Michael Miller performs at JustGoods Aug. 27

August 25, 2010

From press release

Southern California troubadour Michael Miller will perform an all-ages show at JustGoods, 201 Seventh St., Rockford, Friday, Aug. 27. Doors open at 6 p.m. and show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

I Made You Up, Miller’s second full-length album, was released in the fall of 2009. He describes the recording process of I Made You Up as “effortless,” thanks to the group of elite luminaries involved.

“They’re mostly old friends who all know each other and also happen to be some of the most talented players in L.A.,” Miller said. “I feel remarkably fortunate to have had them on this project.”

The cast includes drummer Brendan Buckley (Damien Rice, Shakira), bassist Dan Rothchild (Fiona Apple, Sheryl Crow, Beck), pedal steel guitarist Eric Heywood (Ray LaMontagne, The Pretenders, Son Volt), keyboardist Patrick Warren (Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Tom Waits, Sam Phillips), guitarist Lyle Workman (Jellyfish, Beck, Sting), B3/keyboardist Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters, The Wallflowers), lap steel guitarist Ben Peeler (The Wallflowers, Jim White), cellist and violinist Stevie Blacke (Beck, Madonna, Snoop Dogg) and guitarist Mike Roe (The 77s).

I Made You Up was recorded at Elliott Smith’s studio, New Monkey Studios, in Van Nuys, Calif.

“I was a huge fan of Elliott, so I was pretty excited that we got to use all of Elliott’s crazy mics and analog gear that he freakishly collected,” Miller said.

I Made You Up was produced by Miller and Buckley, co-produced by Joe Ongie, engineered by Mike Terry (Foo Fighters, The Eagles) and mixed by Ryan Freeland (Aimee Mann, Crowded House, Jakob Dylan, Son Volt, Rodney Crowell, Joe Henry).

Miller has been touring the U.S. and U.K., and has shared the larger stage with the likes of Daniel Lanois, Pete Yorn, Ron Sexsmith, Tracy Bonham, Duncan Sheik, Shawn Mullins and Tom Morello.

Miller wrote his first songs at the tender age of 6.

“My best friend and I would make up these silly theme songs about all the kids in the neighborhood,” Miller said. “They were sometimes cruel but extremely hilarious—at least to the minds of 6-year-olds—and we would get the rest of the kids to sing along.”

These days, Miller’s secret muse for inspiration now comes from his ongoing habit to go exploring in other countries.

“It became an annual tradition and sort of my drug of choice,” Miller said. “Besides the sweet freedom and built-in surprise of a new, faraway world, I just love getting lost, literally, in strange lands, hanging with the locals, the natives, and seeing how they live. It’s sort of like soul mining. I get to go dig for beauty and truth in other people’s back yards, and the discoveries and treasure-finds typically end up in my songs in some way.”

When Miller is not out trotting the globe, you’ll find him drawing “little doodles,” as he calls them, for several different international greeting card lines.

“I still have a line with Hallmark,” Miller said. “At one point, they fired some of their best art directors and VPs, then axed my line, saying they were ‘reassessing their taste guidelines’ and thought my work was too irreverent or inappropriate. They then asked if I would be willing to draw for their writers and editors on another line. I agreed, but insisted that I use my pseudonym, which was, in fact, my ‘porn star name.’ You know that game? I still get a kick out of seeing my ‘porn star’ byline in mainstream card racks.”

For more about the show, contact Dori Kearney at JustGoods at (815) 965-8903.

From the Aug. 25-31, 2010 issue

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