Both of Me
Dale Miller is a finger style guitarist living in Berkeley, California with his wife of 25 years and their dog and cat. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and was into music from a very young age, first listening to his father sing standards while driving the car or working around the house and then getting into Rock and Roll as it was born in the mid 1950's. His first record purchase was the 45 Yes It's Me and I'm in Love Again by Fats Domino. He soon had a collection that included Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. He began playing guitar in the folk boom of the early 1960's, first strumming simple tunes and then investigating the finger picking styles of Peter, Paul and Mary and other folk stars. From this base he became interested in the more intricate styles of roots players like Mississippi John Hurt, Son House and Skip James. Later, at the University of Texas, he met bluesmen Lightnin' Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb. A high point for the teenaged Miller was passing a whiskey bottle back a forth with the hard drinking Hopkins and washboard player Cleveland Chanier at a party. He hung with the yet to be famous Janis Joplin, Gilbert Shelton, Powell St. John, Toad Andrews and other Austin musicians and artists and began to realize the possibility of living an alternative life style. His biggest musical influence soon became John Fahey, who was the first person to perform solo finger picking guitar tunes in a concert setting. Miller began to experiment with increasingly intricate guitar solo arrangements. He perfected these techniques over two years (1967-68) of long evenings in the dirt floor, kerosene-lighted bamboo shack he built and lived in as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. On his return to the U.S. Miller first took six weeks of guitar lessons from Dave Parker in Washington, D.C. and then studied music theory under Bill Fowler at the University of Utah for a year. He traded ideas with many guitarists and learned licks and tunes from the fingerpicking books of Stefan Grossman, Happy Traum and others. He continued to practice hours a day. His arranging, composing and guitar playing skills constantly matured and evolved. In the early 1970s he signed a contract with Kicking Mule Records and recorded three well received solo albums for that small but highly respected and influential label. He became their best selling American based artist and toured extensively through out the decade. He was also on two anthologies for that company. In the 1980s Miller backed off from touring, became a part owner of a guitar shop in San Francisco, got married and began to play slide guitar, intrigued with the fat, sustaining legato notes of National Resophonic instruments. He worked behind the counter at his shop, taught guitar lessons and wrote articles for music magazines. He also promoted a few concerts (including a few with John Fahey) and got into computer programming. He played in the Bay Area on a regular basis including a year of weekly gigs as slide guitarist in the Blue Shadows behind bluesman Chester D. Wilson. Late in the decade he released a cassette of blues entitled Future Blues. In the 1990s Miller gave up concert promotion and his hours behind the counter decreased to free up time for his work as computer systems administrator for a San Francisco law firm. In 1994 he released a CD titled Both of Me featuring over dubbed duets of jazz standards with fingerpicked wooden guitar accompaniment and a slide lead played on a National. He worked with singers, most notably the talented Alison Faith Levy. He also briefly teamed up with the young harmonica virtuoso Tom Walbank as The 24th St. Sheiks. He also played the occasional solo guitar gig, usually at Berkeley's Freight and Salvage where he has been a regular for 25 years. In 2000 Miller left Noe Valley Music to concentrate on his playing and recording career. He spent half of 1999, all of 2000 and half of 2001 planning, transcribing, learning and recording opera arias arranged for solo guitar. This effort resulted in the CD Azzurro Verdi. Later he released an EP length CD on which he accompanies singer Alison Faith Levy on jazz, country and blues standards. In 2006 he was included on the John Fahey tribute CD The Revenge of Blind Joe Death. Most recently he has released a solo guitar CD of jazz, ragtime, blues and Beatles tunes entitled Time Goes By. You can check all Miller's CDs here at CDBaby.