Out of the Box
When I realize I have a singer-songwriter to review, I often gear myself for the acoustic guitar-heavy music that accompanies a guy who doesnt quite have a handle on what his voice can do or how it really blends with the music. For some, clever lyrics and catchiness aside, just being able to carry a tune and play an instrument seems to be 80% of the battle.
I was quite pleased when Southbound started up with full band and a soft harmony before exploding into full out catchy vocals and an acoustic melody floating perfectly above the rest of the music, but just under the vocals. The recording is good, the music top notch, and Tim Miller knows how to use his pipes in each of the well-written tunes.
Having explored the live scene for awhile before stepping into a recording studio, Miller has honed his craft into beautiful songs that are pleasing to the ear. With many friends to lend a hand, including exquisitely played mandolin and cello, his debut album is nothing to turn your back on if youre a lover of the alt-country, singer-songwriter scene.
With each track clocking in at about three minutes, Miller keeps his songs short and sweet. Most of the tunes are upbeat in nature with a very full sound, but my favorite out of the bunch, Surround Me, slows the pace and turns up the cello for a more soothing and relaxing feel. A harmonica and acoustic guitar trade time in the spotlight, leaving the softer vocals to take a backseat. In St. Louis, the acoustic guitar and mandolin steal the spotlight in the last half. If I could ask for anything on this album, it would be more instrumental breaks like that one.
While there is nothing especially standout about the vocals on Out of the Box, the music really shines. Each song is nicely composed and almost a little too catchy for its own good, though a great amount of talent is showcased throughout. I would imagine a live performance to be quite an experience.
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