Steve Hussey and Jake Eddy – The Miller Girl

Hussey & Eddy's new single: Miller Girl

I give this song a 6/10. If it were a beer it would be a Stella Artois. Stella is like this fancy beer wannabe yet you can find it at most second rate liquor stores, and it comes in a green bottle with weird rappers on the cap. Because it comes in a green bottle it is always skunked, yet if Stella just stuck to being served in kegs, or having a brown bottle it would be a good beer. This band has great potential but they are too scattered.

Like any style of music country is diverse. However, when we hear a song we can say that is a country song. What gives us the ability to categorize this? I was asking myself this question. What makes this song country? I know it is country, but why? There is banjo, mandolin, fiddle and guitar, but those instruments can easily be classified as typical of a bluegrass setup. I think it has to do with the tone and pacing of the vocals. It is not the subject matter which I think a lot of people point to when they describe a song as country. I think this is fair in some regards, really no other genres are going to discuss tractors, and the like. However, this song’s lyrics are fairly simplistic, and could easily fit well into other genres. It deals with a crush on a Miller’s girl. However, this song is distinctly country.

Now the music is good. I mean the instrument playing. It shows skill over uncommon instruments like banjo fiddle and mandolin. The guitar acts more in a rhythm capacity rather than in a melodic one, which is necessary because there are no percussion instruments. The banjo creeps up in the song and takes over the melody along with the mandolin. It is composed extremely well. Eddy and Hussey are talented no argument there.

I am not a big fan of the singing. I find it unnecessary. You see, I think that country is in many ways a genre that is more dependent upon the lyrics rather than the music. This is by no means the end all be all, but if you think of some of the country greats, they were damn good story tellers.  Friends in Low Places, On the Road Again, Folsom Prison Blues all have distinct meanings that relate to American life.

Who knows a miller? I do not even think that profession has existed since Chaucer. Plus the lyrics drone on about how the subject of the song digs this miller girl, and will marry her one day. I think this misses the point of country. People cannot relate to this and it is not invocative of anything that people are remotely familiar with. Honestly if there were no lyrics, or the words where sung in a way that felt more bluegrass, then it would be better as a song. Look at Led Zeppelin for example, they did a number of folky Gallic sounding songs, and it worked well because Plant was able to add that element of mystique, like in Going to California, and when he couldn’t there where songs without vocals, like Black Mountain Side, or Bron-Yr-Aur. The lyrics could work, but the vocals just weren’t there. Plus, I think anyone who likes bluegrass wouldn’t mind the song being an instrumental jam out.

Bluegrass and country have similarities. However, the singing in bluegrass in my experience is for the most part a lot like jazz singing. The vocals are meant to serve as a compliment to the music. The singing in this seems to distract. The Vocals are distinctly country, the subject matter is strange, and the music sounds bluegrass. I admire experimentation, but this is not working for me.

Lastly, concerning the Video if you care about that kind of stuff. It was sort of strange, you have a kid dressed in like an 1890’s getup and he walks to ‘The Miller Girl’s” house. It made me feel awkward for some reason.

You can check out the song and video here.

-Sam Hill

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