Tag Archives: michael miller

Episode 106: The middle of July in a stocking cap.

Dan Billen, performing with The Billions

I don’t know what the weather’s like in your neck of the woods, but it’s been insanely hot in Raytown this summer. About the only thing worth doing is watching my son play around in the living room and listening to records. Fortunately for us, a ton of great music has been released in the past few months.

I’m occasionally accosted by dudes who want me to play their music on my show. (As if they’ll see a substantial uptick in albums sold, right??) Usually their music is, at best, mediocre. But when Michael Edwards told me to check out his band, I was blown away. Not because it was the best thing I’ve ever heard or that it was something entirely new. No, the band impressed me with how comfortable it feels with itself and the audience. In this episode, I play a song from Genetic Engines’ new EP, Feed My Mind. Please buy it. It’s only four bucks.

I’m also petitioning discerning music lovers to buy Dan Billen’s new EP, Not Alone. Billen is a long-time friend who played bass in The Billions. Since the band broke up, he has quietly sat by as his brother amassed quite a catalog of indie pop. (Truth be known, he and his wife were trying to get their family started, a focus of many of his songs.) Like his best work in The Billions, Not Alone, boasts diverse styles and honest lyrics. Name your price and buy it.

I’m excited to record another episode. It seems like it’s been forever since my last one. I hope you enjoy. (For some reason, WordPress won’t allow me to stream episodes like I used to, so just use the download link at the bottom.)

  1. “Into the Cold” – Genetic Engines (Feed My Mind / independent / 2012)
  2. “When We Come To” – Michael Miller (When We Come To / Shiny Shiny / 2003)
  3. “Flying Backwards” – Doug Gillard (Malamute Jute / Cushion Records / 1998)
  4. “Let a Dreamer Dream” – Dan Billen (Not Alone/ independent / 2012)
  5. “See Right Through Me” – The Bats (Free All the Monsters / Flying Nun / 2011)

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #106 (7/20/12)

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“It feels good to be wanted.”

Michael Miller

Michael Miller

On July 30, Katy and I helped bring intersecting tours to Kansas City for an evening. Michael Roe and Michael Miller came from the West, and Terry Taylor and his band (his son, Andrew, on bass and Steve Hindalong on drums) came from the Southwest. The show was at Harry’s Mug, a storefront church’s coffeeshop in Grandview, a suburb just south of Kansas City proper.

It was my second time running sound for Roe. (The first was a couple years ago on his stop in Olathe on the Roe/Pritzl tour.) I might have had a total fifteen minutes to run through checks with all three guys on a PA system that I was new to. Roe had the shortest, literally plugging in his guitar and singing a line.

I may be wrong, as I wasn’t standing in front of the monitors, but I am confident that Roe and Taylor did not have good mixes. (I especially apologize to Steve, as his microphone was off for the first few songs of Terry’s set.) They played their heart out, nevertheless.

With such large catalogs of work, it is probably difficult to speak to song choice. Taylor did not have a new record, but he was doing his fist solo tour in quite some time. It was probably the first time an audience in Kansas City had an opportunity to hear selections from Mr. Buechner’s Dream, Avocado Faultine or even John Wayne, without making a trek to Cornerstone. That said, I think he did a decent job of trainspotting songs from solo, Daniel Amos, Swirling Eddies and Lost Dogs albums. Roe and Miller, on the other hand, were touring in support of their new records. They played selections from their previous two albums, respectively. Roe’s set was mostly a reclamation of old gospel and blues songs, while Miller cherrypicked songs from each of his albums.

Steve's floor tom and some of his toys

Steve's floor tom and some of his toys

It is probably good to note here just how much Taylor’s rhythm section added to his show. His son, Andrew, filled in very well on the bass. I know that Tim Chandler’s shoes are big, but Andrew seemed to make the parts fit his style. They were typically more simplistic versions of the original bass lines (don’t get me wrong–they still moved around quite a bit), fitting Taylor’s stripped-down approach. And Hindalong was as good as ever. He is one of the best, most tasteful drummers, showing just how much one could make of such a little drum kit. He played with a kick drum, floor tom kettle thing, snare, ride and a chache small toys. While he nailed some of McTaggart’s important fills, he usually simplified all of the parts and made tasteful drumming appear easy.

Anyone who’s seen these guys knows that one of the best parts of their shows is their stories. A couple really stood out to me…

  • Miller talked about his show the night before somewhere in the middle of Kansas. He was standing around before the show when a police officer approached him with some piece of paper in his hand. Jokingly, Miller asked, “Are you here to arrest me?” The officer said yes. He had seen that Miller was performing and had a warrant for his arrest. As it turns out, it was the wrong Michael Miller. He made the best of the awkward situation and told the audience, “It feels good to be wanted.”
  • Taylor introduced “Hide the Beer, The Pastor’s Here” with a story about an old lady at church. She was discussing the evils of alcohol, and he pointed out the fact that Jesus’ first recorded miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding. She replied, “I never like that about him.”
Michael Roe and Terry Taylor

Michael Roe and Terry Taylor

In the past, I have really appreciated Taylor and his literate, thoughtful insights, but he seemed to be full of them at this particular show. Probably the one I have discussed the most was his introduction to “Bibleland.” He talked about a guy who built a Bible-inspired theme park in California. He was obviously about to make fun of the idea in song, but urged us not to be too hasty in our judgments. The Bible says that faith without works is dead, and maybe this guy was acting with the best of intentions. Terry finished his story with, “That’s better than I do a lot of times.”

I promoted, attended and worked sound for a show where I knew I would get plenty of great playing and sarcastic jabs at the religious hoi polloi. (These guys are known for their near-misses in both the christian and mainstream music business. Ironically, when CCM Magazine started its own christian music hall of fame, Taylor’s band Daniel Amos was the first to be enshrined in it.) While the crowd certainly got plenty of silliness, Miller brought transparency, and Roe and Taylor brought history and humility. If anything, they left me with much fodder for conversations with friends.

I tried to write down their setlists while I ran sound. I hope I got them all.

Michael Miller – Lover I Know, Mary, I Made You Up, When We Come To, Carolina Skyline

Michael Roe – I’ll Remember You, Love, In My Prayers, Stranger, Won’t You Change Your Sinful Ways, Jonah In The Wilderness, Smokescreen, Jimmy, Roesbud, You’re Gonna Be Sorry, The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes And The Pride Of Life, The Boat Ashore, Nowhere Else

Terry Taylor – Mall (All Over The World), Shedding The Mortal Coil, Walls of Doubt, Buffalo Hills, Bibleland, Capistrano Beach, Author of the Story (with Roe), Papa Danced on Olvera Street (with Roe), I Had a Bad Experience With the CIA and Now I’m Gonna Show You My Feminine Side, New Car!, Hide the Beer, The Pastor’s Here, You Lay Down

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