Scottie Miller Band – Stay Above Water | Album Review

Scottie Miller Band – Stay Above Water

self release

12 songs time – 49:09

The Scottie Miller Band from Minnesota churns out a heady stew of R&B, funk, rock, New Orleans R&B, a bit of rock and who knows what else. With a basic line up of keyboards, guitar, bass and drums and the occasional horn section they create quite an eclectic sound. Scottie handles keyboards, mandolin and well-honed gravelly pipes to lead the way. If that isn’t enough he wrote all the songs and produced the proceedings. Maybe he brewed the coffee too. Patrick Allen ably executes tasty electric and acoustic guitar throughout. Mark O’Day on drums and Dik Shopteau on bass supply sturdy and energetic support at all times. Scottie paid his dues and developed his chops as keyboard player for Bo Diddley and for Ruthie Foster since 2008. The end result is an authentic and earnest slice of American music.

The high energy swinging rocker “Burned All My Bridges” hits the ground running with a nifty riff and Patrick Allen’s guitar cutting through the air. Scottie’s salt of the earth voice clicks here as well throughout the recording. Piano boogies right under the surface. R&B energy powers the funky horn-fueled “Keep This Good Thing Going”. Ruthie Foster contributes background vocals and shouting at the end. It seems her talent could of been better used in a duet situation.

Scottie dusts off his mandolin for the upbeat title track. The lyrics here are his usual creative fare. The strumming mandolin brings to mind the way John Hiatt utilizes at times in his songs. The herky-jerky “Falter” injects some nice harmony vocals along with jazzy piano. A catchy and prominent bass line props up the mandolin and guitar on the yearning “Same Page”. Acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano and what sounds like keyboard strings are the only instrumentation on the slow and lovely “Guardian Angel”.

Funky rhythmic Billy Preston-like keyboards groove along in “Circles”. New Orleans inspired piano and horns move “It’s What You Do” along quite nicely, thank you very much. Organ is brought to the fore along with tasty guitar on “Rippin’ & Runnin'”. Heavy guitar with an under current of mandolin conjures up a tad of Zep influence on “Come Along”. The CD goes out in the night on acoustic guitar, piano and strings with the melancholy and exquisite “Goodbye”.

It all works on this creative musical work. Pulling haunting melodies and imaginative song lyrics out of thin air is no easy task, but this band makes it look so easy. The production and execution is spot on. This recording is an amalgamation of diverse genres melded together with care and sincerity.

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