Sunday, December 11, 2011


Making music is my passion.... and last night I was WELL indulged. As one of my facebook friends commented, in these days of increasing darkness, we have to light our own way. I still feel the glow of creativity and beauty in this little house of mine from all the talented, inspired and inspiring folks that played here last night.

I feel a little bad for the few non musicians here, because there were times, lots of times, when we just HAD to play that one again, cause it just felt so damn good, and then, as we ended, we'd start over yet again from the beginning, just to run through it yet *another* time, just looking at each other and keeping that sound moving..... If you ever jam with folks of similar mind set, folks who really really don't do music for ego, they just do music because of IT, because of MUSIC and making that sound with other people making a sound, and together it sounds sooooo much MORE than anything you could do yourself..... if you are a musician, and have that opportunity, you KNOW what I am talking about. That magic.....

It is a transportation. It is a feeling of oneness with the sound and the people and the instruments and the voices and whatever that is in the room that I don't have words for. Transportation.

So, most of the time, I am happy with one or two moments of that when I get together with people. I don't expect, out of four hours, to get there again and again.... lol. Especially singing Christmas songs....

So who were the players? Connie was there, though he 'doesn't play christmas music',  he did strum along with us, adding his bass runs and cool rhythms.  Reene was too, singing along, keeping us going with carols and songs that the rest of us were not sure of, with her strong, pleasant voice. My friends and family, Todd (actually co-host of the party), Paul, and Ken, who chatted and listened and put up with the musicians' never ending (for example) Little Drummer Boy.

Annie, sitting quietly and singing along on each tune, adding her sweet voice to the choir (as well as bringing a delicious baked ziti!)!! Harmonies, melodies and some great rhythmic guitar work came with Betsi, K. as well as her sunny smile and  musicians heart. Playing yet a ANOTHER new song, Simon had us all tapping our feet and smiling during a round of non holiday songs. Mike, man of many instruments as long as he can carry them all in one trip (four last night), added his voice and spirited playing, reminded us regularly to enjoy these songs, and tapped into 'that place' more times than I could count last night. Nick made me listen very closely to 'Blue Christmas' and reminded me again of the beauty of that song, and by extension, all the subsequent songs, as well as adding his voice and guitar. Max can weave magic into any tune with his violin, and we got a chance to listen to HIS music, and, well, it is truly beautiful~ that sound can bring tears or laughter!!!

I really felt a celebration of making music, in this very musical season, in my house, last night. Thanks to my friends, who in sharing it with me, added so much to the evening!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday Music

Tonight, I host my favorite party of the year.... a Holiday Sing/Jam. There will be lots of folks here in my tiny house, all come to sing songs of the season and bring joy to each other. I hope your evening is fun and full of light and laughter and music!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

The Holidays Begin

Thanksgiving is one holiday that I can say I agree with every part of the idea....the thanks, the harvest, the association with Native gifts needed, just friends and family and feeling good and being grateful that you are....

In other words, recognizing the gifts you already have.

I really like that.


(yes, if this looks familiar, it is.....i posted this last year too....i still believe it

Sunday, November 13, 2011

John Street Jam

Last night I went to see my friend, Betsi Krisniski play at the John Street Jam. What a wonderful celebration of the art of music!! Two groups of four musicians playing original tunes, very well down, with an audience that listens INTENSELY to the music. The energy in the Room was all designed to support and uplift the performers while they shared their art with us. 

A very memorable evening with some excellent musicians, appreciative audience and wonderful spirit. Oh, yeah, Betsi did a GREAT job too....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Busking On Warren Street

Busking on Warren Street

When I was first asked if I would like to go busk on Warren Street, my first thought was, 'Is it legal?'. I really didn't want to get my name in the police blotter of the Hudson Register Star. I did see the occasional musician or group on the street in front of a coffee house, looking like it was all ok....

My friends assured me that as long as we were not 'vending' (selling, I guess) and we did not use amplification, we would not be offending any lawmakers.  We also could not be able to block the sidewalk or access to businesses or walk ways.

Ok, I can deal with that.  So, a bunch of times this past summer, I could be found with my buddies, standing on the street, singing and playing familiar folk songs.  It turns out to be an experience right up there with all the rest of my musical experiences.

We have had folks stop and tell us that we made their day as they throw a buck or two in the open instrument case laying somewhere near us.  Children stop and dance in front of us while parents take pictures and smile.  Many folks just hurry on by, pretending we don't exist, but sometimes you can see them smile as they look at the sidewalk.  Occasionally people stop for several songs, maybe asking for a favorite or two.  Then there are the ones who hurry away just to bring the rest of their party back to watch, or maybe sing a tune or so with us. 

