Introduction and Interview:
Hello, I'm Keith Miller and I'm a fingerstyle guitarist. I grew up in Spartanburg, SC, and started playing guitar at the age of 6 in 1972. My Mom's family was one of the founding families of a little apple orchard and mountain valley farming community called Edneyville, NC, and lived there four generations before my grand father moved to Woodruff, SC to work in the cotton mill. My father's side also came from the mountains and foothills of North Carolina and northern Georgia, but later moved, in large part, to Spartanburg County. I'm a retired Air Force major, and I enjoy playing the guitar in church, restaurants, country clubs, resorts and plantations in the Charleston, SC area. I now live with my family in Summerville, SC. I love the Lord, and try to serve Him with my life and music. Thanks for taking the time to read about my background and my music. For further info about me and my music, please feel free to read the following interview that was recently posted on my Soundclick webpage.
Interview from March 2010 for Soundclick.com:
Do you play live?
I perform whenever I have the opportunity, and am a recently featured guitarist at The Woodlands Inn and Resort in Summerville, SC, and the Coosaw Creek Country Club in Charleston, SC. Additionally, I regularly serve through music at my church, Miles Road Baptist Church. I was the featured guitarist at Middleton Place Historic Site and restaurant for over 2 years, and I've played in the Atlantic Room at Kiawah Island's five star resort, The Sanctuary, and Ocean Course Restaurant. I've also performed at Summervillle's 5 Star/5 Diamond Woodlands Resort, and various locations in downtown Charleston and a few memorable locations in Alexandria, Virginia. I was honored with an opportunity to open once for the phenomenal fingerstyle guitar master, Doyle Dykes, and I recently recorded with the Kentucky Thunder fiddle player for Ricky Skaggs, Andy Leftwich, and renowned bassist, Dave Pomeroy, on my latest work entitled, "Be Thou My Vision."
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
The internet has changed the way people find talent, and the availability of every level of talent in every genre of music helps the listener refine their own taste in music. I constantly sample "unknown" artists' works online, and have found that popular radio, which used to dictate what everyone listened to, no longer has the power it once had. It no longer tells everyone what is good, what they will listen to, or what they like. Now great players like Doyle Dykes, Andy McKee, or even newcomers like the child prodigy, Sungha Jung, are now known talent even though you rarely or never hear them on either end of the radio dial. The age of plantinum artists being the toast of the town may still be alive and well, but for me, the niche artists that I find online and listen to on my iPod respresent the very best of the benefits of this emerging internet age.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
I really don't know. It seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened. I like the distribution power that a label brings, but realistically, I know that my audience size isn't likely going to warrant me a place in the Wal-Mart music bend. In short, I'd love to make a living making music, but a record label isn't the determining factor for my happiness. For that matter, even the approval of an audience isn't what matters to me. I love the Lord, and nothing I do matters unless He is pleased with it. Pleasing Him with my music and my life is really all that matters. The rest is just nice to have should He desire I have it.
I remember watching Buck Owens and Roy Clark on TV when I was little, and I adored Buck's red, white and blue guitar. On the radio, I listened to John Denver, Jim Croce and James Taylor. I thought the sounds JT made were just magic. I learned to fingerpick while working on the Kansas classic, "Dust in the Wind," when I was 12. It wasn't until my 20's that I discovered Phil Keaggy and later had my socks blown off by Doyle Dykes at a guitar clinic down in San Angelo, TX, back in 1998. Since then, I've spent so many hours listening to and learning from folks like Doyle and Phil. Through Doyle, I re-discovered Chet Atkins, and found Tommy Emmanuel among other greats like Lenny Breau and Merle Travis. All of that said, I think my biggest influence is God's own Holy Spirit. He ministers a peace to me that I think finds expression through my fingers and into the instrument. It is His voice that I long to communicate, and I'm grateful for all the great players that continue to teach me the skills of expression that I may be able to communicate His voice in a more eloquent and elegant way.
That's a hard one. I do love my own town of Charleston, especially in the Spring when the azaleas are in bloom. But, equally, and often times moreso, I love morning in the mountains when the mist still hangs along the ridges and dips down the sides. Autumn in the Gatlinburg and Cherokee area is just a heavenly sight.
I'm a self-appointed, and unpaid, Taylor guitar rep. Those guys know how to make an instrument, and they are the most consistent brand out there of their size. I find, to get a comparable tone to Taylor, you have to go to an independent luthier, and often pay 10 times more. I play the Taylor Doyle Dykes Signature Model, the Taylor 514ce, Taylor Baritone and the Taylor NS74ce. My 514ce is 12 years old now and is aging beautifully. The cedar top is darker and the tone just gets warmer and warmer with age. I use Boss digital delay and reverb pedals, and my current amps are the light weight, AER Compact 60 and the Bose L1 Compact. I also use the Roland AC-60 on occasion, and I still have an SWR California Blonde that has served me well, and has a few scars from some great nights in front of an audience.
For more information please visit: http://www.myspace.com/hamiltonmill I'm also on facebook, and Soundclick so look me up if you like what you hear!