Musician also to perform at ceremony retiring Native American nicknames
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,
Oct. 8, 2004 – Native American musician Bill Miller, a five-time Native American Music Award (Nammy) winner will present a free concert at 8 p.m. Oct. 22 in Academic Auditorium at Southeast Missouri State University.
The concert will cap an evening of activity in which Southeast will officially retire the use of Native American nicknames at the University. Miller also will present flute music at 5:15 p.m. from the steps of Academic Hall as a prelude to the 5:30 p.m. retirement ceremony.
Miller is a Mohican Indian from northern Wisconsin who has long been one of the most admired figures in the Native American music arena and beyond. He is an award-winning recording artist, having won five Native American Music Awards for his album “Ghost Dance” in 2000. Those awards included Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year.
A performer, songwriter, activist and painter, Miller’s music blends the Native American and western folk/blues traditions.
His newest album is titled “Spirit Rain,” the theme of which is centered on the healing power of water. Miller recorded the album at Actual Sound Studios in LaCrosse, Wis., not far from the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation he called home. Cuts on the album include “Your are The Rain,” “Rain Down Your Love,” “The Promise” and “Never Too Far,” all of which celebrate the glory of sky, prairie, mountain and rain. The album is about pieces of Miller’s life and about attaining a measure of wisdom through suffering. The album includes instrumentals showcasing Miller’s mastery of the Native American flute and a piece called “Prayers For The Truth,” which focuses on that which the Native American community holds sacred.
The son of Mohican-German parents, Miller learned traditional songs at an early age, as music was an essential part of life. He got his first guitar at age 12 and played in teen rock bands for a few years. He later traded his electric guitar for an acoustic guitar and began playing folk music and bluegrass. He also took up the Native American flute. After leaving the reservation to study art at the Layton School of Art and Design in Milwaukee and attending a Peter Seeger concert, he reached a turning point, which inspired him to move to Nashville to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter.
He has written songs with Nancy Griffith, Peter Rowan and Kim Carnes and shared the bill with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, the BoDeans, Richie Havens and Arlo Guthrie. Miller got a break when Tori Amos invited him to be her opening act on the “Under The Pink” U.S. and Canadian tour. His recording career includes albums such as “Loon Mountain And Moon,” “Red Road,” “Reservation Road,” “Raven In The Snow,” “Ghost Dance” and “The Art Of Survival.”
Miller also has an active career as a painter. His work has been shown and sold in prestigious galleries around the country, and he has a studio in his Nashville home, where he lives with his wife and children.