Again, the old theme.  Music speaks to people.  It 'makes their day'.... And you know, it makes MY day to bring some unexpected joy to folks on the street as they go about their day. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

a fringe benefit of singin' at the farmer's market-

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Working the Farmers Market is harder than one might expect. You stand under a shelter in the heat or the rain or the chill and sing, in this case, for five hours. People walk by and some smile and put a dollar in the collector, others look right through you like you are not even there. Sometimes a whole bunch of folks clap, most of the time, no one acknowledges that you just completed a tune. But, at the end, while we are all packing up, the other vendors will come over to you and gift you and thank you for coming and sharing your music.

I had been staring at this particular sun flower for most of the morning. After all, it was listening to all my songs and the smile never left his face..... My neighboring vendor, and second biggest fan at the market (considering the flower was my first), brought it over to me and said it from the farmer. So cool that I had been watching it for hours!!

I have played now at several local Farmers Markets, and the Hudson one is definitely worth your time. Organic produce in copious quantities, iced drinks, GREAT locally roasted Strongtree Coffee, lots of plants for your garden, all sold by friendly folks. BUY FOOD *DIRECTLY* FROM THE PEOPLE WHO GROW IT!!!! It is one of the best ways to support your local economy and your neighbors.

And it feels good.....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

CD Release Party!!!!

My debut CD, Nighthawk, is going to be ready and I want to party around it!!! Jerry, at The Parlor Coffee House, has graciously opened his doors so that my band 'Some Folks She Knows' and I can play you live cuts from this record, some new material, and give you a taste of the CD itself. Come join us!!!! If you can't make the party, I hope you will look for 'Nighthawk' on CD Baby.....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

NIGHTHAWK coming soon.....

For Marilyn Miller, music is a mental, physical, and emotional activity: totally engaging, offering constant opportunities to grow, to explore, and to connect with audiences and other artists. This summer, the release of her 10-song debut album, Nighthawk, showcases her unique voice, her mastery of a wide range of song styles, and her emotional depth.

Nighthawk, produced by Todd Mack of Off the Beat 'N' Track Studio in Sheffield, MA, is a collection of songs ranging from the punkish-rock of "Crash and Burn" to the down-home country of "Crater." She doesn't stop there, however: there are also some folky ballads, a straight up blues piece, and then the title song – likely, you will want to listen to Nighthawk in the dark, with head phones. Marilyn's songs are highly personal, with catchy, fun and beautiful melodies and honest, thoughtful lyrics. Each song comes all wrapped up in musical magic created by an exciting set of musicians who define each song moment, heavily flavored with guitars of all sorts, pedal steel, violin and viola, piano and drums. This is art of many layers, and you will hear something new with each listen, and find yourself humming these tunes as you move through your day.

Hudson, NY and the surrounding towns have been home for Marilyn for most of her life, and her music deals with the contradictions inherent in an area which is at once both very rural and very urban. It is no surprise that, given the diversity of her sounds, her favorite musician is Neil Young, a man well known to follow his muse wherever it takes him. His influence is evident in these songs. As a performer, Marilyn is most often compared to Patti Smith, no doubt due to the high energy she displays in presenting her work, and her dedication to always seeking the truth in the music.

Live shows are planned locally throughout the summer, and you will also be hearing these songs on several local radio stations and internet stations. Marilyn has also been asked to perform on a local community TV station. The schedules and listings can be found on

This album has been put together with the loving help of many talented friends, from the album art work, to the players, to the people who have cheered her on along the way. She is a solid fan of live music, and you will find her most often encouraging others at an open mic, having an open jam at her country home, supporting a farmers' market or other cause, or busking on the streets of her hometown.

 All to keep the music flowing through....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

As an artist, what keeps you going, I am asked.......

What keeps me going? 

When I look up and see folks smiling and dancing and moving. I think that music is something that draws people together, makes them feel good, gives them some new ideas to think about or maybe expresses a feeling or a thought that they were not able to put together before. I think that music makes absolute and unique changes in a person's mood and psyche. Music heals like nothing else. Music puts us in touch with ourselves and with others in ways that are hard to define, but nevertheless, real and felt by the musician as well as the listener. Probably the first music we ever hear is the beating of our mothers is an irreplaceable part of being human. Connecting with all of that is what keeps me going, keeps me listening, keeps me playing......

