It might not be immediately obvious from the tender chords he strums or the mellow beats that stride through his folky songs, but Austin Miller, as a musician, is as spontaneous as they come.
For one, Miller’s interest in music emerged seemingly out of nowhere. Not only was he a little too young—his parents struggled to secure a piano instructor willing to teach a three year old—but his inclination seemed contrary to his bloodline. Musical ability rarely shows up in his family tree, but along with his two brothers, the three are well-versed in a long list of instruments.
For More Than One Way, his second self-released record, Miller wrote and recorded wherever and whenever he could. Some songs came to Miller in the middle of the night while his roommates were asleep, others while working a vast array of odd-jobs while not on tour. The album took over eleven months to record as he toured relentlessly, and was done entirely on his laptop computer. More Than One Way sounds as diverse as it should, especially emotionally. The title track’s rambling rhythm and swooning horns create a musical mood that matches its hopeful, inspiring lyrics. Others, though—such as the matched pair “Moving On” and “Moving Along”—reflect the rainiest Monday morning in a dismal city. Still, despite its ragtag production and many moods, the record feels as consistent as if he had recorded it all in a single studio in a single day.
In many cases, spontaneity kills consistency and focus. But for Miller, his willingness to write and record and tour unconventionally—his deference to his own art—gives his music a genuineness that is not often expressed or recorded. “More Than One Way” is not only the meticulous byproduct of the this, but a demonstration of its mastery.
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