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MUSICIANS IN ISOLATION: ADAM MILLER ‘UNIFY’ ALBUM INTERVIEW

Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips catches up with acclaimed Australian guitarist Adam Miller to chat about his fabulous new album Unify, which is out now.

Recorded in Los Angeles in December of 2019, Unify features prominent LA musicians with bassist Joel Gottschalk and drummer Justin Glasco. Composed entirely by Miller, these songs are born from the adventure of settling not only into a new city, but a new country, drawing from both the incredible highs and the seemingly mundane. The album is equally influenced by the current Los Angeles jazz scene and the Australian pub rock scene of Miller’s hometown, Newcastle.

The album title comes at a time when positivity is greatly needed. Miller says, “Because the album was written in the uncertainty of moving and big life changes, all my working titles ended up with negative connotations. And there really is a great joy and optimism to this album; so instead of naming it about things falling apart, I named it for everything coming together – Unify – which is really how I feel about my music right now.”

After almost a decade of constant international touring, Miller decided to make the move to Los Angeles in January 2019. Being asked to perform at one of Mason Stoops’ infamous GuiTaco nights shortly after with Charlie Hunter, Adam Levy, Ariel Posen, and others led to many press and touring opportunities, plus the introduction to drummer/producer Justin Glasco. Glasco continued Miller’s introduction to the LA musician’s scene, watching heroes perform morning cafe gigs, and jamming in East LA garages. “Their pursuit of music just floored me,” Miller gushes. “There are so many great musicians who are still open to learning, collaborating, and expanding their horizons. I couldn’t help but be highly motivated by the enthusiasm and work ethic everyone had.”

Miller then enlisted Glasco and Gottschalk to play the small clubs and bars of LA, giving the trio a chance to explore new material in front of audiences. Miller also toured extensively across the USA, allowing him to further develop the melodic and structural elements of the new compositions.

A mid-year tour back to Australia injected the songs with the raw intensity required to cut it in Aussie pubs to rowdy audiences. This coupled with the refined influence of LA saw Miller’s two musical worlds integrating for a cohesive album, serving as Miller’s Los Angeles debut.

Unify showcases Miller’s electric guitar playing, while two tracks (“Shipping” and “Citrus”) were performed on an acoustic archtop. This is very much a trio record, with the bands’ live interaction only being occasionally supplemented with acoustic guitar rhythm and creative effect pedal based soundscapes. The album has a melodic focus with a subtle harmonic complexity driven by a groove and attitude.

With a unique approach to the guitar, Adam Miller’s music is groovy and approachable, whilst having a melodic sophistication that only comes from years of cross genre hopping. His inclusion of complex rhythms and dissonant haunting phrases, combined with breathtaking riffs and melodies are his signature. His jazz influenced style with finger-picking mastery creates a improvisation filled live performance that is beautifully unpredictable. This has seen him share stages with Les Paul, Tommy Emmanuel, Matt Schofield, Russell Morris, Charlie Hunter, Adam Levy, Ariel Posen, Tony McManus, Ben Gillies (Silverchair), and the list continues….

Miller has had a relentless international touring schedule the past few years which has seen him perform in the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Japan, & Australia.

Australian Fingerstyle Guitar Champion (2002), Miller has played an array of International Festivals including the Montreal Jazz Festival Canada, Woodstock Guitar Festival USA, Guitar Masters Wroclaw Poland, Lancaster Music Festival UK, Karel Music Expo Italy, The NAMM Show USA, Artisan Guitar Show USA, Holy Grail Guitar Show Germany, Musikmesse Germany, Australian Blues Festival, A Day On The Green, Jazz In The Vines, Melbourne Guitar Festival, Adelaide International Guitar Festival, & Newcastle Jazz Festival. He also travelled to Afghanistan twice to perform for the Australian & Allied Forces.

Miller has had feature articles in The Fretboard Journal, Guitar Player, Acoustic Guitar, Premier Guitar, Acoustic UK, Australian Guitar, and Australian Musician. In 2013 his album “Delayed” named Top 10 Albums of 2012 by US Acoustic Guitar Magazine. He was also named on of the top 25 Future Legends in Australian Guitar Magazine. In 2010 Miller was named “Guitarist Deserving Wider Recognition” by US based magazine, Guitar International.

Having 10 independent releases to his name, many that have gone on to international acclaim, Miller is also signed to USA video tuition Label ‘TrueFire’, and has lectured in Jazz and Contemporary Guitar at the University Of Newcastle, Australia.

https://www.adammiller.com.au/

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