Angie Miller

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The Capital Entertainment Guide Angie Miller at Rams Head Onstage in Annapolis, MD

 

 

Meet the Artist
by: Karly Kolaja        What's Up Magazine

Meg Murray and Angie Miller have been performing together for nearly 16 years.

Born out of a mutual interest in music and an old friendship, their pop duo has become a regional sensation. Miller’s bluesy vocals, at times assertive and at others pensive, perfectly complement the soulful and heartfelt tone of Murray’s voice. Their harmonies are tight, and their chemistry is undeniable. And, even with their duo’s success, camaraderie remains its driving force.

“Meg and I have been working together since around 1996,” Miller says. “It’s a ball to be able to play music with one of my closest friends who is also an amazing singer and performer, not to mention the fact that she plays a mean tambourine.”

Miller, on the other hand, attributes her musical expansion to Murray’s guidance. When describing her addition of jazz standards into her set lists, she says, “Meg is the one who first encouraged me to go in that musical direction and I’m really glad I did.” Still, Murray refuses to take all the credit. When speaking about their duo’s success, she stresses that theirs is a collaborative effort. “The ability of an artist to work with friends and people you respect and trust creates a tremendous amount of room for growth, experimentation and fun. Angie is that person for me—to tell me what is cool, what needs work and to encourage me, and to tell me ‘you are not gonna wear that shirt.’” And, in a moment of special graciousness, Murray adds, “Angie is also a very good guitar/music teacher, but shhh—don’t tell her I said that.”

For both Murray and Miller, playing music is a cathartic experience. Although Miller’s current interest lies in telling stories through her songs, her early work focused on her inner life.

“Most of my writing was a reflection of what I was experiencing personally,” she says. Murray describes her songwriting as therapeutic. But, she believes that playing with others is even more beneficial. “I find I am now more interested in the shared experience of a gig, the songs we play and the audience—the fun, the humor, and the excuse to get a babysitter.”

Miller and Murray have long lists of influences. Among Miller’s are artists on her mom’s records—musicians like the Beatles, the Jackson 5, and the Supremes. Murray also attributes her first inspiration to her parents, saying that their favorite artists—among whom are Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Emmylou Harris—probably had an influence. But, true to form, she adds that the people that she’s worked with have been as much of an influence as any of the music to which she’s listened. “Being on stage with talented players helps make you a better musician,” she says.

Miller and Murray have a couple of shows coming up in February. You can catch them at Heroes Pub in Annapolis at 9 p.m. on the 3rd and at Leaky Pete’s in Cambridge on the 17th at 8 p.m. From here, “I just want to keep playing, writing, and recording. I feel blessed to be able making a living doing something that I love,” says Miller, adding, “I also like being an independent artist—running my own business on my own terms. I’ve always seen that as one of the serious perks to this job. And, I get to work with a lot of amazing artists.” Murray replies: “Amen, sister.”

To find out more about Miller and Murray, visit either of their websites: Angiemiller.com and Megmurray.com. Be sure to stay on the lookout for their solo gigs—the 9th at O’Loughlin’s in Arnold, and the 23rd at The Rockfish in Annapolis for Miller and Murray and their performances as part of other duos. Murray plays in Heroes Pub every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. with her longtime partner Bryan Ewald, and Miller performs in a Jazz Duo with either Jim Cunningham or Michael Raitzyk on guitar.

 

Meg Murray, Angie Miller
Ready to Play

By Maria Villafana
washingtonpost.com

Maria Villafana

On Oct. 24 two Annapolis singers (and songwriters) Meg Murray and Angie Miller bring their three-part show to the cozy college town emporium, Andy's in Chestertown.

Backed by a full band (Larry Melton on bass; Ryan Diehl on drums, and an unnamed guest guitarist), Murray starts the evening with a solo set of her urban contemporary tunes. A slender blonde with a voice that just keeps getting better, Murray was approached by producer Timbaland (Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake's new solo release "Justified") a couple of years ago.

