The Ben Miller Band Uses the Studio As an Instrument on New Album 'Choke Cherry Tree' (premiere)

Photo: Carl Geers (New West Records)

The Ben Miller Band became studio rats on their latest album Choke Cherry Tree and the attention to detail has produced the finest record of their career.

The Ben Miller Band plays a high-energy form of Americana they have labeled "Ozark Stomp", drawing elements from folk, country, bluegrass, and rock 'n' roll to generate their signature sound. For their third album and second for New West Records, the band has diversified their approach, unveiling a new lineup and hooking up with producer Chris Funk of the Decemberists who helped the group expand their sonic possibilities. Previously, the Ben Miller Band wanted to capture lightning in a bottle by re-creating their ferocious live performance skills in the studio.

But for Choke Cherry Tree, the ensemble decided to go a bit Beatles on us by fully embracing careful song construction and the production powers of a studio that can bring new elements to their sound. Ben Miller says, "this album, to me, represents a shift in philosophy for us from trying to reproduce a live show in the studio to using the studio as it's own instrument. It is a change in focus from playing the music to serving the song."

The craftsman-like approach is a true winner for the Ben Miller Band, who like the Avett Brothers have extended their sonic palette and the range of possibilities in their music. These Joplin, Missouri musicians have grown and evolved in such a way that promises a fruitful future.

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