by David Michael Miller
(Reissue -- Now in vinyl)
Reviewed by Cecil Davis
After just one listen to the CD four years ago I knew why over 85 radio stations worldwide have aired this first solo release by David Michael Miller. I have played and enjoyed this terrific CD numerous times and it never get old! David's wonderfully soulful voice is incredible…with a to-die-for falsetto…used to great effect, and so sparingly, as to be an unexpected and enjoyable treat each time he employs it.
POISONS… is one of the best CDs I’d heard in years. David’s incredible talent as a tunesmith and lyricist shine through on the first song, Hand Me Downs. The opening guitar riffs and hand clapping, plus the fine lap steel of Darick Campbell sets the tone for the lyrical message: "what’s wrong about guns being used as revenge for same." Serena Young and Jasmine Neeley add backing vocals here and on Edge of the End of the World, and Memphis Belle.
Edge…. is especially danceable and features some of Buffalo's finest musical talent --- Jim Ehinger on keys and Barry Arborgast on sax. Chuck Campbell adds his marvelous pedal steel to Memphis… a poignant ballad, which has Ashely Brown joining Young and Neeley for backing vocals. These three women also lend their beautiful voices to Spent, where Chuck’s pedal steel is perfect for a song whose tempo, beat and lyrics are so insistent.
The simple journey described in Carolina Bound can be both healing and pleasurable. One need only pay attention to the details of items seen between points A and B of this trip to "find" the beauty in those details.
The tune Careless is very delta-esque sounding....with just the haunting accordion of LeRon Zydeco's Ron Davis as a backdrop to David's exquisite slide on acoustic guitar: easy to imagine it having been written in the 1930s by a buddy of Robert Johnson.
David's skill as a producer is revealed throughout, especially on Moonshine, Diggin' On Bill, and Once. These tunes feature the smoothe tones from the trumpets of Stephen Jacob McLean, Jr. Sure see why David used him in the studio, as well as these others: Jason Moynihan (sax), Jesse Miller (keys/organ), and the rhythm section of Daric Bennett on bass guitar & Carlton Campbell, who with his two brothers Chuck and Darick, are four members of the black pentecostal gospel group The Campbell Brothers Band from Rochester, New York.
My two favorites here: Moonshine and Diggin' On Bill. If Steve Miller, Dave Brubeck, the band Chicago, and Buffalo legend Rick James were thrown into a studio and challenged, I feel the end result might resemble David's song, Diggin' On Bill! But I would bet money on Diggin'.
Moving On and Extraordinary close this fine dozen, the latter which accurately describes the CD "POISONS SIPPED", and David himself! David's newest band Miller and Other Sinners recently performed this CD in its entirety at Buffalo's Cafe to an very appreciative nearly full house. Sure glad I was there!! The CD is being reissued in vinyl and I have two copies on order.
Available at: firstname.lastname@example.org