John R. Miller announces Amsterdam show in February31-10-2023
John R. Miller belongs to the rare breed of songwriters whose expansive introspection uncovers so many truths about the state of the human condition. On his new album "Heat Comes Down", the West Virginia-raised, Nashville-based artist intimately narrates his sleepless nights and nostalgic daydreams, existential dread, and nuanced observations of the troubled world around him. But while a number of its songs convey a certain unease, Miller endlessly imparts the kind of lovely reassurance that can only come from shared catharsis. “Whenever I’ve got a lot of thoughts bouncing around my head, alchemizing that energy into something creative helps take the gravity out of them and quiets them down for a while,” says Miller. “For me this album is largely about anxiety in many forms: the things that cause it, what it causes in turn, and the moments of clarity in between. Listening back to it now, most of the songs seem like they’re trying to answer the questions I’ve been asking myself.”
The follow-up to his 2021 Rounder Records debut Depreciated—an album hailed by SPIN for its “refreshingly raw honesty, reflectiveness, and the undeniable beauty in discovery and growth”—Heat Comes Down finds Miller teaming up with producers Andrija Tokic and John James Tourville (both known for their work with artists like Sunny War and The Deslondes). Over a series of sessions at The Bomb Shelter (Tokic’s Nashville studio), Miller joined forces with several members of his longtime live band (drummer John Clay Burchett, guitarist J. Tom Hnatow, fiddle player Chloe Edmonstone) as well as musicians like bassist Craig Burletic and Jeff Taylor (a multi-instrumentalist whose credits include Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello).
With its understated but gorgeously detailed convergence of country and folk-rock, Heat Comes Down hits with a potent impact despite its exquisite intricacy—a dynamic suited to an artist whose background includes playing in punk bands in high school and touring as a member of an old-time string band in his 20s. “I think the feeling in the room heavily contributes to the feeling of a record, and that room was full of people I love very much,” Miller points out. “We all felt free to open up and fool around and experiment with different ideas, which helped us create something that hopefully feels warm and inviting to everyone.”
Miller hopes that Heat Comes Down might ultimately provide his audience with something of a salve. “As much as this record is about anxiety and fear and trepidation, I think it’s also about love,” he says. "My hope is that there's some universality in the specifics of the songs, and that people find comfort in knowing that someone else feels just the same way they do.”
In February John R. Miller comes to Amsterdam: