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MP3 Ian Miller - BLUES: Acoustic Blues

Acoustic guitar and dobro instrumentals that buzz the emotions, mind and spirit

12 MP3 Songs
BLUES: Acoustic Blues, JAZZ: Crossover Jazz

Show all album songs: Ian Miller Songs


04/10/07 :"I have included here an outline of the songs on my LP and have followed that with my CV. I thank you for giving me your time for reading this information. "

LP : what these songs mean to me ....


1. “NUBILITY” : I have always loved Latin Music and especially that of the rhytms of Tango and Bossa …. it may be a hangover of the music that my parents used to listen to in the late 1950’s : Antonio Carlos Jobim and others. This song is a dedication to women in general and was written underneath a friends house whilst we were setting up a microphone to record the solo acoustic guitar that it was originally intended to be. The song sounded better with the maraccas and percussion and so a “band: song it became. The solo uses a combination of pick and fingers to play the faster arpeggios and D Dorian mode is the predominant scale used to produce the sound of the solo. This Mode is. I suppose, the sort of Mode that will produce a sweet, yet not too sweet, melodic feel to a solo and is a popular Mode to use in this genre of music. The rhythm guitar is relatively straight although I use some slight “rasguedo”-type strums in the solo : these are used to produce a more Latin sound and to push the solo on a bit. I sequenced the backing using Logic Audio (v. 5.5.1) and the song was recorded and mixed at Albert Studios by Bruce Brown using Nuendo as the software mixer.

2. “HOBO” : The song started out life as a riff (the opening riff) written for my pupils to train the Right Hand and its coordinated use of pick and fingers. At the time of writing I had been reading a book called “Bound For Glory” about the life of the great American folksinger Woody Guthrie and his life in the Great Depression in the USA, so this piece is a dedication to the blues and folk singers of this time. The riff is a blues, but the Right Hand fingers that are to be used can vary between : 2,3 & 4, or, if using a thumb-pick: +, 12&3.. Those who are familiar with Merle Travis, Lenny Breau,Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins, Tommy Emmanuel and others will be familiar with this style … we guitarists fondly call it “boom-chick” as the constant bass then fingers gives it this sound. The origins of this guitar style go back to the Girls who came up with it, and to whom we guitar players are deeply in debt : I refer of course to Memphis Minnie and Etta Baker. “HOBO” is a staple of my live repertoire.

3. “THE SIDEWALK WALTZ” : the inspiration for this song is somewhat embarrassing as I got the idea from seeing myself coming out of a Hotel in Bondi Junction (in New South Wales, Australia) one afternoon in 1984 after a particularly enthusiastic session … I saw my reflection in a shop window over the road and it looked as if I was waltzing my way down the street rather than walking, hence the Sidewalk Waltz. However, I originally wrote it for a jazz trio using piano, upright bass and drums, but there weren’t any around when I came to look at it seriously, so I rearranged it for solo guitar. Once again it is pick and fingers and some awkward moments to be had regarding the left-hand fingerings. I am a devotee of the late and great guitar maestro ,author and teacher George Van Eps, and the year this was written (1993) was one in which I had been digesting his left hand ideas, the result was that I had lost respect for a number of fingering methods I had previously used. The main theme in this song is actually the bass and the harmonies are the supporting accompaniment. I later stopped drinking (1988) but keep playing the song as a memory of forgotten years with John Barleycorn.

4. “A FANTASIE ON ROLLING AND TUMBLING” : this is my dedication to my musical inspirations : Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Keith Richards and JS Bach. Now you might be wondering where the last two gentlemen fit in, but it is from Keith Richards that my love of all things “Blues” comes from. When I was a young musician starting to learn in far off Melbourne, Australia, we didn’t have direct access to US Blues records …. In fact, virtually no one had heard the form. So when I started listening to the Rolling Stones, they had people on the records that had different names (eg. Waters / Morganfield, Elias McDaniels, Berry etc.) and when I started to investigate (at age of 12) I found Chicago Blues first in the form of the Chess Series : “Chicago, the Blues Today” and this gave me Little Water Jacobs, Buddy Guy, BB King, and a host of others. The same investigation of these records then led back to the Delta and to Eddie “Son” House, Leadbelly, Lightning Hopkins and Robert Johnson. JS Bach has had a major effect on me and the evidence is in the running 1/16th-note lines that join phrases and sections in this song. This song is written on Dobro for slide and finger-style guitar players. The tuning is Open G and the notes for this tuning are (from 6th string to 1st string): D G D G B D. This tuning gives the very distinct “Brown Sugar” / “Honky Tonk Woman” – type sound that Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones employ, among others, and this is borne out throughout the song. The recording was done in my studio using Logic Audio (v. 5.5.1) on an AKAI S3000XL and using a Neumann TLM103 microphone. The Dobro played is a Regal single cone model.
04/10/ 07: I am pleased with the sound on this. I am a student of the art of recording and have many books on the great Producers and Engineers of recording History. Such people as Sir George Martin (Beatles and Abbey Road Studios) and Sam Phillips (Elvis Presley/Johnny Cash/Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins to name a few) of Sun Studios in Memphis are as inspirational as the musicians that they record.
The basic principles of good recording: good musician + good instrument + good microphone + good microphone placement + good room in which to record is a principle that is lost to many. The room in which one records is essential to a good sound. Have a listen to Phil Spectors records (e.g. River Deep and Mountain High by Ike and Tina Turner, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers) recorded at Gold Star Studios. You will hear a wall of sound that emphasises the placement of microphones and the acoustic qualities of the room in which the song is recorded. The advent of home recording and the ease of “Loop” based recording on computers means that now more than ever is the time to revise the basic principles of the recording art in order to get away from the “cheesy” sound that I hear from lots of computer made records. There is nothing wrong with using digital recorders, they are wonderful, and finally good recording is financially possible for all …. BUT, don’t discard the principles of recording that got us great records in the first place. Atlantic Records started out their great hit making recordings by pulling back the office desks at night and making great big fat hits (Ray Charles etc.) with ONE microphone.

5. “TALES OF THE MARSH” : this song (written in 1997) is my memories of my childhood. My family lived opposite the Yarra River (Melbourne, Australia) and the river flats (ie. marshes) was a magnet for me as a young fellow and I would tramp up next to the river for miles. The sound of early morning with the river on its banks, the birds calling and the wind through the rushes has stayed with me in a memory lock of happy times. The song was sequenced at home but recorded at Tiger studios by Bruce Brown. The harp is played by Marshall Maguire and the rest (apart from the guitars) is using samples. The guitars used are a Maton acousic and a Taylor (412CE) acoustic for the harmonics in the middle. The song is basically in 3 sections : the start is the early morning next to the river, then the wind comes in; we used to collect tadpoles from puddles and the rain would start gently (the harmonics) and get heavier (we would run) and then stop (the waltz section); this is then followed by the first section again. The idea of the composition of this song is to produce a child’s feeling of play and a dream-like quality without breaking the boundaries of musical complexity but all the while maintaining the flow of the memories that time holds for me. The very last descent played by flutes is reminiscent for me of so many childrens’ melodies / pieces (eg. “Peter and the Wolf” by Sergei Prokofiev; “79 Piano Pieces for Children” by Bela Bartok) and was written to convey a “young finality”.

6. “RATHOUSE ROMANCE” : The old saying “may you live through interesting times” is the inspiration for this piece…. I have, and when I wrote this music it was with the various “mind sets” (or “mindless sets”) that one can move through in one’s life and the people that you meet on the way up, or down, as maybe the case. This is a jazz piece written (in 1993) for a combination of right hand movement from pick-fingers to just pick, and then introduces right hand tapping : this produces technical challenges to the player as it involves both right hand angle changes at speed (from pick and fingers in the verse themes, to the second parts of the verse), and, hand positional changes at speed (ie. when the right hand tapping is played in the section after the verse). I have always liked Jazz Master Guitarsist Joe Pass and this piece is reminiscent of his style: a Gibson 175 hollow body arch-top played acoustically. I used to own one in the early 1970’s but a period of poverty forced me to sell it …I have never gotten over the loss of that guitar. This is a Modal tune based around C Major and moves from substituting the iii chord (Em) to E major during the verse. This tune is also a staple of the live show and was recorded at home using a Washburn semi-acoustic nylon string guitar through the Neumann TLM103 mike.

