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Scott Miller and Rayna Gellert

CoDependents – 2012 (Fay Recordings)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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Kickstart Country Standard Time to Nashville

CDs by Scott Miller and Rayna Gellert

Scott Miller's always made an indelible impression, whether at the helm of The V-Roys, the band that first brought him national attention (and the first group signed to Steve Earle's E-Squared Records) or at the reins of his own outfit, the Commonwealth. Lately though, Miller has emerged as a superb solo practitioner, an affable down-home Southern boy whose affinity for his Virginia roots shows up prominently in both his songs and sensibilities.

Miller's current collaboration with fiddler Rayna Gellert, a former member of Uncle Earl and Abigail Washburn's backing band, bears out that assessment. The two met at a Mountain Stage performance and were immediately drawn to common ground. Hence, their five-song EP, aptly titled "CoDependents," finds them easily in sync. While the material comes courtesy of Miller's pen (with the sole exception of Unforgiven, written by Bap Kennedy), the symmetry between the two offers an ideal fit.

Gellert's sturdy fiddle work helps frame these songs with an Appalachian embrace, bringing a gentle cushion to these deeply personal narratives about resilience and reconciliation. Likewise, Miller's material conveys the difficult dilemmas presented by changing times -- the sweet Southern hamlet that's given over to a developer's dream in Lo Siento Spanishburg West Virginia or a common man's struggle to find his way in the world as described in the dark yet determined . Miller's folksy, everyman attitude is also manifest in his easy drawl, a Southern bent that brings to mind Steve Forbert or early Dylan in its cautious sway. Sweet, somber and worldly wise, "CoDependents" is ultimately as poignant as it is profound.