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Press Release 2019
Following a long period 'in the wilderness', and now relocated back to his native Durham, internationally-acclaimed songwriter and performing & recording artist Gary Miller finally came back in a big way in 2018, with the launch of several ambitious new projects, a number of major songwriting commissions and exciting long-term plans…
Gary’s latest major songwriting project is ‘From Coalfield to Battlefield’, a series of songs specially written and recorded for 'When The Bugle Calls', a 12-month travelling exhibition celebrating the music and full history of the Durham Light Infantry, commissioned by the DLI Research & Study Centre.
Others tell the true stories of real-life individuals including: -
- 'Euphonium and Cornet’, a personal song telling the fascinating tale of Gary’s great-uncles Joe and George Mains, Colliery bandsmen as well as DLI Bandsman during WW2.
- ‘The Final Letter of Jimmy Durham’, delicately chronicling the incredible story of James Francis Durham, DLI Bandsman and the first regular black soldier in the British Army.
- ‘Ballad of Lance-Sergeant William Stones’, detailing the tragic story of a previously-decorated DLI soldier from Crook who was executed in WW1 for alleged cowardice.
- 'Miss Nightingale's Man'
- and many more.
‘From Coalfield to Battlefield’ launched through the release of the single Gary Miller & The Ferryhill Town Band - ‘The Durham Light Infantry’ (WPTCD26), followed by several additional singles in 2018, with a full-length album due to follow.
Epic in scope and scale, hugely ambitious and highly original, ‘Mad Martins’ is Gary’s unique performance, recording and book project featuring original songs, music, poetry, spoken word narration and illustrations depicting the extraordinary lives and times of the notorious Martin Brothers, William, Jonathan and John, who were born in the late Eighteenth Century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland. Mad Martins is released on Whippet Records (cat. no. WPTCDB24) as a 50-track triple CD, housed in a lavish 104-page Deluxe Book. Launch events in 2019 will be followed by full-scale theatre performances of the Mad Martins Stage Show in three acts.
The Whisky Priests, the internationally-renowned band Gary co-founded in 1985, reunited for a short series of international shows in late-2018, celebrating the band’s legacy, and coinciding with the release of "Bloody Well Everything! (The Complete Works 1985-2000)", a 12-disc CD Box Set of studio, live, demo and radio session recordings.
Gary’s forthcoming plans include the release of a series of EPs featuring songs from some of his recent songwriting commissions about North East of England historical figures including Joseph Skipsey (“The Pitman Poet of Percy Main”), George Stephenson (Pioneer of the Railways), Thomas Spence (Radical and advocate of the common ownership of land), and more, including 'The Wooden Dollies' (of North Shields); as well as a new album of personal and contemporary songs. He has also written a suite of songs for 'The Butcher Baronet', a documentary film project with songs, music and illustrations about legendary historical figure John Duck ('Durham's Dick Wittington') in collaboration with Lone Pine Pictures and Helen Temperley, with a DVD and full-length CD album to follow.
"As a song poet, there are few in the world today to match him." (Green Man Review, USA)
"Gary has a real flair for conjuring imagery from the past with a gritty reality. He possesses an inbuilt and empathic understanding of social history, which is voiced in direct tell-it-like-it-is language (not lacking in literacy or lyrical expression, however), boosted by a keen sense of melodic invention, manifested in canny tunes and often seriously catchy choruses. There’s also a strong regional (north-east) folk sensibility within Gary’s songwriting that’s key to the memorability of his songs." (FRUK).
"Miller actually writes great songs with words that mean something and are usually substantially rooted. His ability as a songwriter who captures folk sentiment and communal memory must now be unquestioned." (Folk Roots, UK).
“A writer of cleverly composed mini-epics. Gary Miller has managed to produce some excellent images of life in the past and the present day.” (Rock ‘N’ Reel, UK).
"Miller has the glorious knack of penning irresistible choruses with a lyrical depth beyond the norm and a strong commercial ear, his worth as a composer ought to be worth its weight in gold." (Folk on Tap, UK).
"One of the most literate and insightful songwriters in the world of folk-rock; his writing has always been exemplary. He touches on every level of human emotion. And his melodies are equally as brilliant as his prose." (All Music Guide, USA).
"One of the best lyricists of our time." (Backline, UK).
"Miller has an enviable range." (Musician, UK).
“Forceful biting lyrics. In years to come (his) songs will be documents of our social history.” (Folktalk, UK).
“Cracking songs which show a good eye for gritty and earthy reality. Images, sympathies and genuine true life are painted with such a vast range of colours – why hasn’t Gary brought out a book of poetry?” (The Modern Dance, UK).
“A fine songwriter, offering skillfully drawn portraits of characters and life.” (Outlook, UK).
“The feel of Gary Miller’s lyrics carries traditional sensibilities. His original lyrics are as appealing as the melodies to which they’re set” (Dirty Linen, USA).
“The songs of Gary Miller are modern folk music, no less.” (Folk On Tap, UK).
“Words with powerful imagery by a powerful wordsmith. He has the ability to draw on aspects of his own experience and adapt and develop these into strong story lines - these are songs to identify with. His eloquant and impassioned delivery speaks to the lost innocent in us all. I’d like to hear a range of singers tackling Gary’s great songs.” (Folk Buzz, UK).
"The man has folk roots that spring from the coaly earth of the North East - a rare quality indeed." (Conrad Jay Bladey, Hutman Productions, USA).