John R Miller grew up in Hedgesville, a small town in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia where the mountains meet Interstate 81. A co-founding member of hard-traveling bands The Fox Hunt and Prison Book Club, and carrying a unique-but-familiar bag of country blues & folk (stylistically in the same wheelhouse as Blaze Foley, E.C. Ball, Guy Clark), he has performed music in nearly all 50 states, Canada, Ireland, the UK, Japan, and much of Europe. He has twice appeared on NPR's Mountain Stage with The Fox Hunt, and as a bassist he has performed and toured extensively with the Hackensaw Boys, Locust Honey, William Matheny & the Strange Constellations, and many others. He has also been a featured songwriter and performer on the Travelin' Appalachians Revue.
His songs have been performed and recorded by several notable artists, including David F. Bello and Tyler Childers. He can often be found performing solo, alongside fiddle player Chloe Edmonstone, or with his band The Engine Lights. New album is due in Spring 2018 on Emperor Records.
From Dog Man by Howard Parsons:
" J.R. Miller’s work is distinctly American, and it could sit comfortably with all those other works you might think of. His influences are not covert, and when you notice those influences what you’ll hear is mindful admiration, never leaning lazy. With John, you just get the song in its perfect natural form, which is to say good, slow, earnest, real, in line with tradition, uncommon, beautiful, loud, fast, ugly, hard, easy, tender. John’s songs save themselves from the embarrassment of being themselves.
...I don’t know for sure how best to make my case here, but I can say that there are plenty of lesser songwriters out there in the world. They rhyme where they shouldn’t, and they don’t where they should. They ride a melody but say something dumb, and beautiful words are always drowned under shit. All I know is John Miller is the real thing, and his work is tremendous the way a river is tremendous next to a trickle, the way sunrise is tremendous next to just about anything else."
From Ninebullets' review of Service Engine:
" 'Service Engine' reminds me of Patterson Hood’s Killers & Stars. Both recordings have a living room vibe with stripped-down arrangements and well written-songs. I can’t tell if it’s just John playing or singing or if he’s got a second guitar on some of the songs, but its beauty is in the simplicity and his unique turns of phrase.
John effortlessly blends dirt-under-your-nails realism with genuine human emotion. This kind of thing doesn’t happen enough in music, not some kind of hokey songs for the working man but actual songs with an awareness of work." - Charles Hale