Life After All
Todd Mincks and Brett Miller are educators by profession, usually looked to as the ones with the answers. Perhaps it's not surprising that when they decided to detour their passions toward music and record their debut CD, Life After All, they ended up with more questions than answers, more shades of gray than absolutes. There's a lot of musing on this album, thoughts about love and relationships, but deeper questions as well '' political, spiritual, and philosophical ponderings '' deep stuff to be sure. Such substance can keep you, the listener, engaged for countless spins of this CD, but the best thing about this record is it's very listenable music. Mincks and Miller have been musical partners for several years now, and have developed their songwriting together, borne out of a common appreciation for a long list of lesser-known singer-songwriters along the lines of James McMurtry or Jack Logan. Likewise they mine from the same rich veins of Americana, folk and rock traditions. They have found their place musically with the help of the players around them, literally their neighbors in Springfield, Missouri, including producer/guitarist Mark Bilyeu, keyboardist/mandolinist Jody Bilyeu, and percussionist Jay Williamson of Big Smith; also the talents of pedal-steel guitarist Dean Holman (formerly with Ricky Skaggs), violinist Molly Healey, drummer Kenny Wirt, and percussionist "Dirty" Dave Harp. There are no papers or final exams, but Mincks and Miller may still have something to teach you in Life After All.