Bill Miller / Bill Miller

Ghostdance

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Combine Native American touches with a healthy appreciation of storytellers like Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen and you have Bill Miller, a distinctive singer/songwriter who shows how compelling he can be on Ghostdance. This superb CD is essentially folk-rock, but it's folk-rock with Native American elements. Not only has Native American culture influenced him musically, but his reflective lyrics are also greatly influenced by the history and culture of Native Americans. Like Springsteen, Miller realizes that great singer/songwriters often draw on their own backgrounds and experiences. The Boss' frame of reference is working-class New Jersey -- he sings so convincingly about blue-collar life that you know he has been there -- whereas Miller's is the Native American experience. And his insights as a Mohican help to enrich "There Is You," "Every Mountain I Climb," and other pearls on Ghostdance. But you don't have to have a Native American background to be moved by this album any more than you have to be from New Jersey to savor Springsteen's Born to Run. The Boss might be writing about people in Asbury Park, NJ, but listeners in Melbourne, Australia, or Dublin, Ireland, can easily relate to his stories; and similarly, Ghostdance offers insights that people from a variety of backgrounds will appreciate.

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