Bill Miller

Spirit Rain

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Bill Miller never seems to be in a hurry. He doesn't mind opening an album with a two-minute instrumental piece called "Approaching Thunder," making sure he sets the mood right. He proceeds with the confidence of an artist who knows he has the goods, and who plans to deliver them when the time is right. "Approaching Thunder" segues into the country-folk of "You Are the Rain," a gentle wash of acoustic guitars, flutes, and organ backed by percussive brushes. While Miller's lyrical quality may suggest a singer/songwriter's disposition, his utterances cut a broader swath than the average wordsmith. "Rain Down Your Love" poetically captures one person's search for God, while "Never Too Far" offers a lyrical rendering of a person's connection to nature and perhaps to a higher being that permeates all things. Miller never feels the need to spell out his message, but paints it in impressionistic images of red skies and empty prairies. Spirit Rain adapts non-folk material easily, as with the inclusion of "Face the Blues," a bit of 12-bar Texas blues with an electric guitar reminiscent of the Vaughan Brothers. A lovely piece titled "Love Sustained" even evokes Dylan without sounding derivative. All of this works and works well on Spirit Rain because Miller steps into the moment and keeps the faith throughout. Anyone who appreciates uncompromised folksingers who actually have something to say will want to pick up a copy.

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