Alt-Country Rocker Rhett Miller Bonds with Big Sur
May 8, 2011
It was good to be back in Big Sur again. Rhett Miller's solo, acoustic performance at Fernwood—originally scheduled to be at Henry Miller Library—made it even better to be back in Monterey County's natural majestic wonderland.
Most of Miller's set was made up of Old 97's tunes, though he included several songs spanning most of the albums of his solo catalog.
When we arrived, Miller was sitting at a table with his guitar, finishing dinner and writing a setlist. That’s when he displayed an ultimate act of coolness: He endearingly asked my buddy—a longtime, diehard fan—for song requests.
The approachable Austin, Texas-born dreamboat, wrote down my starstruck friend’s requests with delight.
After a noteworthy performance by opener, Robert Francis, Miller took the darkened stage, which remained spotlight-free throughout the entire show. An acoustic guitar, glistening golden brown hair, his trademark mole and impassioned voice provided all the necessary glow. One concertgoer said his solo performance was much more feisty than his Old 97’s shows.
Below, is a video featuring “Champaign, Illinois,” a lyrical original, set to the music of Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row,” with Dylan’s blessing. “Bob’s manager called me and said, ‘He likes the song,’” Miller explained with a loving smirk. The Old 97’s “Rollerskate Skinny,” is the other song on the video.
Miller definitely made some lifetime friends in Big Sur, and they are already yearning for an encore.