||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Singer-Songwriter Bill Miller
To Perform at UW-Eau Claire
MAILED: April 10, 2000|
A concert by Native American recording artist Bill Miller will highlight a two-day residency at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The singer-songwriter will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, in Schofield Auditorium.
An accomplished flutist and guitarist, Miller examines the Native American experience through his music. He is a rogue rocker who has as much in common with Johnny Cash as he does with Neil Young. It is why disparate icons Steve Earl and Tori Amos are among his most ardent admirers.
"Bill Miller is a Native American songwriter with a gift for penning emotionally vivid and visually powerful ballads about Indian life past and present," wrote reviewer Scott Alarik in The Boston Globe. "Delivered in a throaty, emotional tenor and rich, pulsing guitar, Miller's best songs are not pure narratives but musical murals of powerfully visual images and moments."
Miller is of Mohican-German parents, a Native American raised on the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation in Wisconsin a far cry from the studios that have become his home in Nashville. It has been a tough life for Miller, one filled with the racism and abuse that has been chronicled so often. But, ironically, his songs are about love and hope, passage, the inner strength to survive.
His recordings include "Ghostdance," which will be re-released by Vanguard Records this spring; "Native Suite" (1996), an album of chants and dances with Robert Mirabal; and "Raven In The Snow" (1995), a roots-driven testimony to rock-and-roll, accented at times by Miller's haunting and powerful flute.
"The Red Road," released on Warner Western in 1994, was a folk-laced spiritual snapshot that brought Miller out of professional obscurity. Eddie Vedder became an unlikely flagbearer after Pearl Jam performed with Miller at an Apache Indian benefit in Mesa, Arizona. Then Tori Amos called, and Miller found himself opening her shows on the "Under the Pink" tour. His alliance with Amos propelled Miller into the musical mainstream.
Some of Miller's admirers know of his heritage; some do not. Some know he cut his teeth on rock-and-roll; even fewer know he is a painter who contributes artwork to his albums. He all too often has been categorized because of one image his bloodline.
"We need the courage to turn out the lights, so to speak, and not see the color of each other's skin," Miller says. "As soon as we can just talk and respect each other for what we are, then we can move forward, let our hair down with one another. That's what my music is about."
Tickets for the April 26 concert are $7 ($5 with a UW-Eau Claire student ID card) at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727, and at the door.
Miller's other residency activities include a dinner with American Indian UW-Eau Claire students (by invitation only) at 5 p.m. Wednesday; a presentation titled "American Indian Musical Traditions" at Lakeshore Elementary School at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 27; a master class on Native American flutes at noon Thursday in Phillips Recital Hall, Haas Fine Arts Center; and a world music classroom visit at 1 p.m. Thursday in Room 159 of Haas Fine Arts Center.
Miller's residency is sponsored by the University Activities Commission of the Student Senate in cooperation with American Indian Awareness Week activities at UW-Eau Claire.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 10, 2000