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Farm, weather be damned, Miller plays on

Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass., January 22, 2014

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Scott Miller said after the show that this was not the best time for him to be touring. The alt.-country musician, who was once a member of The V-Roys before embarking on a solo career and leading his own bands over the years, maybe should have been back home in Staunton, Va. tending to his 70-head of cattle, 200-acre home. Not to mention the brittle, cold temperatures in the Boston area on a January night.

Timing be damned because Miller has a few things going for him - he writes really good songs for starters. That was evident from the start with "I Made a Mess of This Town." There is a bit of an erudite factor about Miller with smart, sometimes historically-based songs. One mentioned Ivan the Terrible, not a typical lyrical topic. He also evoked religious imagery in several songs.

Miller had a penchant for changing directions, sometimes simply by playing faster and/or increasing the volume, but only fleetingly because he often would bring the tempo back down. Miller had a knack for pushing the material in the right direction.

Miller also has a warm stage presence, telling a smile inducing story about while in alcohol rehab at a hospital and hearing one of his songs being played in music therapy.

Engaging with the audience, Miller eschewed a rigidity to his set list by taking in a number of requests from the crowd, including "Dear Sarah," yet another well put-together song.

There may have been reasons not venture north, but Miller, fortunately, decided, otherwise.

Area resident Daniel Miller opened with a solid half-hour set. He has a few things in common with the headliner. Miller's from Knoxville, Tenn. where The V-Roys were from, but more importantly he has a penchant for writing real good songs ("Pigtails").

Miller has a full-sounding voice that tends to belie his big-bearded, burly looks on songs