Scott Miller, singer/songwriter to play at Garth Newel
It might have been a stroke of genius, or it could be just plain good luck, but the musician Garth Newel booked to open their first ever American Made weekend is a perfect fit. Scott Miller is at the top of his field in songwriting, has toured extensively, and is back home on the farm in Augusta County. He’s not only American Made, he’s Allegheny Highlands’ made.
“On my mother’s side we’re originally from Bath and Highland. My family settled over there and stayed there on the Jackson River originally, and then my great grandfather went to MCV after he went to AMA, Augusta Military Academy which was still open, and became a doctor, and he was a doctor in Clifton Forge forever. William Rivercomb was his name. And that’s where my grandmother was born. And we have a place out on the Cowpasture where their farm was, just up 42 there. And so we’re there forever. You can’t spray for us.”
So what takes a graduate of Buffalo Gap Highschool to Knoxville, Tennessee for almost two decades, and then back again?
“I went to William and Mary. I accidentally got in there, I think ‘cause I left a piece of gum on the back of my SAT test. So, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, other than I knew I wanted to write songs and play. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to go to college, and I did that, and moved from there to Tennessee, where I did what you do. I played gigs, and worked hard and got lucky. In the ‘90s there I was in a band there called the Vroys. We were on Warner Brothers back when the music business was what the music business used to be. It was big times, and awesome. And from there I went to sign with a label named Sugar Hill out of North Carolina, which I hope that most people are familiar with, and then made records for them. Anyway, I’ve just been lucky. I’ve made a living at this for, you know, a long time.”
Before, Scott said, all of the touring, recording, and enthusiastic followers,
“I grew up in Swoope; my parents taught school, and we raised cattle.”
While they might not seem similar, being an artist, especially a writer, and being a farmer are solitary occupations. Scott knows some other things these two vocations have in common.
“There’s a couple of ways, you know. Neither one of them are money making prospects. If you want to be rich, neither one of those is an occupation you want to choose. And farming, a lot like the music business, is where you take your money and you’re investing back in more of your lifestyle. So you’re not cash rich, and you also perfect the art of loosing money, which is something I’m very good at, yeah, I got it down.”
We’re lucky smaller, more local gigs appeal to Miller these days. They fit in better with a calving or haymaking schedule. When asked how much he knows about Garth Newel as a venue that’s broadening its definition of chamber music, he replied,
“Obviously not enough since I thought it was a person. (laughs) Right?”
“But I have several friends in the area who had mentioned it, and said ‘why don’t you play? You should play there’, and I’m like, I have no idea what you’re talking about, so I was very excited when the offer came, and it’s going to be great.”
It is going to be great. Scott is a lover of history and a collector of manual typewriters that he actually uses. To hear a little more about his songwriting, tune in tomorrow to Allegheny Mountain Radio. Check the Garth Newel Website, or call them for tickets.
Doors for Friday’s concert open at 6:30.