Seventeen years ago, southern rock artist Jason Charles Miller rose to fame as the front man of the goth outfit Godhead. Signed to Marilyn Manson’s Posthuman Records. While Miller is most well-known for his time as the voice of Godhead, he has also released three solo albums between 2009 and 2012. Early this month, Miller released his fourth full-length solo album In The Wasteland. The 11-song album, released June 15 via Red Music/Century Media, is a work that is certain to appeal to any fans of the genre. More specifically, it will appeal easily to fans of Shooter Jennings, Zac Brown Band, Blues Saraceno and other similar acts. Keeping that in mind, it is an album that fans of said genre will agree is worth at least one listen. This is proven early on in the album’s run in the form of ‘No Bridge Left Unburned.’ It will be discussed shortly. ‘The Line,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another example of what makes this record appealing to southern rock (and even country) music fans. It will be discussed later. ‘Running,’ is yet another example of what makes ITW work as well as it does. It will be addressed later, too. All three songs noted here are key in their own way in showing why this record will appeal to southern rock and country fans. They are hardly the only songs that could be cited in supporting that statement, too. The bluesy gospel style ‘Get Thee Behind Me,’ ‘Trunk Full of Bibles’ and ‘Riverbank’ all serve to support the noted statement, too. The same could be said of the album’s opener/title track, ‘No More Reasons’ ‘Old Scarecrow’ and ‘Finding My Way in the Dark.’ That pretty much covers the whole of ITW. Keeping that in mind, this album offers plenty for country and southern rock fans to appreciate from start to end, meaning it’s anything but a musical wasteland.
Jason Charles Miller’s new solo album In The Wasteland is a work that is anything but a wasteland. Rather, it is a 41-minute musical experience that will appeal to any southern rock fan just as much as any country music fan. From Shooter Jennings to Zac Brown Band and others, the album’s 11-song body will certainly appeal to a wide range of listeners. This is proven early on in the form of ‘No Bridge Left Unburned.’ This driving southern rock/outlaw country-style work shows clearly the impact of Jennings on his work through its guitar-driven arrangement. The certain twang in the guitar and the tone of the instruments sounds so much like something that Jennings would craft. The song’s lyrical side is shows that outlaw country element just as much. That is proven as Miller sings in the song’s lead verse, “You and me/We got our share of problems/We’ve been known/To go a round or two/I was down and out before you took the first swing/Then you left me there with nothing left to lose/When the time is right, I’ll throw you under the bus/Then you’ll know those tables have turned/You crossed over the line/Violated my trust/Now I’ll leave no bridge left unburned.” That defiant stance continues in the song’s second verse as Miller sings about how the song’s subjects got to where they are, singing, “I remember when/We were on the same side/now I’m staring down the barrel of your gun/You’re just another victim of your own pride//And when you stabbed me in the back/I knew I had to run/When the time is right/I’ll throw you under the bus/Then you’ll know the tables have turned/You crossed over the line, violated my trust/Now I’ll leave no bridge left unburned.” This is someone who means business. The song’s third and final verse proves that just as much as it talks about the antagonist looking into the protagonist’s soul to see the impact that the antagonist has had. It’s a strong statement, and one that solidifies even more, the song’s lyrical message of someone standing up for himself proudly. Needless to say, when this collectively proud statement is coupled with the song’s equally driving musical arrangement, the whole becomes a work that stands as one of the album’s highest points. It isn’t the only song that so sharply shows what makes In The Wasteland worth hearing. ‘The Line,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another strong addition to the album.