Monday, May 9, 2011

Peint o Grwr Open Mic!!

Last night, I dragged myself to the Chatham Peint o Grwr, thinking I would REALLY rather have a fire at home and spend some time outside on this pretty, Spring day. But I had blown off going there before, and that really isn't fair, especially if I took a spot someone else could have filled...

So I walk in and right away feel a little better as several folks greet me and look glad that I am here....the guy that plays bass in the house band says, 'We gonna rock tonight!!!' and I raise thumbs up to him and go to find the sign up sheet to check my time and find a seat....

Lots of good players tonight, which is as usual at this open mic. I run into someone who recognizes me from Club Helsinki, and knows me by name. I am embarrassed that I can't return the politeness, and even mess up his name after I am given it.... so sorry, I am just still not really into this yet....

Time goes on and I know it must be getting close, and yep, I am on after this next guy.....and the band will come up with me.

NOW, I finally start to get excited and WAKE UP!!! Nerves start to fire, and I get my guitar and tune and start to pace in a tiny area to get the blood moving and my head in the right place to do some MUSIC...and they call me up.

I don't know what happens when I get up on a stage, but when I am facing the crowd, I don't have to think-- I just start to move, some kind of release happens, and I start to put IT out there....I give the band a (very brief) instruction and off we go!!!....None of them have ever heard the song, as it is a new original, but they worked with it, make any glitches sound like they were meant and then some, and we push the song up to where it has never gone before.....and people are dancing and having a great tme in front of me....laughing, watching, moving....

So I do another, and another and the response builds. After my new song 'Tequila', the bass player and drummer are smiling so hard they make me laugh!!!! Even the lead guitarist, who seems to be very serious about his work,  appears to be enjoying himself....and his guitar work is EXCELLENT!!! This band is GOOD!!!! 

I decide to close my set with 'Rocking in the Free World' and we ROCKED....the bar was singing the refrains with us, complete with harmonies (after all, this is a musician's crowd)..... and I got my first 'MAR-I-LYN!!!!' ever, shouted at me 
from the crowd.....and I gotta say, that feels GREAT.

What FUN!!!!

So, in the end, to say the least, I was REALLY HAPPY to be there and help folks feel good for a little bit on a beautiful spring night in Chatham, NY..... and I am thankful for that opportunity!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Neil Young - Love and Only Love - Hop Farm UK, July 2008

‎"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

what about that record?

It will be about 35 minutes long, 10 songs, so I don't know what that
makes it.....longer than an EP, but not quite an LP??? lol....

I have LOTS of instrumentation- from just a piano, a viola and a guitar to a full rocking-
out  band....songs that include fiddle, steel and electric guitars....there are a couple simple folky songs, but also rock, jam, country, blues and pop to round it all out--all my own songs. 

I am flat out amazed at the musicians i have on the album, they are all masters at their craft and they took my simple tunes and visions of what i wanted the songs to be, and made magic....

....and Todd Mack, the producer, has an ear and a sense of how to get to the
truth of the song that is just amazing....

Friday, April 1, 2011


LOVE the electric guitar in this!!!
and the GREAT ENERGY!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Now we are finished tracking....

So, it is done.
Well, the tracking is (that is, the actual recording of all the parts) it will be mixed and mixed and mixed.
It was only a couple months ago I didn't even know what 'mixed' or 'tracking' really meant.....and I still want to get down my thoughts from the process of making the record.
After all, I will never have another 'First Record' and I know that next time, it will be a whole different kettle of fish.
Let me say this though....I LOVE singing in the studio. I don't even mind the nit-picking little 'the way you sang night here is better than when you sang it there', because I have learned so much about making a sound that (I sincerely hope) is a good one that folks will want to listen to more than once.....
I love the WORK involved in creating songs, in developing melodies and crafting words and finding ways to accompany that on instruments. And, I now LOVE the work of crafting those words, melodies and instruments into a recording.
I have a great team working with me, a wonderful, supportive, fun team of musicians, the engineer and the producer.
I can't wait to hear what we made....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Keith Hamon in the studio, laying down lead guitar for the record-

Keith Hamon in the studio, laying down lead guitar for the record-

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Off the Beat N Tracks Recording Session #1

I stopped to get a cup of coffee, but could not find the $200 that I knew I had taken out of the bank just the day before--what to do???? Turning around and going back home to search for it meant I would certainly be late--and I suspected that my seriousness about this project was something that I needed to SHOW all involved....I wanted everyone to be working hard on my project and not taking it as the 'vanity project' I liked to say it was.....and besides, I am ALWAYS late....

