MP3 Kim Miller - Risk of the Roar
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12 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, POP: Folky Pop
Risk of the Roar
Austin-area singer/songwriter Kim Miller used half a dozen different studios, from Nashville to Santa Fe, to record her new album, âRisk of the Roar.â But the physical space she covered to get it done was nothing compared to the space in time it took. Eleven years have flown by since Miller released her debut album, 1996âs âChild of the Big Sky.â
Her explanation for the intermission is simple: âLife intervened. Sometimes we are called off one path for another. But it really doesnât matter. I made this album because of my diversions.â
Of course, the events themselves were far more than âdiversions.â Not long after that albumâs release, she chose to put aside her budding music career (which included performing at venues from the Cactus Café to the Kerrville Wine & Music Festival mainstage) to take on âa beautiful responsibility to somebody I loved dearly who needed me.â That was her aging grandmother, whose image as a young girl on horseback graced the cover of Millerâs first album. Then she faced her own health issue: a life-threatening illness from which she has since recovered.
âIt startled me into realizing how important it was to return to my music,â Miller says of that experience. âI couldnât be frozen anymore.â So she cashed in her retirement, rearranged her priorities and took a leap of faith. âRisk of the Roarâsâ title song, and thematic center, comes from that courageous plunge. Miller says of the song, âItâs about the risk of reclaiming yourself from a cornered existence, suppressed creativity, expired loveâ¦ about embracing both the uncertainty and opportunity of that risk.â
The music Miller creates is ethereal, but not lost in the clouds. Her melodies are sensuous, playful, haunting, and laced with stirring detail like the âLast Lightâ interlude between Nashville player Josh Dubinâs pining pedal steel and Austin/Nashville music vet Cam Kingâs aching Gretsch guitar. The rich tones of each instrument and the sterling quality of Millerâs voice create lush textures on which she imprints her deeply intimate lyrics. In âI Still Believe,â she sings, âHope dies hard for fools like me/I always pay a price/So much tragic comedy/Itâs my virtue, itâs my vice./OK, I fly but I donât run/Show me whereâs the harm/If I wanna curl up like a question mark/Underneath your arm.â
Immaculately co-produced by Marvin Dykhuis (Tish Hinojosa), Miller and Cam King (Roky Erickson, The Explosives), âRisk of the Roarâ features a dozen of Millerâs original compositions, sung in her finely-nuanced voice and supported by a rich ensemble of Austin, Nashville and New Mexico musicians. They include Dykhuis and King, Glenn Fukunaga, Paul Pearcy, Warren Hood, Andrew Hardin, Tammy Rogers, Josh Dubin and Jeff Taylor. Miller traveled to New Mexico to record backing vocals from two of her favorite singer/songwriters: Tommy Elskes and Vince Bell. Mark Hallman mixed and mastered the album at Congress House Studios.
Millerâs own musical influences range from Joni Mitchell (âif Joni had been raised in West Texas,â one critic said), the Finn Brothers and Patty Larkin to Mary Hopkins and Marty Robbins; her non-musical inspirations include poet Pablo Neruda, novelist Gustave Flaubert and famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. (The Gulf Coast-born Miller, a dive master since 1980, used to escort diving tours to some of the worldâs most remote and exotic destinations. She once considered a career as a SCUBA instructor before her muse won out.)
âIâve enjoyed a number of passionate pursuits in my life, but none so fulfilling as writing and singing. Itâs a joy to come back to the stage,â says Miller. âWhen your music is as intimate and revealing as mine, the spotlight can be a risky place. But itâs a rewarding riskâ
Just like all the others she took to get here.
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