She spent time in Manhattan recording with him but the project was shelved. "The deal fell through mainly [due to] timing. I was 30 going up against 18 year olds," says Murray. "I was with the right people, at the right place, at the very wrong time."

The experience did open doors into the world of hip-hop, as well as give Murray insight into the music business and the studio process, which she says was "like going to graduate school."

Once her contract with Timbaland expired and she regained control of her songs, Murray hunkered down in Annapolis with Todd Kreuzburg to produce her fourth album, "Ready," which she released in November 2002 on her own label, Girl Island Productions. The album's title track and "A Lover's Lament" - what Murray describes as the first happy love song she's ever written. "It's a wish" she says - can be heard on her MP3 page.

The second set at Andy's will have Miller fronting the band. A wonderful songwriter whose 2003 release "Play" was recorded live at Sampsons Lounge in Annapolis (with Murray heard on background vocals), Miller established herself through several songwriters series. Her latest takes place every Thursday in November at Chez Lafitte in Easton, just down the street from the historic Avalon Theatre.

Miller's first album, "Ricochet" released by the Big Mo label in 1996, included a cameo from the guitarist Danny Gatton and leaned toward poetic lyrics intertwined with pop rhythms. Her second album was "White Space," a lean acoustic effort Miller describes as "sparse and melancholy reflecting that time in my life." Her latest, "Play," has a fuller and buoyant sound. "At this point I'm really enjoying what I do," says Miller. "I get to work for myself, make music and work with talented people I respect. I feel blessed to be able to do that and that's really what it's about for me now."

Miller's "Swim to Me" and "What's Wrong With Your Mind" - the latter based on a short story written by her father -- can be heard on her MP3 page.

Murray and Miller take on the evening's third set at Andy's together. During these final 45 minutes, original music takes a back seat and the long-time pals swing fearlessly through quirky covers like the B52's "Roam" (we like the harmonies says Murray) and the Knack's "Good Girls Don't" then do something pretty like Bonnie Raitt's "Angel From Montgomery." What comes clear during their duet is that nothing can replace experience and talent when it comes to knowing how to capture an audience.

 

 

Review: Play

Chesapeake Music Guide By Michael Buckley


Angie Miller is back with a triumphant new recording.  Like all the Annapolis players, this CD is a celebration of not only songs, but also musical friendships.  The most pronounced connection is between Angie and good friend Meg Murray, who sings along throughout this eleven-song collection.  The set was recorded live in Annapolis and the performance is polished.  The backing band includes a sultry playing Larry Melton on bass, a laid back Ryan Diehl on drums, and a digital appearance by former Miller producer Topher Sisson.  With the live mix, Angie's strummed acoustic guitar is up front and center.  What is gained in this live recording is the immediacy and richness of Angie's voice and songs.  There is a great Larry Melton bass line on " What's Wrong With Your Mind" and a triumphant climax " We Are"  The whole concert has a natural flow to it, making it the perfect way to take Angie Miller home with you after the show is over.

 


 

After dark:
Put this annual concert on your 'must do' list

By Jessica Pachler

The Capital

Normally the After Dark column focuses on the nightlife activities of the week ahead, not those that have already happened. The majority of this column will be in that vein.

Before I get there, however, I need to tell you a little about the fantastic concert I attended this past Monday, "An Annapolis Christmas." Produced by AM-FM, a non-profit organization created to provide temporary financial relief to professional Annapolis musicians who are unable to perform due to sickness, injury or any other circumstances, the concert, which continued on Tuesday night, featured more 30 local musicians playing the best Christmas music this town has heard since, well, last year's concert.

Playing classic carols played the way you know and love them to brand new songs written just for this show, and everything in between, the musicians on Monday night did a stellar job, putting on a performance that put everyone in the celebratory spirit.

