Ben Miller Band Returns With ‘Choke Cherry Tree’ Jan 26, Rolling Stone Country Premieres “Akira Kurosawa” Video


Photo credit: Carl Geers

The Ben Miller Band is set to return with Choke Cherry Tree via New West Records on January 26th, 2018. The Joplin, Missouri-bred combo’s third album and second New West Records release introduces a retooled lineup with Miller and fellow founding member Scott Leeper joined by new additions Rachel Ammons and Smilin’ Bob Lewis. The pair’s multi-instrumental skills bring added authority to Miller’s rootsy new compositions while maintaining the high energy level that originally endeared the band to its fans. The 11-song Choke Cherry Tree was produced by Chris Funk of The Decemberists whose own multi-instrumental abilities helped expand the band’s sonic options. The album features guest appearances from Jenny Conlee and Nate Query (also of the Decemberists), renowned saxophonist Ralph Carney (Tom Waits, Tin Huey), Dan Hunt of Neko Case’s band, Ural Thomas, Rev Shines of Lifesavas, and more. The consistently compelling album offers new examples of Miller’s deceptively unpretentious songcraft, beneath whose ramshackle exterior lurks sturdy, infectious melodies and resonant, emotionally insightful lyrics. Rolling Stone Country has premiered the video for album track “Akira Kurosawa” today, commenting, “A stomping rocker that boasts a monstrous, wicked riff and compelling hook, ‘Akira Kurosawa’ is a stream-of-consciousness rumination on film and the nature of creating art.” Kurosawa, an incredibly influential Japanese filmmaker, is widely regarded as one of the most important filmmakers of all time and the video features clips from many of his films. See it HEREChoke Cherry Tree will be available digitally, as well as compact disc & vinyl and is now available for pre-order via NEW WEST RECORDS. The Ben Miller Band have also announced their initial North American tour dates in support of Choke Cherry Tree, launching November 30th in Denver, CO (Please see all dates below, with more to be added).

Since its formation in 2004, the Ben Miller Band has staked out an iconoclastic niche that’s established them as both a one-of-a-kind creative unit and a grass-roots fan favorite. Channeling a century’s worth of far-flung American musical influences into rousing songcraft that radiates with smarts and soul, Miller’s tunes achieve a musical and emotional depth that belies the materials (and the musicians’) rough exterior. Word of their charismatic live shows spread and the band has astounded audiences across North America, the U.K., and Europe, where they’ve toured to rave reviews (including a high-profile tour of Europe with ZZ Top, thanks to the patronage of avowed Ben Miller Band fan Billy Gibbons). Their early D.I.Y. approach extended to the lo-tech, largely self-built instruments the band members still play on stage, including Miller’s thrift-shop guitars and banjos and Scott Leeper’s one-string washtub bass.

Miller says, “Early in the process of making this album, I thought that we either had to really nail our live approach in the recording studio, or we needed to forget about that and just work on capturing the songs in an inventive way that presents them in their best light. We decided on the latter approach, and we never looked back.” He adds, “I did more demos than usual, and really hashed out the songs at home, which gave me and Chris a really good starting point to work the songs. It was the opposite of just jumping in and playing and trying to capture it on the mics. Even though there was more collaboration with other people on this album, it’s probably the least compromised album I’ve ever made.”

Ben Miller Band Choke Cherry Tree Track List:
1. Nothing Gets Me Down
2. Akira Kurosawa
3. One More Time
4. Big Boy
5. Trapeze
6. Lighthouse
7. Redwing Blackbird
8. Life of Crime
9. Sketchbook
10. My Own Good Time
11. Mississippi Cure

Ben Miller Band On Tour: 
November 30 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
December 1 – Salida, CO @ Soulcraft Brewing
December 8 – Springfield, MO @ Patton Alley Pub
December 9 – Conway, AR @ King’s Live Music
December 16 – Washington, MO @ Driftwood Distillery & Tap
December 31 – Crested Butte, CO @ Public House
January 9 – St. Louis, MO @ The Bootleg
January 10 – Newport, KY @ The Revival Room
January 11 – Warrendale, PA @ Jergel’s Rhythm Grille
January 12 – Vienna, VA @ Jammin Java
January 13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Milkboy
January 16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory
January 17 – Portland, ME @ House of Music
January 18 – Uncasville, CT @ Wolf Den
January 19 – Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse
January 20 – Plattsburgh, NY @ Strand Theater
January 23 – Port Chester, NY @ Garcia’s at The Capitol Theatre
January 24 – Syracuse, NY @ Funk ‘n Waffles
January 25 – Cleveland, OH @ The Beachland Ballroom
January 26 – Newark, OH @ Thirty One West Ballroom
January 27 – Lexington, KY @ Willies
January 30 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Hi-Fi
January 31 – Auburn Hills, MI @ Callahan’s Music Hall
February 1 – Kalamazoo, MI @ Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
February 2 – Milwaukee, WI @ Shank Hall
February 3 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern