As the name “Take Two” implies, Russ and Donna Miller are the two instrumentalists and vocalists heard on this CD.
Donna made her musical presence known at an early age of 16 as drummer for numerous country and swing bands and as a backup vocalist in the tri-state area of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. She had several opportunities to play drums for country recording musician Joe Maphis, well-known as the double-neck guitar soloist for the Bonanza theme song and known for the many albums he recorded with Merle Travis.
Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Russ began his musical journey as a 12-year old student of U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own) leader and composer Captain Thomas F. Darcy. As a rapid study, Russ’s technique and tone quality quickly landed him a position of featured trumpet soloist at age 14 with Western Pennsylvania ‘s Johnstown Youth Symphony.
Russ continued his formal training at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Virginia where he played baroque trumpet as well as performing with the renown traveling jazz ensemble and the brass ensemble.
Donna and Russ first met playing gigs, and their marriage brought a “marriage” of musical love and blending of their favorite musical styles. They quickly formed a four-piece band, playing Big Band standards, swing and blues, as well as country to rock and roll.
Russ’s early influence by composer and teacher Capt. Darcy and his life-long study of music styles continue. His admitted respect for wordsmiths, such as country artist Hank Williams, Sr. and blues great Robert Johnson , is evident in his well-crafted songs. Rich, heartfelt melodies and lyrics speak to the very soul in these ballads and blues about love and life.
“Take Two” is currently performing blues, ballads, country, rock and roll, and swing. Audiences in the Mid-Atlantic region enjoy their upbeat entertainment that features their use of a wide variety of instruments—drums, guitars, trumpet, flugal horn, keyboards, saxophone, and blues harps.