Marilyn Miller - Nighthawk
By Paul Docker
I've known Marilyn for 10 years now and when I first met her I don't recall her wielding a guitar often if at all. Since then she has become an increasing musical presence at the IRF campfire and on the stage at OPL and also, more significantly, at gigs in her local area of New York State. Now she has turned out a consummately performed debut album of her own songs featuring both her songwriting skills and various guitar stylings.
The album moves between all out rockers such as third track 'What Is It?' with its fuzzed up guitars and sharp solo to swinging country-tinged songs such as 'Crater' to more introspective songs such as the intriguing title track 'Nighthawk' which has elements of Patti Smith in the vocalization.
There is a common theme of love and loss running through the songs, mostly shot through with a sharp line of disappointment aimed at the persons she is pointing her lyrics towards. But also there is a sense of fun, particularly on the faster-paced 'country' songs like 'Dancing Tonight' (although that ends in a split too!).
The spirit of Neil Young is in evidence in parts on this album and that is to be expected given his influence on and importance to Marilyn. But that is definitely not a negative (if you think it is you are obviously flicking through someone else's magazine) and the diversity of the music here nods to a varied listening pallet. Marilyn certainly has her own muse in terns of the lyrics here.
As Marilyn says on 'Crash and Burn' - 'I said what I said because it's what I think' and to those of you who know her, you'll recognize a whole lot of Marilyn in that line. She's can seem to be a tough cookie but judging from the music and lyrics here there's a soft centre deep inside that underpins the emotions and depth and she brings to this album. Highly recommended.
Marilyn has generously made the album available as a download with a 'pay what you like' facility and no minimum. I think it deserves more than that but even you do grab it for free, if you like it ( and I'm sure you will) go back and paypal her some money for her art. She deserves it.
Available here - http://marilynmillermusic.bandcamp.com/album/nighthawk
From Guitar Noise:
A passionate debut CD that both rocks and sighs, Nighthawk takes you through a wild musical journey thriough the heart of Hudson, New York.
Artist: Marilyn Miller
Artist: Marilyn Miller
Review by Alec Cunningham
When an artist decides to create an album by compiling a list of songs from multiple genres, it can be an iffy decision – especially when the album is the artist’s first release. But that certainly did not stop Marilyn Miller when she decided to release her debut album entitled Nighthawk. Though the range of genres was a bold decision, Miller pulls it off without a single hitch. The album is everywhere at once, ranging from rock and folk to even blues and country.
The second song on Nighthawk, “Crater,” creates an old timey Western sound. Miller’s “na na nah’s,” the song’s twangy guitar sounds, and the background melody of a violin create an interestingly catchy tune that could easily be mistaken for one of Patsy Cline’s. Miller details how it feels to be stuck in the ‘crater’ of a relationship. “Don’t give me more than you are able, but a little bit of time would have made my day.”
Nighthawk continues with “Crash and Burn,” a rock song that contains a bit of a bite. Miller sings, “You know you’re gonna crash and burn, but I bet you still don’t learn.” The edgier tone and lyrics of the song gives it obvious punk characteristics. By this time in the album, the listener has gained a definite feel for the diverse range of genres that Miller is able to pull off. Miller taps into the roots of each genre in a skillful way that makes it seem as if she is a seasoned veteran within each music scene. “What Is It?” for example, is a hands down, pure blues tune. The guitar creates a fond bluesy melody, while the drums can be heard in the background keeping beat. The two would be nothing without Miller’s voice, however. Her voice ties the whole song together into a solid, well performed track.
The album changes direction once again after “What Is It?” to venture onto the title track of the album. “Nighthawk” is perhaps the most tranquil song on the album. It’s softer, mellow tune saunters along as Miller sings, “Nighthawk, can you give me what I want when I want it . . . when I need it?” It is a simple song with few lyrics, but Miller does well to keep an ambiguous tint over the song that urges the listener to remain focused on the lyrics.
Having apparent country tones, “Dancing Tonight” follows along the same lines as “Crater.” It will take more than one listen to soak in the song’s intricately woven storyline. Miller describes a girl whose mother warns her against going dancing. She goes against her mother’s wishes, and while there, she meets a fiddle player who “just kept on playing the fiddle until he broke [her] heart right down the middle.” The song ends with the narrator warning her children just as her mother had warned her.
While Nighthawk is a solid album through and through, Miller may do well to spend a bit of time honing in on her vocals. By no means is Miller’s voice subpar – she has a raw voice that suits her music well. Nighthawk does well to encourage the listener to listen to not only the music as a whole, but to soak in the lyrics as well. It is an album that can be listened to over and over again without becoming bored.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)