Little Folk Songs
The year Elvis left Sun Records to sign with RCA, Rusty Miller was born in Austin, Texas. As a kid growing up in California music for him meant The Beatles and whatever else was coming out of his radio. From Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash to Buffalo Springfield and Jim Croce, Rusty was singing everything he could. He got his first guitar at age 13 and as soon as he learned a few chords, he was writing his own songs. In high school Rusty discovered an amazing thing: he could play Elvis Presley and his classmates loved it. He became Yreka High School's resident celebrity performing at pep rallies and assemblies. Later, when he first heard 'Take It Easy' by the Eagles he was hooked on that California country-rock sound. He now counts that band among his biggest influences, but gives equal credit to Dan Fogelberg, Jackson Browne, John Lennon and, the man he calls 'the chosen one,' Bob Dylan. In 1976, he experienced his first Grateful Dead concert, and their loose jams and tight grooves have inspired him ever since. He still adds a healthy dose of their songs to his shows because he counts Robert Hunter & Jerry Garcia tunes among the best ever written. Rusty likes to declare, 'Elvis freed my body, Dylan opened my mind, Lennon set my spirit free and Garcia touched my heart.' Rusty moved to Nashville in 1990 to perfect his songwriting skills. 'Nashville's a hard town to get recognition in because of all the talent here but it's made me a better songwriter,' he said. Nashville also presents other opportunities. Like many other artists, Rusty started out in radio. Since moving to Nashville he's worked with many music legends and upstarts too. Some of Rusty's legendary friends include: Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson , Rosanne Cash , Janis Ian, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs, Eddy Arnold, Arlo Guthrie, Glen Campbell, Brenda Lee, John Hiatt, Joan Baez, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Bobby Weir, Sam Phillips, Doc Watson, Iris Dement, Hal Ketchum, Ricky Skaggs, plus many more! Nashville presents other opportunities. In a social setting he gets to talk to people like the one and only John Prine, who he once asked for some songwriter advice. Prine told him, 'Write about the simple things Rusty.' Rusty stays true to this, but writes about those simple things with a great passion. 'Unfortunately because the world's in such chaos I find myself continuing with John Lennon's bent toward writing anti-violence and anti-prejudice songs. We need to start lifting each other up instead of putting each other down. That's what I feel I have to write about,' he says emphatically. His self-produced solo CD called 'Peace' contains many of these songs as well as his Little Folk Songs album. Rusty showcases a style rich with sweet & soulful vocals and rootsy, percussive guitar. Though he's always writing and working on new material, his passion is playing live so he continues to tour. Rusty says he must keep taking his music to the people. 'I've learned that each audience is different and you've got to be versatile enough to give them what they want,'says Rusty. That's why his shows include so many different styles of music; from folk, blues & country to jazz, alternative & rock. He's definitely a musician's musician and a singer's singer if there ever was one! Back in Nashville if your lucky enough, you may catch him at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe or some other local venue. He's also been featured in opening slots for many national and regional acts including Michelle Shocked, Amazing Rhythm Aces, Jonell Mosser, Bonepony, Johnny Neel, Marcus Hummon, Gary Nicholson, The Nationals, Sarah Masen, Marshall Chapman, Jimmy Hall and so many others. Rusty's always ready to play, and once they hear, he finds people always ready to listen.