Scott Miller & the Commonwealth

Citation

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Scott Miller reminds one of Ryan Adams, about four or five (who can keep track?) albums ago or perhaps Steve Earle's younger brother on Citation, creating music that meets at the intersection of folk and alternative country but that can probably be safely described as Americana. He's the scruffy poet (partial beard, ripped jeans, and a look that says, "I'm a little hungover") with a guitar and lots of world-weary experience, never mind that he's only 37. The twangy guitar-flavored arrangements work well with Miller's grainy, down-to-earth vocals and bring the right touch to catchy fare like Brad Henderson's "The Only Road." Several of these songs skirt the issue of war, giving Citation a contemporary relevance. "Jody" tells the humorous tale of one guy who joins up while his good friend stays at home, enjoying everything -- including his love interest -- that was left behind ("he's eatin' sugar, while I'm eatin' sand"). This is followed by a rocking version of Neil Young's "Hawks and Doves," just in case anyone missed the underlying irony of the former song. At 35 minutes, Citation is rather short, but it's tight album with a set list that remains strong through the closer, "Long Goodnight." While Miller hasn't broken any new ground on Citation, it's nonetheless a solid release that old fans and alternative country aficionados will enjoy.

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