While each performance was amazing, and a highlight in and of itself, there are a few that stand out in my mind - Matt McConville's moving rendition of his "Still Waiting on Santa Claus;" Rob Levit and Jordan Tice's harmonic jazz compilations; Dan and Jim Haas singing my favorite Christmas song, "Gifts We Bring You," written by the elder Haas; Dan and the Unified Jazz Ensemble bringing Vince Gauraldi and Charlie Brown to life; Jimi Haha's poignant and soulful tribute, "The Greatest Gift of All;" the School of Rock students blowing away the crowd with their rendition of "Father Christmas;" Meg and Bryan singing "Do You Hear What I Hear," while Starbelly rocked Baba O'Reilly in the background; the brand new lullaby Angie Miller wrote for her children, which I wanted to remember to sing it to mine; and Dirty City's "Snow Pigs," a combination Christmas carol and Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin cover, sung by a very hardcore Santa.

 

Angie Miller & Meg Murray

FIRST NIGHT ANNAPOLIS

So much can be said about Annapolis' own musical femme fatales. Both are award winning singer/songwriters, and have incredibly beautiful voices which blended together are like marshmallows dipped in butter!

Describing what they play would be simpler if we asked what you want to hear. Their repertoire pretty much covers it. OK, how about pop-rock, folk, R&B, country, jazz�can we stop now?

These ladies have played the east coast, have countless recordings to their credit, and have performed with just about every notable musician in our neighborhood and then some.

They can be heard around town here and often on local, regional, and college radio stations. Simply put, there's no lack of work for these Sirens. We're ecstatic they have time for us!

 

 

Angie Miller:  White Space
Reviewed by: Michael Buckley



 


"White Space", the new CD from Angie Miller, reflects the heart of a singer in her own room, writing and strumming, strumming and writing, simple thoughts, dwelling in the stream of consciousness and daydream. If you've had the opportunity to see Angie perform you'll know the feelings. The new CD "White Space" reminds me of the journal style approach of Roseanne Cash's "10 Song Demo." On a number of songs Angie is lifted higher by some of her (and our) finest musical friends, Jen Smith of Naked Blue and Meg Murray on two songs apiece. The songs become playful when Angie's friends sing harmonies. Six of the ten songs were produced in Annapolis by Steve Alexander (Six String Sailing, Annapolis Christmas). One song is particularly vibrant, perhaps due to a live recording technique employed by longtime collaborator, guitarist/producer Topher Sisson. The final track, which first appeared on Six-String Sailing, is a lush instrumental named after Angie's lovely daughter Maxine and features Larry Melton on bass and Dan Cassidy on violin. I recommend that you go and hang out with Angie Miller on a few of her local dates and then take her home with you in the form of the intimate new CD "White Space."

 

 

 

 
The Scene: at Café Orleans Homemade Wine Begin
By Matthew Thomas Pugh
 

Wine has never been this intoxicating. "Homemade Wine," that is, as the all-lady's jam this past Monday at Café Orleans in Annapolis.

As part of the Annapolis Song Writers Series, Homemade Wine is the second of an occasional series showcasing the talent of women musicians.

Brewed up by Matt McConville, the name rises from Italian roots. "Italians used to make a lot of their own wine at home. It wasn't until I got older that I realized the wine we made, because of the time and love put into it, was always the best," said McConville. "Homemade wine is like homegrown music. It's the best."

From the local musical vine, McConville handpicked some of the best female artists in the area.

Gracing the cozy Cajun/Creole café stage were Angie Miller, Meg Murray, Mary Byrd Brown and Jen Smith. The four sat in a semicircle, each with an acoustic guitar, a mike and her own songs to play. With a quick "let's here it for the ladies" introduction, a musical round-robin began.

Miller led each revolution. There is something about Miller's slightly husky voice that is inviting, even irresistible. She sings like a seasoned siren, stirring up a spicy gumbo of songs she'd composed, some loosely based on stories her father had written. A natural guitarist, Miller strummed with ease through "Here I Go," a strong, inescapable number that she cleverly wove a Temptations "My Girl" tease into.

