Dean Miller

Dean Miller – 1997 (Capitol)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

CDs by Dean Miller

Sons who follow in the footsteps of famous fathers often face a no-win situation: whether they adopt a similar way of doing things or go in a different direction, they tend to be judged in light of what their daddies did.

On his debut release, however, Dean Miller's problem isn't that he's overshadowed by the legacy of daddy Roger, but that he doesn't do enough to distinguish himself from the fare typical of major-label and radio-play Nashville these days.

The album is an uneven mix of the interesting andthe generic: for every honky-tonker like "Wake Up and Smell theWhiskey," there's an overwrought pop ballad like "I Used to Know Her;"for every swinging shuffle like "I Feel Bad" (introduced by Ralph Emeryannouncing that "You're listening to good music recorded in the countryand western style, here on Capitol Records;" it's unlikely that the listeneris really meant to think that what's preceded this track was not countryand western, but that's the unintentional implication of the intro), there'sthe shallow, formulaic wordplay of "My Heart's Broke Down But My Mind's Made Up;" for every complex take like "The Running Side of Me," there's the faux-ruralities of "Nowhere USA." There are a handful of worthy tunes here, but not enough to make Miller stand out from the crowd.