Daniel Miller

Listening Rooms

A small room in a back house in an east Dallas neighborhood. Two Englishmen and a Texan. Lots of guitars. A violin.

The first act is one of the Englishmen, the younger of the two. He sings with an accent and reminds you of many of the superb singer songwriters from that island. He’s witty. He’s soft. He’s loud. His songs are sometimes simple, sometimes impossibly complex. The lyrics–also!–from silly to profound, sometimes within a single verse.

Next up is your friend. His new record is possibly one of his best. The live arrangements for just his voice, nylon string guitar, and one other electric guitarist are amazing. When a guest violinist joins, it is sublime.

He plays a song you wrote and thanks you for it before he starts into the first chords, plucked instead of strummed at first. You give a slight nod. It is satisfying. Very satisfying.

You get to casually chat with the headlining performer before his set. He has an ease and sense of humor that is instantly endearing. You know he was foundational to a number of records–an entire sound, even. That sound was a huge influence on you and a lot of your peers.

Sadly, you’re forced to leave early, to relieve the babysitter before midnight. Later you pour over the vast collection of material he’s assembled about his long career. Just the write up of your favorite record from the band is amazing. Oh, and he produced that new record by your friend, too.

You’re so thankful that this space exists. That independent music still lives and in this landlocked town besides. There needs to be more space like this, more moments like this. More sitting down in real life, playing music, listening, living, caring.

310 words