Chris Miller’s shows are simple. Just a man and his guitar.
He makes the most of that one instrument, though.
“I use a loop station to layer rhythm guitar parts or percussion parts on the spot. This enables
me to sound more like a duo show,” he says. “For example when I play my original song ‘Take Me,’ I
first set up a percussion loop by slapping the guitar, then later in the song I add the rhythm guitar so that I can do some
lead lines. I still consider myself more of a guitarist than a singer.”
After doing everything from driving concrete trucks in Kansas City, to graphic editing for commercial
print shops in Colorado Springs, Chris is glad to be able to call music his full time career now. Averaging more than three
shows a week for the last three years, he’s played for everything from weddings and private events to casinos, coffee
houses and wineries from Galena to Des Moines.
“I got my start singing in front of people as a worship leader for my church in Colorado Springs.
They were very patient with me as I learned the craft, but it was pretty bad for quite a while,” he says. “Then
I played in several bands. In college I played guitar for a Christian metal band. We toured some but never really made an
Chris’ energy reflects the audience that he’s playing for. At sports bars he can be a bit
of a goofball. Shows at galleries and wineries, though, tend to be quieter, more intimate and full of his original songs.
“I’ve released four albums of original material. All independent, no manager or label.
The first three I recorded in my home studio with one microphone and lots of patience,” he says. “My newest, ‘Taylor
& Me,’ was recorded at Catamount Studio in Cedar Falls. My first album is available for free on my website. The
later three are available at all the major online music stores.”
Chris hopes a recent change in address will help his music career move as well.
“I recently moved into an RV camper full time, so home comes with me,” he says. “I’m
hoping this will facilitate more extensive touring, but for now I’m just trying to adjust to the new lifestyle.
“I’ll be happy if I can just keep writing and performing for a living.“
CR Gazette review of What's Next:
C.R.’s Miller gets original on new album
By Eric Clark
Unlike Iowa City, Cedar Rapids isn’t known for its wealth of musicians creating original material.
So it’s always nice to see a Cedar Rapids performer stepping away from the town’s glut of cover bands to make
a more personal artistic statement.
Singer-songwriter Chris Miller has done just that with “What’s Next,” an 11-song
album of material he wrote himself.
“What’s Next” is an intriguing album for two main reasons. First, Miller played
all of the instruments, except cello and harmonica, and recorded the album at home using a single microphone. Second, despite
the fact Miller’s guitar-based songs sound predominantly sunny, the music masks a heart of darkness that only comes
across with a close listen to the lyrics.
In a thin voice that’s endearing for its lack of polish, Miller primarily sings about
struggling with the dullness of contemporary society and how the idealism of youth is stripped away by the rigors of the real
“Five years now all the same, where did that time go?/Two kids now no plan, and no savings
to show,” Miller sings on “One Small Choice.” Miller’s songs might sound a bit like the beachboy musings
of Jack Johnson, but his lyrics have more in common with the dark confessions of Staind.
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