Articles and Reviews
Entertainment Guide Angie Miller at Rams Head Onstage in Annapolis, MD
Meet the Artist
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
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,
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
Oct. 24 two Annapolis singers (and songwriters)
Angie Miller bring their three-part show to the cozy college
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
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
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.
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.
Put this annual concert on your 'must do' list
By Jessica Pachler
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
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 &
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!
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
WAMA (Washington Area Music
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.