While there's no shortage of twangy, southern-fried rockers, few match Scott Miller's skillful narratives and satiric wit. With a passion for history, Miller imbues songs like the country-styled train song, "Amtrak Crescent," with a sepia-toned nostalgia, and "Say Ho," his ode to Sam Houston, with a freewheeling, bluegrass-tinged perspective that perfectly bookends Davy Crockett's famous ballad.
Last year, Miller released Citation, a terrific album with a political bent -- from "8 Miles a Gallon," a tongue-in-cheek tip of the hat to American engineering, to a scabrous cover of Neil Young's "Hawks and Doves." But the coup de grâce is "Jody," in which a soldier's friend enjoys his buddy's possessions and girlfriend while he's away: "He's eating sugar while I'm eating sand."
Although Miller definitely rattles his rock and roll bones, he's more Steve Earle/Americana and less Patterson Hood/Replacements.