Artistic Life

Last night we wrapped my new record, Americana EP. Without irony, with as much humility as I can muster, I can honestly say that if someone doesn’t fall in love with this record, then something is wrong with the world; but at the same time, I have never felt such a lack of having to prove anything to anyone. We have created a record with more soul than most of what I’m hearing coming out of America today. My influences are obvious and already well known: Over the Rhine, Chuck Prophet, Wilco; and I think we have created something that, artistically, is on par with Films for Radio, No Other Love, or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot–considering, technically, of course, that we recorded a 4-song EP in a week, in an apartment in a burned-out building in Sarajevo, BiH.

Lyrically, I think it has the same metaphoric complexity of Linford, but with even more hidden layers. I tried to explain some of the lyrics in (for example) Closed for the Year, to Rade, a guitarist who hung out for most of the sessions, and ended up playing on I Really Need a Chorus; but the next day we were still working on the song and I said, “You know, I still don’t know what that lyric means (exactly).”

Musically, again considering our limitations, I think we have the same energy and production value as Chuck. Working with Elvis was such a great experience, we totally clicked musically and personality-wise. I hope that this relationship continues for some time.

I just finished watching I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, and right now I’m watching it again with commentary, and I feel like I’m at a place where I can assemble a group of authentic musicians with the same young energy and just honestly entertain and connect with people.

I think bands like these three I’ve picked for comparison’s sake have paved a good road. It’s definitely not a highway; it’s not even the pot-holed two-laners from Sarajevo to the border; it is the cobbled pedestrian road in old town, the kind of road you could walk your whole life and still find new places on.

The last seven days have been a true collaboration, an authentic artistic moment, and one that I will never forget no matter what happens from here.

This project needs an advocate, and that advocate could or could not be you. You could just be a fan of blogs, and think mine is worth reading, and every so often you’ll buy something on offer here. You could be a true music fan, and a rock fan at that, and be curious enough to check out this particular project. Or you could be one of those few people who really believe and actually have some power make something more happen. In any case, you have your part to play, and apparently I’m not too shy to ask you to play it.

Some technical details:

The order changed:

  1. Com’on
  2. Closed for the Year
  3. American Dream Town
  4. I Really Need a Chorus

The band name is potentially changed: I’ve known that Daniel Wayne Miller Americana Project is cumbersome, but haven’t had a good replacement. Daniel Miller Band came up and was liked by just about everyone (despite my initial hesitation). So tentatively it is Daniel Miller Band / Americana EP. (We shun “the” apparently.) Let me know what you think, seriously. My hesitation comes from the fact that it is really essentially a solo project, not a band; but the cohesiveness already apparent between Elvis, Rade, and myself, and the fact that they (plus at least a bass player) are going to play my first gig in Sarajevo, make everything a bit more viable.

In only four songs, I have: two cocaine references, a combined alcohol and urination reference, two prominent curses, and a smoking reference. Numb Us, which didn’t make the EP but I am anxious to cut, would add two pop culture references, a heroin reference, a prescription drug dependency reference, a masturbation reference, an additional drinking reference, and a virgin sex reference.

For the rest of the details on the recording, you’ll have to wait on the liner notes.

Tonight I have to follow up with the club owner here in town and tomorrow morning call a couple CD printing outfits so we can get this thing out the door by the 15th, i.e. when I leave Sarajevo and eventually end up at Greenbelt.

I’m going to leave you with a clip from I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, the Wilco movie I just finished watching two times in a row. The director described David Fricke as the moral conscience of the film, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear such, I dare say wisdom, come from the senior editor at a industry mag like Rolling Stone. (And he looks a LOT like Linford.)

Over the next week expect some clips from the record, and then some individual reviews of some of the art that has helped me survive this summer so far: Donnie Darko, The Polyphonic Spree, the Cardigans’ new record, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Jason Mraz, and a couple books.