7. “THE HOUSE IN FOOLHARDY STREET” : in my early 20’s (around 1974 …. ) I was living in a pantry and going through one of those musical “explosions” that happen in one’s musical life. Practicing 6 – 8 hours a day and gobbling up the music of John McLaughlin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sergei Prolofiev and Maurice Ravel. I read a lot philosophy and the lives of great musicians (“Chasin’ the Trane” by J.C. Thomas, “Bird Lives” by Ross Russell etc.), actors (“Harpo Speaks” by Harpo Marxetc. ), artists (“The Agony and the Ecstasy”,“Lust for Life” about Michelangelo and Vincent Van Gogh). This doesn’t mention music books that went around to the seriuos musician in those days : “20th Century Harmony” by Vincent Persechetti, The David Baker Books and “Lydian Chromatic Concept” by George Russell , amongst others), and I was reading books such as "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and Clarke Ashton Smith / H.P. Lovecraft fantasies. Now there was a house in the street that we lived when I was a kid and no-one ever seemed to show themselves, and try as we might, my mates and I could never spot them. The time was a very hot summer and the heat lay languid on the roof and all were sweltering and this house lay silent and mysterious and I remember walking into my pantry room and picking up the guitar I had at the time (the Gibson 175 …. I sold it during an “interesting time”) and playing the opening chords…. the song wrote itself in about 5 minutes as the impression of this house and its “feeling” was so strong. The recording on my CD was engineered by Greg Simmons and Assisted by Glen Santry and wonderfully recorded on a Nagra Tape Recorder at Saint Patricks Chapel, Manly, Australia. The reverb in the Chapel was wonderful and the chords at the end of the “solo” seem to hang on forever. The musical structure is basically a blues in A with the “solo” being an improvisation on A Mixolydian mode; the guitar used was a Washburn nylon string cutaway guitar.

8. “ANIMAL FARM” : there are 3 versions of this song which was originally written as a teaching exercise for my students to train independence between pick (or thumb) and fingers. The basic exercise can be heard behind the themes in all the verses and it is a 12 bar blues in the Key of E that has influences in Bluegrass (I had been listening to Doc Watson,Jerry Douglas and The Dave Grisman Quintet with Tony Rice) and the flatpickers from the USA. The wonderful Piano Accordion is played by the Croatian Master Kemo Bunguric and the backing sequences were an amalgum between Bruce Brown and myself. The backings were recorded at Tiger Studios and the solos done at Wax Studios. The guitars used were : for the backings a Maton Tommy Emmanuel model, and for the solos and themes a Martin 1968 flat top. A Transcription of the backing is found at the end of my “Guitar Manual 2” book that can be obtained through https://www.tradebit.com ….soon, as I am having the devil’s own trouble finding an online music reseller. The guitar solos are basically using E Mixolydian Modes but with chromatics and flattened 3rds as well …. This is not a teaching paper, but some call it a Major blues with a Minor Blues : I call the overall scales an “overlay” ie. overlaying an E Pentatonic Minor scale on a C#m Pentatonic scale (ie. Mode 2 of this scale is Mode 1 of E Pentatonic Major).. If you wish to know further, the Lesson 11 in “Guitar Manual 2” explains it all.

