping to light my way.

John R. Miller -- 2021 Tour Dates
Fri, July 16 - Decatur, GA - Eddie’s Attic
Sat, July 17 - Huntsville, AL - Sidetracks Music Hall
Sun, July 18 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley
Wed, July 21 - Indianapolis, IN - Duke’s Indy
Thu, July 22 - Newport, KY - The Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary)
Sat, July 24 - Corbin, KY - Hickory’s Hideaway
Mon, July 26 - Thomas, WV - Purple Fiddle
Tue, July 27 - Vienna, VA - Jammin Java Music Club & Cafe
Wed, July 28 - Annapolis, MD - Rams Head On Stage
Thu, July 29 - Middlesboro, KY - Middlesboro Levitt Stage
Fri, July 30 - Lexington, KY - The Burl
Sat, July 31 - Columbus, OH - Rumba Cafe
Sun, Aug 1 - Charleston, WV - Mountain Stage
Sat, Aug 7 - Elkin, NC - Reevestock Music Festival
Sun, Sept 19 - Louisville, KY - Headliners Music Hall*
Tue, Sept 21 - Knoxville, TN - Bijou Theater*
Wed, Sept 22 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel*
Thu, Sept 23 - Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theater*
Sat, Sept 24 - Ashland, KY - Foxfire Music & Arts Festival
Thu, Sep 30 - Denver, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre+

* with Son Volt
+ with Tyler Childers & Margo Price