Live Shots: Scott Miller

At a youthful 38 years of age, Scott Miller seems to be settling in to his prime. The Virginia native and former V-Roy is now in the enviable position of being able to travel the country alone -- with only a guitar and a roadie/driver -- and pack Mucky Duck-size clubs all over the South and Southwest. Which is just what he did last night.

What last night's show revealed fully is that there are very few singer-songwriters Miller's age that can match both his charisma and stockpile of great tunes. (In fact, only Todd Snider comes immediately to mind.) If you've never seen him, his between-song banter alone is worth the price of admission. Last night, he riffed on kids and his lack of desire to have any, Pete Seeger ("He was a Communist. And a badass."), and a blasphemous take on Christian music. And then there's his standard retort to people whose cell phones go off during his set: "That better be the doctor telling you they found you a new liver."

And then there were the songs, from the sweeping grandeur of "Lovin' That Girl is Hard on a Man," to the sweetness of "For Jack Tymon" to his rousing Civil War songs like "Dear Sarah." He's got so damn many of them now you don't really notice if he skips a couple of your favorites, because he does play a bunch of them — in my case, that list would include "Ciderville Saturday Night," "Red Ball Express," and the Sam Houston tribute "Say Ho," with which he closed the set.

He's been playing here a long time, and it is great to see a standing-room only crowd for him, on a Tuesday night at that. — John Nova Lomax


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