‘The Line’ is the polar opposite of ‘No Bridge Left Unburned’ both musically and lyrically. In regards to its musical arrangement, this song is quite reserved in comparison to so much more of ITW. It is a gentle, flowing and emotional piece that will appeal to fans of Zac Brown Band and other similar acts. That emotional impact is strengthened even more as Miller seems to be addressing through the song’s lyrical side, about people not wanting to take responsibility for things in life and not wanting to get involved so that they won’t have to take any responsibility. The is inferred as Miller sings in the song’s lead verse, “Mind your own/He said, mind your own/There’s some things you don’t want to know/Just move along/Keep your head down/We keep our eyes closed in this town/Lock the door/And turn away/So you can’t hear a word they say/Shut yourself in/Turn your head off/It’s not your job to count the cost/Hold the line/Cause I can’t see/Wear the cross/Or who you think I should be/Wave your signs/Shout your hate/I’ll just push you all away.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Darker days/Have turned to black…don’t hold back/Just help yourself…take everything and be my guest/Just hold the line/Cause I can’t see/Wear the cross/Who you think I should be/Wave your signs/Shout your hate/I’ll just push you all away/And you float just like the wind/’Cause that’s all you do/When the moment pleases you/You just choose your time/Change your mind…” It seems like he’s saying here that someone does things on a whim when one wants, again seeming to point at that theme of someone not wanting to get involved and take responsibility regardless of the situation. Keeping that in mind, it makes that emotional musical arrangement that accompanies these words even more impacting. It almost becomes mournful to a point, like the song’s subject is sad that the person/people in question refuses/refuse to take a stand. If indeed that is the case, then this is definitely a different angle to take for any artist. That’s because usually when one thinks of a statement urging people to take a stand on something, such songs are more fiery. This one is more like a disappointed parent. To that end, such an apparent approach makes this song stand out even more in examining the album in whole. Even as important as it proves to be in the bigger picture of the album, it is still not the last of the album’s most notable entries. ‘Running’ is one more song included in the album that shows the record’s strengths
‘Running’ is another good, driving composition that stands out in part because of its musical arrangement. This work clearly will appeal to fans of Blues Saraceno. The driving guitar line at the song’s center couples with the subtle fiddle to make the song sort of a throw back to the old country western pieces of days gone by while also offering its own modern sound at the same time. It makes for a great sound overall that is instantly infectious. That driving, throwback vibe works well with a song that seems, lyrically, to focus on someone who is torn on whether to change his ways and go back in life or to keep making the choices that he’s been making. That seeming message comes as Miller sings, “I’ve been running from the sun/Chasing diamonds for way too long/Hiding in the shadows/Holding on to night/I’ve been running/All my life/You can say what you will about my decisions/But I stuck to my guns/And stayed true to my words/Lately, I’ve been feeling the weight of my actions/Wondering if all this right’s/Been wrong.” Even with those doubts, the song’s subject sings about “moving on through the dark” and asks “is it too late to be forgiven/Is it too late to turn back time/Not a day goes by/That I don’t question/If the road I’m on will take me home.” These thoughts, coupled with the urgency in the song’s musical arrangement, makes the song in whole stand out as another of the album’s high points, showing even more why In The Wasteland is a strong new solo effort from Jason Charles Miller. Of course, it is hardly the last of the songs included in this record that exemplifies the album’s strength. There are eight other songs featured throughout the album that, in their own way, show just as much what makes ITW such a strong effort. Keeping that in mind, this latest effort from Jason Charles Miller, while it may be titled In The Wasteland proves to be anything but a wasteland. Rather, it proves to be a record that southern rock and outlaw country fans alike will appreciate.
Veteran singer-songwriter Jason Charles Miller’s latest full-length solo album In The Wasteland is a record that will appeal easily to country and southern rock fans alike. This is proven true from the start to finish of the 11-song, 41-minute record. From showing comparisons to the likes of Shooter Jennings, Blues Saraceno, Zac Brown Band and others in its arrangements to presenting lyrical themes that will both entertain and engage listeners, it offers plenty for listeners to appreciate. That has been pointed out here through just a few of the album’s entries. Those songs not discussed at length here do just as much to show the album’s strengths. When those songs are considered along with the songs discussed here, they make the album in whole a work that is anything but a wasteland. It is available now. More information on In The Wasteland is available online now along with all of Jason Charles Miller’s latest news at:
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