Next in line was Murray. The least experienced guitarist in the bunch, she announced that she was playing under "extreme duress." Murray made up for what she lacked in technique with what she has in soul, using creative chord progressions. Songs like the cool "Die Slowly" and the heart-wrenching "I Fall" resonated from her black ax like it was haunted. And can she ever sing. Murray has a voice that will bring tears to your eyes and joy to your heart. Not to mention she's got rhythm and solid percussive power.

A high-five spun into Brown. Brown epitomizes the folk singer. Her songs seem to begin with simple ideas and evolve into grand voyages. "Birthday 99" begins with a phone conversation that turns into an epiphany. Her playing style, too, is cathartic. Intense and involved, she barely opens her eyes while playing, all the while hammering her guitar, stomping her feet, twisting and contorting her face like a woman possessed. In between songs, she's soft spoken, flighty even. The crowd seemed taken.

Last, but certainly not least, in the rotation was Smith. A warm, soothing tone of voice made it easy to connect with Smith. Tunes like "When the Sun Shines Here" wrapped the audience in a dreamy world of "salty kisses," "walks in the high tide" and "swimming with the big fish." Smith was impressive on the guitar, she being the only one in the semi-circle woman enough to play leads.

After about an hour of pickin' and a grinnin', the four broke to mingle with a captivated crowd of 50 or more. There was a buzz about how it was a refreshing change to see all women in the spotlight.

Murray explains how jamming with men can sometimes feel like a competition. "The best thing about playing with all women is the sharing," she said. "Sometimes it's nice to have less testosterone and more estrogen on stage." A drink or two later, the relaxed bunch took the stage with a bonus.

Suzanna Mallow, from the Salisbury-based band Redletterday, sat in for Murray to play both guitar and mandolin for the entire second set.

Mallow was an immediate highlight. She rolled up the audience with a "thrash-grass" song that began with the lyrics "I get stoned with my mama every Saturday night."

The round-robin continued for another hour, offering songs that ranged from paradise, love, lost love and fear, to memories, weed and Salvador Dali. Each musician added flavor to each other's songs by strumming along, tapping a tambourine, shaking a shaker or humming. The quartet wrapped things up with a Kate Wolfe cover called "Give Yourself to Love," inviting the audience to join in.

The impromptu show went over with a bang. And the four, knowing it, exited the stage wearing smiles.

"The show was very cool," thought WRNR station general manager Judy Buddensick. "It's nice to see the ladies in this town get some recognition."

When will they return?

"As soon as possible," explained Brown. "We're talking about doing this again very soon, we just aren't sure where and when."

In the meantime, you can request most of these dazzling dames on WRNR 103.1 on your FM dial by calling 410/269-1031. Keep your ears open about up and coming shows at Café Orleans, 125 Hillsmere Dr., Annapolis.

 

 

Alive Magazine Feature Article

 

Local Notes

WAMA (Washington Area Music Association)

Compiled by Maria Villafana

 

Happy about her first Big Mo Records release and looking forward to starting her next album for the label in the late Spring Angie Miller is preparing to go on the road in support of the her album. "Ricochet" released this week to radio and retail was produced by Timm Biery (Danny Gatton). It's a pop/rockish record with a mix of acoustic and electric sounds and held together by Miller's songwriting ability.

Creating the majority of the tracks were Topher Sisson on electric guitar, Jay Turner on bass and Biery on drums. Robert Fiester (Brian Jack), who currently plays lead in the group and with Miller on her duo dates, is not on "Ricochet" as he joined the group after the recording had taken place. However, he does appear on "Angie Miller Acoustic," a live cassette recording of the duo act she recently released to satisfy her public's demand for product, while waiting for "Ricochet" to become available. "I do the rhythm and he does the color. We trade off and cover the parts a band would do," Miller said. The cassette and Miller's current performances include new material which will be included in the upcoming album.

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Nicolas Seaman Comics