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Jerry Miller

New Road Under My Wheels – 2013 (Signature Sounds)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Jerry Miller

Jerry Miller has been standing in the shadows for some time now, a highly sought after sideman backing musicians such as The Spurs and Eilen Jewell (with and without the Sacred Shakers), among many others. The all-knowing internet seems to have a hard time differentiating between him and the Jerry Miller who was one of the original members of seminal psychedelic band Moby Grape. But the new road under the un-Moby Jerry Miller's wheels just might bring him out of the gloaming and into the spotlight.

It's easy to see why so many musicians want Miller backing them when you hear his blistering guitar picking on instrumental tracks like Round 'Em Up and Travis Express. His style is a combination of rockabilly, western swing, early '60s pop like The Ventures and something uniquely Miller. Hard to classify, but impossible not to keep time with.

And fear not, lyrics lovers, this album is not all instrumental. Miller calls in some talented help on the vocals on several tracks - almost all of them genuine country classics - including the aforementioned Jewell on the Billie Holiday standard What a Little Moonlight Can Do, which brings home why it is that certain songs become standards, as well as some other singers who may not be as well known but should be. Roy Sludge will make you forget all the other versions of the classic Detour (AKA Detour (There's A Muddy Road Ahead)), and that's saying something since it's been recorded by everybody from Ella Fitzgerald to Bill Haley and the Comets. Eric Royer revitalizes the Grandpa Jones chestnut Eight More Miles to Louisville.

If nothing else this record should guarantee that our Jerry Miller will never have to answer the riddle "What's big and purple and lives in the ocean?"