by Z Squared (Bruce & Dana Zimmerman)
Trojan Heart is the new release by central PA native Rebecca Marie Miller. Miller, a former member of local favorites Brave the Day and most recently a member of The Mynabirds, has put together very solid set of songs on this release. Her songs are well-executed, with each song giving the listener an atmospheric experience. The songwriting is superb and the production is solid.
Early on are the strong tracks ‘If I Were’ and ‘Beggars Can’t Be Choosers’. The vocals are out in front of the mix allowing Miller’s voice to do the heavy lifting. This is a wise maneuver as her voice is as good an instrument as any other on the album.
The album itself has a decidedly Alt-Country feel to it, with more than nod to the classic Country and Western sound of Patsy Cline. On songs like ‘Mexico’ and ‘In a Blanket’ the production, instrumentation and subject matter ooze a sound that is definitely not “new” country. ‘In a Blanket’ has banjo and harmonica as the main accompaniment, to stunning effect. The album has measured use of textured sounds yet does not sound over-produced. As guitars drift in and out of the mix, the listener is treated to the feeling of a live music experience.
Lyrically Trojan Heart is a strong statement. In the middle of the piece there are a trio of interpersonal relationship songs. ‘Wrecking Ball’ is about people who know each other perhaps too well: “I got the message you left, where you say you are doing well. You seem a bit out of sorts, but I am a hard sell. You have a lot up your sleeve and you swear you’ll never tell.” The song explores emotional baggage and missed opportunities. The second song in this area ‘Venom’ is a standout: “I always wanna believe it, The pretty things that you speak… You are the master deceiver… The king of your loose schemes…” Through all the condemnation and chaos, one gets the message that the situation has finally come to a boil. ‘Dead Flowers’ seems to symbolize a relationship destined for collapse, with the flowers as a metaphor for the end of the line.
The album mission statement is the opening track ‘Wild White’. “Into the wild, wild white… Into the black, black night… We’ve got a right to go…” It sets the tone for songs about relationships, loneliness, and personal discovery. And that sometimes loneliness IS the road to personal discovery. At clocking in at under a minute this song is designed to give the listener an taste of what is to come next without spoiling the appetite.
This is a very fine debut from a talented singer/songwriter. She has a solid foundation upon which to build. Pick up Trojan Heart and prepare yourself for the surprise inside.
Recently Rebecca Marie Miller played a CD release Party at a packed Abbey Bar in Harrisburg, PA with a reunion show by Brave the Day.