I did find a couple dollars so that I could buy an egg and cheese on a biscuit, and, along with my coffee, that would hold me until lunch. I got back on the road and tried hard not to drive fast enough to attract the interest of the troopers.

When I pulled into the driveway five minutes late, every one but the producer, Todd Mack, was inside the studio and set up. Oh yeah, and ME. Todd came out of his house, still eating breakfast, and helped me with my guitar. He explained why I would not be needing it--since I would not be actually recording my vocals or guitar work today, he would like me to play his tele to minimize 'bleeding' into the drum mics, which is the part that we would be recording today.

The drum set was off to the side of the room, but looked to my eyes to be taking up more than its share of space, with all the mics on stands directed this way and that way over it and on the sides, and under and every which -a-way....and I immediately figured out why it took a couple hours to get THAT set up properly. I was introduced to Rob Sanzone, who would be the drummer on my CD. He turns out to be a joy to work with, and I hope that he will also be able to work with me on this project more in the future (I hear he plays a lot of different instruments.....really good).

My friend, mentor, and teacher, David Hodge, already had his bass strapped on, along with the smile that makes me instantly more relaxed, always. 

And Will Curtis, who I had worked with on the demo, was smiling HIS smile, which never seems to leave his face except when he is thinking HARD about something concerning the switches, knobs, levers, monitors and other assorted fear-inducing gear that is his domain. The Engineer.

The pleasantries are brief before Todd explains what he wants me to do and we set to work. It took a few songs for us to get a working rhythm going, but the professionalism mixed with good natured banter was great from the start. Basically, I would play the song while Rob tried this and that on the drums....I would often give a little instruction at the beginning as to the story, or the mood of the piece, or some other thing just to give the men an idea of the song as I saw it. Then maybe I would ask for a more simple part, or David would suggest a fill, or Todd ask for a certain sound ('a little more snare'), but what you will hear on the CD is just about *all* the hard work and soul of Rob. At one point, pretty far into the session, actually, I did comment that 'Neil Young is my musical hero by far above everyone else, and he is ALL about the feel and that is where I want to go with my music, too....I want it to sound good, yes, but more from FEEL than from perfection.' After that, decisions were made based mostly on 'spirit' and 'feel' than on 'notes' and 'beats'. Perfect.

I have been frustrated often, listening to my friend's CDs--they often don't sound like the person I know, but all spiffed and polished and cultured. Maybe they wanted the CD to sound like that, but I don't. I want my CD to sound like me, and I am not spiffed, polished OR cultured. I don't want it to sound sloppy or have bad notes or out of tune guitars or whatever. But I DO want it to sound organic and alive and and like me.....or rather like my BEST. 

The first time that Todd changed my song arrangement, I have to admit I got a bug up my arse. I don't know if he knew, but I did. And then he convinced me to try it, and I did and he was right and that sort of set the stage from then on in.....yeah, I am the artist, but Todd's art is to craft my songs into a CD. And his sense of what to do when and where was really spot on. 

And always such a great support, a great musician, with a great ear, a great trove of ideas to use and a great sense of when to do so.....he IS inspiration.

So, we played on......
And on.......
And on.......

Six and a half hours, with bathroom breaks, but really, we WORKED for six and a half straight hours. Playing. Singing. Suggesting. Trying. Deciding. Recording. 

Standing stock still after finishing for that looooooong silence after the take. 

When we finally did all the songs and Todd said, ok, let's listen, I thought perhaps three hours had gone by. LOL.

I wish I could remember more details, how we got certain ideas, the process we used to make decisions, but I can not. I remember Rob telling me, 'I trust Todd's ear', with the air about him that he was giving me some advice I would do well to heed. I remember how well Rob took my nebulous directions ('I want a lot of spook in this song') and Todd's ('little more kick drum') and DID IT. I remember watching David's face, eye's closed, feeling the song out, listening for the bass line the song wanted. It was a wonderful experience to be in the middle of those artists, calling on their creativity, their muses, to add to music that came from MY muse....


So we listened, and decided which track would be the drum track for the CD. Just decided. Sometimes, it would be obvious, but often, we listened again. The decision usually went to the track that showed Feel. But some had no decent takes, and we went back and did some more.

In all, this one thing, laying down drums, took eight hours. And I can't even remember the arrangements we came up with so that I can practice them. I left tired and energized and very very hungry.....LOL. I bet everyone was.....

I can't wait to go back and work some more.....