Before his performing for Local Music Tap, I had not seen Nathan Miller live. Now, I wish to do so.
Simply put, the guy can play.
And — if I can digress just a bit — that’s what I really enjoy about this new musical venture. Not only can I help present local musicians, events, etc. to the public, but I can also supplement my embarrassingly limited knowledge of local music. It works both ways, really.
But back to the topic at hand!
Harnessing a custom-made lap slide guitar, Nathan creates roots-blues-rock songs in the vein of musicians (if I had to compare him) like John Butler and Robert Randolph.
His band, called Nathan Miller & The Unstoppable Company, has a great energetic feel and they’re a hard-working band. They play all over the state and region, but plan on bringing more of their music back “in town” soon.
Nathan will also be honoring blues history by releasing a 4-song EP soon, called From the Dog House of Blues, which features his take on blues classics, including Muddy Waters’ “Champagne and Reefer.”
So, enough of me trying to describe his music — check it out in the video below and read the questionnaire below!
4 Questions, 4 Answers
Q: Where do you usually gig around in Minnesota and what do you like most about the Minneapolis/Twin Cities music scene?
A: We play a lot out of town now days. I have a booking agent now who keeps me busy. It’s been a lot of fun getting outside of the Twin Cities, and really blowing people’s minds outside of town. What I like most about the Twin Cities music scene is the quality of musicians we have in this city, musicians who surprisingly are insanely humble and easy to approach.
Q: When did you start playing slide guitar and what helped shape you as a musician? Do you play any other instruments?
A: I started playing slide guitar about 7 or 8 years ago I think. It’s been a while. I think what shapes my music most is my desire to try to add different influences outside of blues music to make my indie blues music. I play standard guitar, kalimba (thumb piano), I can clap my hands in time, and I recently got my hands on an old resonator tenor guitar that I’ve been starting to pick around on. It’s the same way I learned slide guitar so expect it to be used soon.
Q: You obviously have a strong blues-inspired sound. What does the blues mean to you and how have you harnessed it and differentiated yourself from others?
A: Blues is a feeling. Straight up and down. I hear blues in all styles of music. The thing with older blues, especially the stuff that came out of the delta, the poverty and lack of communication lines made each player extremely original. Same thing when these guys left the south and headed north. I’m trying to make something new. Or at least try. I think after all these years, I’m getting close.
I don’t know of many lap slide players, guys who do or play in the style I’m playing. I guess if I’m bringing anything I’m trying to show people there should be an effort to make blues that are different. Take a blues feeling and apply it to original music.
Q: What are your goals with music? For example, is there a certain something you want people to get out of your music/lyrics … and is there a setting/place you can see yourself in the future with your music career?
A: Let’s be honest. I would like and strive to be a successful, but more importantly an influential musician. There are lots of unknown guys I take massive inspiration from. I would like to be influential enough where I can turn people on to these amazing artists I’ve come to learn from. If I don’t make it, I hope I can be one of those unmentioned forgotten, underground artists that the next big thing to come around took some inspiration from…even if it’s a good lick or two.
Quick tidbit: The guitar featured in the video is a Weissenborn Style guitar made by Lazy River Guitars.
Local Music Tap is a new blog aimed at promoting Minnesota-based musicians, bands, shows and events. If you have music blog ideas, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. Also, follow the Local Music Tap on Twitter and on YouTube.