There are a lot of artists these days inspired by Tyler Childers. There’s only a select few that have inspired Tyler Childers themselves. One such soul is John R. Miller who worked as a musician for hire for years and made lots of friends along the way. “A well-travelled wordsmith mapping out the world he’s seen, three chords at a time,” is how Childers considers him. Many listeners consider John R. Miller as one of the preeminent Appalachian songwriters of our time.
The good news is that John R. Miller has a new album called Heat Comes Down on the way—his second album now for Rounder Records. The bad news is you’ll have to wait until October 6th to hear it. There is a new single though called “Nobody Has To Know Your Mind” that you can hear below.
“Whenever I’ve got a lot of thoughts bouncing around my head, alchemizing that energy into something creative helps take the gravity out of them and quiets them down for a while,” says Miller. “For me this album is largely about anxiety in many forms: the things that cause it, what it causes in turn, and the moments of clarity in between. Listening back to it now, most of the songs seem like they’re trying to answer the questions I’ve been asking myself.”
Heat Comes Down was recorded over three days with producers Andrija Tokic and John James Tourville at The Bomb Shelter in Nashville. Joining Miller for the sessions were members of his backing band The Engine Lights, including fiddle player Chloe Edmonstone, guitarist J. Tom Hnatow, and drummer John Clay Burchett. Also participating were multi-instrumentalist Jeff Taylor and bassist Craig Burletic from Tyler Childers’ Food Stamps.
John R. Miller lives in Nashville now, but grew up in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia near the Potomac River, and the region very much informs his music. Miller was first touted here at Saving Country Music when he released his album The Trouble You Follow with his band The Engine Lights in 2018. His 2021 album Depreciated was also highly touted.
John R. Miller often loves to revel in being his own worst enemy—something we all can relate to. You hear this in the lead track of the album where he says, “Give me a mile, I’ll take an inch. Give me a shovel, I can dig my own ditch.”
“In my more socially anxious moments, it’s easy to feel like my thoughts are written all over me,” Miller says. “That song is essentially a reminder to get out of my own head and be more present with whatever’s going on in the room.”
Heat Comes Down will be available for pre-save/pre-order on Friday, June 16th. “Nobody Has To Know Your Mind” can be streamed below.
1. Nobody Has To Know My Mind
2. Insomnia Blues
3. Harpers Ferry Moon
5. Crumbling Pie
6. Smokestacks On The Skyline
7. Summer Lens
8. Conspiracies, Cults & UFOs
10. Dollar Store Tents
11. Press On