This past year has been one of extremes for singer-songwriter and bandleader Jason Miller. His artistry continues to reach higher levels; in fact, that was literally the case with the recent live album he recorded on the roof of the Loft music venue. (Yes, he's a Beatles fan.)
But he and his family were also among those whose homes were leveled in the Black Forest Fire. While music has offered some solace in the disaster's aftermath, it's likely to be a while before the experience finds its way into his songwriting.
"It'd be so clichéd to run out and write a bunch of songs about it," says Miller. "I started toying around with one, but I just shelved the whole thing. You know, I've got some ideas, but it's gonna take time."
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Meanwhile, he's planning on recording a new studio album with his band. Bill Douglass, who recorded his 2008 Past Due album, will once again be at the production helm, and the singer-songwriter is excited to capture the live feel of his current band in the studio.
"I write specifically for that band and that sound," says Miller of his group's knack for combining tight arrangements without sacrificing emotional impact. "That's what I love about this collection of musicians. They're just so about the music and playing together."
2nd place: Joe Johnson
3rd place: Changing Colors