9. “THE DANCER IN THE TOMB” : a nice morbid little piece to raise the mood from my overly vivid imagination, so picture this : you are in a desert on another world / time / place and it is midnight ….you are by yourself and you come across an ancient tomb. You spy the entrance to the tomb and of course you go through it (doesn’t everyone?) into a series of descending steps into a cavern of utter dark, the only light of which is coming from a wraith that has risen from a sarcophagus at the far end of the cavern. The wraith seems to weave its way towards you from side to side and it is slow and ancient and altogether otherworldly. It is utterly silent. The wraith moves around you and then goes back from whence it came and you are left alone to ponder … got it? Well this is what you get from reading too many scary novels. Anyway, it makes for nice reading but the music was recorded in Saint Patricks Chapel again by Greg Simmons and Glen Santry using microphone techniques similar to those used by US Engineer David Chesky and we tried to get the idea of movement by me moving around the mikes whilst playing. The beginning of the song has me walking slowly from the back of the chapel towards and around the mikes and so does the solo and then I move back again at the end of the song. The Song is written in Em and was played on the Washburn Nylon string acoustic, and the effect of the panning is best heard when listening through headphones.

10. “THE SILVERLODE” : this is a dedication to the feeling I got when I encountered the Silverlode Stream that runs into Lothlorien in “The Lord Of The Rings”. The book has been with me for life and the song was an experiment using a different to normal open tuning. I wanted to get a really sweet sound that conveyed a “soft message on the wind” (hmmmm) and so I arrived at an Amajor9 tuning ( from 6 to 1 : E A E G# B E) and I think it does it. The song was written in the early 1990’s when there was a lot of experimentation with acoustic tunings and Artists such as the late Michael Hedges were making their mark : it was a fertile time for the advancement of the acoustic guitar in https://www.tradebit.com recording of the song was the wonderful work of engineer Colin Freeman at the then Albert’s Studios and the guitar was a Maton “Phil Manning” model from about 1979 … the guitar was direct fed into an MCI multitrack desk and then into an MCI Multitrack tape recorder using BASF 900 tape and the echo used was an Eventide.

11. “RATTLE MY BONES” : I do love a shuffle and this is a combination of the dobro styles of Muddy Waters and my love of Scottish Bagpipe reels (actually it is really the whole Celtic melodic approach). The Dobro is tuned in Open G and combines thumb-pick and fingers, although the runs in certain sections require the Right Hand to play in a stricter classical i-m-a-m-i style alternation. This poses problems for those who have been playing with only a pick , or the boom-chick style players who may not have used the fingers only approach. These runs occur during the lines across strings that join the “verses” and require strict alternation to make the runs smooth. I have always loved Scottish and Irish line dancers and the music to which they dance (ie. Celtic): this song is really influenced by that style. The song was written in 2004 and recorded at Wax Studios and the guitar was positioned in the kitchen area, hence the slight “room sound” of the Dobro.

12. “SEVENTH MOON” : this song was written in about 1976 by my then band mates Andrew Vance (piano) and Paul Langford Lever (vocals). The singer, Paul Lever, was killed later and this is my dedication to his memory. I first heard it in a small rehearsal room above a music shop in Box Hill, an outer suburb of Melbourne (Australia), and I loved the melody the moment I heard it. I rearranged the song after 20 years and added strings / brass and winds as well as conveying a feeling of the origination of the song. At the time it was written, our band (Langford Lever) were heavily into Science Fiction and the whole Tolkien / Michael Moorcock (“Stormbringer”) and sword and sorcery was in https://www.tradebit.comre were words to this song written by Paul Lever and , if my memory serves me correctly, the first verse went something like this :

“The Captain of the Boat,
he cried,
there’s a crack out there upon the sea,
we sailed through a night of weeks,
the hours were in days,
we are going through,
A Seventh Moon ….”

I wish I could remember the rest of the words, and that we had a vocal from Paul, but it was not to be. The song is in Em and its production is unashamedly influenced by that of King Crimson, Yes, the Rolling Stones etc… the chord at the end of the solo is to signify and ending of lassitude that the solo conveys…. it is heavily influenced by the last chord in “A Day in the Life” from Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. The guitars used were a Maton Tommy Emmanuel Acoustic for the backing / main guitar, the solo was done on a Washburn Semi Acoustic nylon string cutaway guitar and the sequencing was done in Logic Audio *v.5.5.1. The song was recorded at Tiger Studios by Bruce Brown.


