Dean Miller

Platinum

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Dean Miller's third album may not reach the lofty sales figures referred to in its title, but it certainly is a strong and well-crafted work that represents his best music to date. Free of the intrusive presence of major-label A&R people (who take a pounding in his tune "Music Executive"), Miller has been able to craft a set of songs that are long on craft but short on needless gloss -- Miller and his crack studio band give this material a strong and professional sound, but without sounding like he's bending over backward for a hit, and in a better world this is just what country radio would sound like these days. Miller also knows how to write a well-crafted song, a gift he inherited from his father Roger Miller, and while "Hard Love," "Whiskey Wings," and "On a Good Day" don't break much new ground, they work the traditional C&W archetypes of women, liquor, and hard times with enough smarts and passion to make the results sound fresh. He also knows a good song when he hears it, as evidenced by great covers of Fred Eaglesmith's "105" and "I've Been a Long Time Leaving," which his dad wrote (and Waylon Jennings cut on the classic Dreaming My Dreams). It's anyone's guess if Dean Miller will actually move a million units of Platinum, but it certainly deserves to be heard by a lot more people than his flawed first and second efforts.

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