|Thus Always to Tyrants|
|Studio album by|
|Released||June 12, 2001|
|Scott Miller chronology|
Thus Always to Tyrants is a 2001 album released by alternative country musician Scott Miller, and the first album credited to Scott Miller & the Commonwealth. It was Miller's first full-length album release after the breakup of his previous band, The V-Roys.
Miller was one of the leaders of The V-Roys, an alternative country band that was on Steve Earle's E-Squared Records, and described as "a critically acclaimed, commercially under appreciated" band with a "tasty brand of roots rock".When explaining his decision to begin a solo career, Miller said that the band reached their creative peak, some band members did not like touring, and that Earle lost interest.
Shortly after The V-Roys broke up, Miller secured a publishing deal with Welk Music Group.In May 2000, he recorded four songs with Nashville producer R.S. Field and veteran Nashville session musicians. These songs reflected a classic rock 'n' roll sound. Field said, "We were going for a full-bodied sound, without trying to just ape yesterday. Obviously Neil Young, obviously [Tom] Petty, and then some of the British stuff too."
Miller was able to secure a deal with Sugar Hill, despite the label's preference of acoustic acts.Miller and Field brought in experienced musicians for the subsequent recordings, including members of Knoxville's Superdrag, The Judybats, David Grissom, and bluegrass musician Tim O'Brien.
The album's title, Thus Always to Tyrants is a translation of the official motto of the state of Virginia (Sic semper tyrannis in Latin). The album cover is also Virginia's state seal. This is reflective of the themes on the album; Miller lyrics are both autobiographical about his life in Virginia, and also of his family's history in the Shenandoah Valley.
Miller stated that he "tried to make a whole record all about Virginia, about my past, about moving to Tennessee" and "going from a boy to a man".A review summarized that Miller "dug into his family history in places like Augusta, Highland and Bath counties and unearthed letters and tales from the Civil War". Another review described the album as "mingling themes from Virginia-related historical fables and current-day experiences of self-discovery and maturity with musical styles that veer from dynamic pop with gigantic rock hooks to a soulful Appalachian-style hymn". No Depression writes, "The overall sense is of a newfound and stubbornly won acceptance of responsibility and purpose". Relocation and starting over is another theme noted.
Two songs on the album are based on letters that Miller's great-great-grandfather sent home from his time serving in the Confederacy in the Civil War. Noted Appalachian musicians Tim O'Brien and Dirk Powell played on these songs.
Miller explained how the Civil War relates to his upbringing of growing up in the South with a father from north of the Mason-Dixon line, and the themes on the album:
My father is Pennsylvania Dutch. Sometimes I felt like we fought that war over and over and over when I was a teenager. A battle of wills. He was the breadwinner who told me what to do, and I was the skinny kid who was mule-stubborn. Much like that war. Two sides who felt they were morally right and bullied and backed themselves into a corner over 80 years until it came to blows. It was stupid. Not glamorous at all. Fought by poor men for rich men. No defense for it. Most of that war was fought in my backyard. There are still trenches all over Virginia, what builders haven’t bulldozed over. How could it not be in my conscious? People died there.
The album features a cover of "Miracle Man", a song by the 1960s psychedelic rock band The Brogues, which Miller said fit in well with the album's themes.
|The New York Times||(extremely favorable)|
Thus Always to Tyrants received significant praise from a variety of publications. Neil Strauss of the New York Times writes that Miller is "this year's Ryan Adams, a talented singer-songwriter emerging from a cult band (the V-Roys) with an astonishingly good solo album".The Austin Chronicle wrote that the album is "packed with one well-crafted song after another" and that "Miller covers a lot of musical territory. That he does so with a refined touch, in a way that makes you think, certifies him as one of a rare breed of songwriters and makes Thus Always to Tyrants an unqualified success". Miller's ability to combine rock 'n' roll with folk was also commended.
An Associated Press article praised the album by declaring, "This has the feel of a breakout album, one that music fans will look back on and think, 'That's when I knew he was going to be great.'"The Tennessean's review describes the album as "Personal, powerful and jacked up with red-blooded Southern pop intensity". No Depression complimented Miller's singing, and described the album as, "pop hooks, rock rave-ups and campfire melodies galore, showcasing the range of Miller’s influences and his effortless absorption and reconfiguration of them". PopMatters wrote that the "relationship" songs on the album are the strongest, and praised the "catchy roots-pop" and Miller's versatility.
|"Across the Line"||Scott Miller||4:09|
|"I Made a Mess of This Town"||Scott Miller||3:19|
|"Loving That Girl"||Scott Miller||4:27|
|"I Won't Go With You"||Scott Miller||3:15|
|"Yes, I Won't"||Scott Miller||4:24|
|"Dear Sarah"||Scott Miller||2:59|
|"Highland County Boy"||Scott Miller||2:42|
|"Miracle Man"||Annette Tucker & Nancie Mantz||4:02|
|"Daddy Raised a Boy"||Scott Miller||3:00|
|"Goddamn the Sun"||Scott Miller||1:53|
|"Is There Room on the Cross for Me"||Scott Miller||3:24|
Country is a genre of popular music that takes its roots from genres such as blues and old-time music, and various types of American folk music including Appalachian, Cajun, and the cowboy Western music styles of Red Dirt, New Mexico, Texas country, and Tejano. Its popularized roots originate in the Southern United States of the early 1920s.
Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that generally reflects a challenging or avant-garde approach to rock, or which makes use of modernist, experimental, or unconventional elements. Art rock aspires to elevate rock from entertainment to an artistic statement, opting for a more experimental and conceptual outlook on music. Influences may be drawn from genres such as experimental rock, avant-garde music, classical music, and jazz.
Nerf Herder is an American rock band from Santa Barbara, California, formed in 1994 by Parry Gripp, Charlie Dennis (bass) and Steve Sherlock (drums). They describe themselves as a "geek rock" band, and are known for simplistic modern punk-style songs with frequently humorous, juvenile, and pop-culture-referencing lyrics. They are the inventors of the "nerdcore" music subgenre, a reference to bands from Oxnard who called themselves "Nard"-core, which Gripp updated in the mid-90s to explain Nerf Herder and their nerdy influences.
Alternative country, or alternative country rock is a loosely defined subgenre of country rock, which includes acts that differ significantly in style from mainstream country music, mainstream country rock, and country pop. Alternative country artists are often influenced by alternative rock. However, the term has been used to describe country music bands and artists that are also defined as or have incorporated influences from alternative rock and cowpunk, indie rock, roots rock, bluegrass, neotraditional country, punk rock, progressive country, rockabilly, punkabilly, honky-tonk, outlaw country, folk rock, indie folk, folk revival, folk punk, hard rock, R&B, heartland rock, and Southern rock.
Sic semper tyrannis is a Latin phrase meaning "thus always to tyrants". It suggests that bad outcomes should or eventually will befall tyrants.
Virginia's musical contribution to American culture has been diverse, and includes Piedmont blues, jazz, folk, brass, hip-hop, and rock and roll bands, as well as the founding origins of country music in the Bristol sessions by Appalachian Virginians.
The Reverend Horton Heat is the stage name of American musician Jim Heath as well as the name of his Dallas, Texas-based psychobilly trio. Heath is a singer, songwriter and guitarist. A Prick magazine reviewer called Heath the "godfather of modern rockabilly and psychobilly".
"Chattanooga Choo Choo" is a 1941 song written by Mack Gordon and composed by Harry Warren. It was originally recorded as a big band/swing tune by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra and featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade. It was the first song to receive a gold record, presented by RCA Victor in 1942, for sales of 1.2 million copies.
Mark Scott Travis is an American rock musician, best known as the drummer for the English heavy metal band Judas Priest, the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, and the American heavy metal band Racer X.
Jeffrey Scot Tweedy is an American songwriter, musician, author, and record producer best known as the singer and guitarist of the band Wilco. Tweedy, originally from Belleville, Illinois, started his music career in high school in his band The Plebes with Jay Farrar, which subsequently transitioned into the alternative country band Uncle Tupelo. After Uncle Tupelo broke up Tweedy formed Wilco which found critical and commercial success, most notably with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, the latter of which received a Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 2005.
Game Theory was an American power pop band, founded in 1982 by singer/songwriter Scott Miller, combining melodic jangle pop with dense experimental production and hyperliterate lyrics. MTV described their sound as "still visceral and vital" in 2013, with records "full of sweetly psychedelic-tinged, appealingly idiosyncratic gems" that continued "influencing a new generation of indie artists." Between 1982 and 1990, Game Theory released five studio albums and two EPs, which had long been out of print until 2014, when Omnivore Recordings began a series of remastered reissues of the entire Game Theory catalog. Miller's posthumously completed Game Theory album, Supercalifragile, was released in August 2017 in a limited first pressing.
The Loud Family was a San Francisco-based power pop band formed in 1991 by songwriter and guitarist Scott Miller, who previously led the 1980s band Game Theory. The Loud Family released six studio LPs and one live LP from 1991 through 2006. After Miller's death in 2013, three Loud Family members participated in recording sessions for Supercalifragile (2017), Miller's posthumous Game Theory album.
Stewart Ransom "Rhett" Miller II is the lead singer of the alternative country band Old 97's. He also records and performs as a solo musician, and has been published as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction.
Allen Scott Miller is an American Southern rock and alternative country singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
Scott Miller may refer to:
Richard Edwin Morrissey was a British jazz musician and composer. He played the tenor sax, soprano sax and flute.
Chamber pop is a style of rock music characterized by an emphasis on melody and texture, the intricate use of strings, horns, piano, and vocal harmonies, and other components drawn from the orchestral and lounge pop of the 1960s. Artists such as Burt Bacharach and the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson inspired the genre's initial foundation.
Beecher Ray Kirby, better known as Bashful Brother Oswald, was an American country musician who popularized the use of the resonator guitar and Dobro. He played with Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
The V-Roys were a Knoxville, Tennessee-based alternative country band signed to E-Squared Records. The band was described as "walking the fine line between rootsy country and cutting-edge alternative rock". Scott Miller, John Paul Keith, and Mic Harrison were the primary songwriters for the band.
Real Nighttime is the second full-length album from Game Theory, a California power pop band founded by guitarist and singer-songwriter Scott Miller. Released in 1985, the album is cited as "a watershed work in '80s paisley underground pop." A 30th anniversary reissue was released in March 2015, on CD and in a limited first pressing on red vinyl, with 13 bonus tracks.