Guitarist / Singer

Solo Guitarist : Club Acoustica (La Bar), Excelsior (Surry Hills), Bat and Ball,Northpoint Tavern, Harbourside Brasserie,Darling Harbour, Jones Harbour Cruises, Rose of Australia,The Iguana Bar, Arncliffe Hotel, Manly Surf Club, Excelsior (Glebe) , Annandale Hotel, East Coast Blues and Roots Festival (2002),Lansdowne Hotel, Zamis Cafe,3 Weeds Hotel,The Hollywood Hotel, Mooney Mooney Workers Club,North Coast Blues Festival, The Basement, The Gaelic Club, ....
John Paul Young’s ‘All Star Band’ ...1978-1981 : South Africa tours 1978,1980...Australian tours 1978-1981, Fleetwood Mac “The Rumours” Tour of Australia 1981 (with John Paul Young), played guitars on the “ Love is in the Air” and “Heaven Sent” Albums ...appeared on T.V. shows including “The Paul Hogan Show”, “Ray Martin Show”,“Countdown”, “Hey, Hey,It’s Saturday”,”The Don Lane Show”, Myer Music Bowl Shows Sydney Opera House New Years Eve 1983,“Sounds”.
Other Gigs : “GTK” TV (Langford Lever,Self, Gerry Humphries “Joy Band”), “The Concert of the Decade” (with Stevie Wright (The Easybeats) and Doug Parkinson; “Countdown“
(with Chetarca, Cheetah);”“Bass Player Magazine 5th Anniversary Show” (CD released 1996)at the NAMM Show, Anaheim ,USA https://www.tradebit.comh Verdine White (Earth,Wind and Fire) and Randy Jackson (Bruce Springstein Band, Madonna); Sunbury Pop Festivals 1970, 1971 with Langford Lever; Narrara Pop Festival (with the Willies); “Long Live The Lead Break” with Frank Gambale ( Chick Corea) Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Steely Dan,The Doobie Brothers), Joe Walsh (The Eagles) (MTV show with “Long Live the Leadbreak”).
Session musician for John Paul Young, Darryl Braithwaite, Stevie Wright, Jon English, John Farnham, Flash and the Pan, Cheetah, Doug Parkinson, Ted Mulry, The Moir Sisters, Bobby Limb, Mary Bradfield, Simplex 2, Alan Lancaster (Status Quo), Kelly Gang (Hoodoo Gurus / Midnight Oil members), Tex Perkins....
Started playing guitar 1964
Ibanez Clinician and Endorsee :1995 - 1998 . Australian Clinic Tours for Ibanez Guitars
Supports include : Alan Holdsworth and Midnight Oil (Self); Daddy Cool (Australian Tour 1969),Electric Light Orchestra, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (with Langford Lever).
WAX Music : founded in 1996 : Publishing, Tuition and Recording
Wax Music Books : ( International distribution by Warner / Chappell Music) writes and Publishes“Rock Guitar Manual 1” , “Rock Guitar Manual 1 CD - ROM” , “Guitar Manual 2” and “5 Easy Pieces”, “Chord Sticker Pack” for Wax Music Books 1997 - 2000.
WAX Records : release of “Ian MIller” self-titled CD and DVD in 2005 through WAX Records
Australian Record Producer of the Year 1974 : worked as House Producer / A & R for EMI (1969 to 1974); Albert Productions with Harry Vanda and George Young ( The Easybeats ).Produced hits for “The Moir Sisters”, “Coloured Balls”, Jim Keays, Fantasy, Dallimore, Stevie Wright ;Independant Production for Warner Music (“Stuart and MacKay”, “Chetarca”, “Dove”) Sony (“Street Angel”),Razzle Records (through Festival Records) “The Australian Guitar Album”.
Guitar and Music Business Teacher since 1974: Eastside Music, Private Tuition, JMC Academy 1994 to 2004 (Head of Music Business Management Department).
Education :
a) Classic Guitar under German Guitarist Josef Rueker at the Melba Conservatorium of Music for 3 years 1976 - 1979
b) Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) : Melbourne University (1974).
c) Master of Music (Composition) : (2004 -) The Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Contact : https://www.tradebit.com
PO Box 1249, Nth. Fitzroy, Victoria , 3068, Australia
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