Search - Scott Miller and the Commonwealth :: Thus Always to Tyrants

Thus Always to Tyrants
Scott Miller and the Commonwealth
Thus Always to Tyrants
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Scott Miller lives up to the legacy of his former outfit, the V-Roys, by delivering one of the most promising roots-rock breakthroughs since Steve Earle's Guitar Town. Working with up-and-coming Nashville producer R.S. Fie...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Scott Miller and the Commonwealth
Title: Thus Always to Tyrants
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sugarhill
Release Date: 6/12/2001
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Country Rock, Roots Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 015891106625

Synopsis's Best of 2001
Scott Miller lives up to the legacy of his former outfit, the V-Roys, by delivering one of the most promising roots-rock breakthroughs since Steve Earle's Guitar Town. Working with up-and-coming Nashville producer R.S. Field (Webb Wilder, Billie Joe Shaver), Miller's first solo album ranges from the Buffalo Springfield-like rock of "Across the Line" to the disarming piano spiritual "Room on the Cross." ("Take me with you when you go, I can't stand it here alone," he sings in an aching tenor. "Is there room on the cross for me?") Elsewhere, the Virginia singer-songwriter sets his great-great-grandfather's wartime letters to music in "Dear Sarah" and teams up with fellow Knoxville natives Superdrag for "Absolution," a track that recalls R.E.M. in their most Mike Mills-dominated moments. With intelligent songwriting and frequently inspired arrangements, Thus Always to Tyrants marks Miller as a talent to watch. --Bill Forman

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CD Reviews

Jefferson Would Be Proud
Jim English | Barboursville, VA United States | 06/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"During a recent NPR interview, Scott Miller mentioned the influence of a Thomas Jefferson quote on his own writing. Jefferson said, "I am a revolutionary so my son can be a farmer, so his son can be a poet. "Thus Always to Tyrants" (the state motto for the Commonwealth of Virginia) is a beautiful concept album that explores Miller's own experiences as the poet and his connection to the people and the land that produced him. Perhaps the best way to describe the record is that it is equal parts Revolutionary, Farmer and Poet. Songs such as "Absolution" and "Goddamn the Sun" make good use of crunching electric guitars, unique vocal effects and punk-rock energy. Other numbers, such as "Dear Sarah" and "Highland County Boy" are as organic as the Virginia soil with their supporting fiddle and banjo parts provided by Tim O'Brien and Dirk Powell ("Songs from the Mountain"). "Across the Line," "Mess of this Town," "Daddy Raised a Boy" and "Loving that Girl" are a thinking man's classic rock tunes that feature some familiar guitar chops from the acclaimed Dave Grissom (who appeared on many of the John Cougar Melloncamp records). The album even contains a cover of an obscure rock classic ("Miracle Man") and a hymnal ("Is There Room on the Cross for Me), which solidifies the fact that no musical territory is off-limits to Miller and the Commonwealth. Great songwriting, great performances, great producing (R.S. Field) and a great concept - it all adds up to one of the best records of 2001."
What's Up with the Organ???????
David Smith | Northeast Tennessee | 06/03/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Most of the reviews listed on this page sum up "Thus Always to Tyrants" quite well, so I don't want to rehash what has truthfully been said. However, I noticed that one reviewer, Brad Ellsworth, has gotten knocked for some of his insightful criticisms of the disc, so I'd like to offer some support for and clarification of a few of his points. Overall, "Thus Always to Tyrants" is a solid effort that just barely misses being great. Songs such as "Across the Line" and "Mess of this Town" are clever rock-inspired songs that are catchy and well written. For those who enjoy Miller's acoustic efforts a bit more than the rock-oriented songs, "Dear Sarah," "Highland County Boy," and "Is There Room On the Cross for Me" all showcase a fine talent for creating great lyrical imagery and weaving it into a listenable song (something many artists are unable to do). Unfortunately, the brilliant moments are marred by the presence of a few bad instrumentation decisions and one terrible song. Whether hardened V-Roys fans or Alt. Country enthusiasts will want to admit it or not, there are some aspects of this CD that are lame. I've noticed the same problem on the latest Webb Wilder release ("About Time"), so I'm beginning to wonder if producer R. S. Field, despite his proven brilliance, might be the source of the problem. How anyone can convince themselves that terrible songs such as the inane "Yes, I Won't" (I hope Scott didn't believe such a title was a clever play on words) and the bland "Absolution" are worthy of being included on this CD is beyond my comprehension. Then, there are some selections that are brilliant but are ruined by the presence of an ORGAN for God's sake. "Miracle Man"--despite what a previous reviewer said--is a great tune with a powerful vocal delivery, yet the song loses its punch with the inclusion of a Bruce Hornsby-sounding relic of an organ. Whoever thought an organ in a rock-oriented song would be a good idea? I realize that Scott is a roots-rock/Americana artist who wants to utilize traditional instrumentation, but an organ just doesn't work. It's such decisions that allow a potentially great song to lose its momentum and become average at best. Such musical low points are what keep the CD from standing out from countless other releases that do the same thing. Overall, "Thus Always to Tyrants" is a CD worthy of purchase despite its shortcomings, but it unfortunately doesn't live up to its full potential."
T. C. Ross | Washington, D.C. | 01/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I wasn't too sure how this would be when I picked it up, but it just grabs a hold and won't let go. I find myself thinking of Drivin' and Cryin', pre-Green R.E.M., as well as older Southern rock and folk rock. And then there are the two Civil War songs, which are amazingly evocative. Miller's writing is incredible and the playing (both his own and the Commonwealth's) make for a fine package."