Brant Miller has just re-created paradise or to be exact "Songs Of Paradise". With the help of the immortal genius of Western Swing Colonel Buster Doss, Brant has made one of the finest albums ever. This CD is one of the forerunners of the new Western Swing movement along with others like Rooster Quantrell and Dave "Pappy" Hammell. The Western Swing movement is a smooth blend of Country and Jazz that is quickly taking root all over the world and Brant has just stepped on board that rocket.The success of the CD has been due to a large part by the very wise choice of producer: Colonel Buster Doss the man behind the new Western Swing movement worldwide. Using the cream of Nashville's musicians and Brant's excellent songwriting and singing The Colonel has produced a classic that will stand the test of time. Great listening and a rating of all the stars in the Sky for the gang from STARDUST! We had an opportunity to talk to Brant about this new turn in his music and here is the interview:
Q: Brant, would you tell us a little about your background?
A: Well, I was born in New England but spent most of my formative years in South Texas. In my 20s I lived in various places like Providence, Rhode Island, Pittsburgh, PA, and Cape May, New Jersey. Though most of my life has been spent in San Antonio, I have deep ties to the Eastern seaboard. I think this partially explains why I'm someone who can feel pretty much at home anywhere while, at the same time, I'm not really sure there's any one place that I can say is my home!
Q: Clearly living in different places has had an impact on your songwriting.
A: For sure. I think we are all influenced by every one of our experiences. You might hear things in a certain place you wouldn't hear somewhere else. And you also get influenced by the music that the people around you turn you on to. As a young boy, I loved going to the movies and, as a result, I developed a real appreciation for symphonic motion picture scores. My first records were soundtracks. I also listened to top 40 radio constantly and was influenced by the pop music of the mid to late 60s, which I think was very fortunate for me because it was such great, dynamic music. Everything from Motown, like Stevie Wonder and the Four Tops, to the British invasion of the Beatles, the Yardbirds and many others, impacted me. I started recording my own songs on a personal tape deck when I was a young teenager. I liked conceptual albums and The Who's Rock Opera "Tommy" inspired me. I did a couple of my own Rock Operas -- not too great, but probably not really all that bad either (although I haven't listened to them in a very long time!)
Q: The first release from your new CD is called "Country Jazz." At what point in your life did you get interested in country music?
A: Well, it was after I had already gotten interested in jazz! Ironically, living in the South, I didn't really listen to much country or jazz. Again, this has to do a lot with my background and the people around me, as well as where my head was at at the time. We didn't have old Hank Williams or Charlie Parker records circulating among my family members. But my Mom did have Perry Como and Tony Bennett and some other great stuff which she let me listen to night and day! She's a singer and has a beautiful voice and her love of music has been a profound influence in my life. She also had (and still does) some big band 78s on slate, various stuff and Louis Armstrong, who she loves, but those slate records are so fragile, I don't think they got played very much -- I stuck with listening to her vinyl so I wouldn't break anything! I probably heard them at least once, but at the time they didn't have the impact they would later -- again, I was really digging the more pop stuff. When I went back East to Rhode Island for college in the early 70s I got introduced to a whole lot of new music. I had a girlfriend who was really into modern jazz artists like John Coltrane and Miles Davis and I learned to love that music, especially after seeing Dizzy Gillespie live in a small club in Newport. I had been a pianist and guitarist but soon I learned the saxophone. And I started playing in a variety of bands. This began to really open me up, leading me to a greater appreciation of folk music, too, paving the way toward country. But it wasn't until I met Nancy Glasgow in San Antonio in the mid 80s that things really started to open up for me. My fiancee at the time introduced us. This was the biggest shift in my life because Nancy introduced me to a spiritual practice and approach toward living and appreciating life that impacted everything for me in a fundamental way, including my relationship with music. Down the road she introduced me to Col. Buster Doss, an old friend and associate of hers. Since then, the early 90s, I have been recording for Buster's Stardust of Nashville record label, the largest independent country label there is. Stardust has been for me like going to a University of Country Music, and Buster Doss has been my Country Music Department Chairman. Meanwhile, Nancy Glasgow has been my Dean of Student Affairs! It's been the best education one could hope for, and my appreciation of these two outstanding mentors is immeasurable. I must have done a lot of good in the past to have the kind of good fortune to have them in my life now. It makes me want to jump for joy!
Q: What's next for you, Brant?
A: My attitude is, from this day forward, to continue, with ten times the effort and energy I've used so far, to learn everything I can about music and about life in general from Nancy and Buster and everyone I meet, and to hopefully translate what I learn into my becoming a better person and thus creating greater music. My dream is to make music that will encourage, inspire and delight people. And I feel in my heart that I've only just begun to scratch the surface of my abilities!
Q: Thank you, Brant, for the interview.
A: Thank you, Thomas, for this wonderful opportunity!
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