Q&A: Solo-acoustic artist Austin Miller’s tour stops in Boone

Alexander McCall

Traveling folk artist Austin Miller makes a quiet solo stop in Boone Tuesday as part of his first two-and-a-half-month-long tour north from his home state of Florida and is going as far west as Colorado and south through New Mexico.

Miller performs solo in Crossroads coffee shop in the Plemmons Student Union with friends Boone-based acoustic folk band Sailor’s Warning Tuesday at 8 p.m.

This follows a brief two-week pre-tour of the Southeast.

“I graduated college in April and since then it’s pretty much been non-stop touring for me, with just a week or two off before I pick up again,” Miller said. “I couldn’t really go on anything too long, so I guess that’s why I’m getting it out of my system now.”

By the end of this tour, Miller will have played more than 100 shows in a single year for the first time.

The Appalachian spoke with Austin Miller about his second full-length album “More Than One Way.”

The Appalachian: How is this album different than your last?
Austin Miller: “The other one, the arrangements were a lot simpler because I recorded it in two weeks. I just sat down and cranked it out. I had a couple people help me out on that one, but not nearly as much as this one. This one took around 11 months. I didn’t sit down like the other one, and it was more of a gradual process. But, it’s definitely more involved with the other musicians. There’s about 10 or 11 other people that play on it total. It definitely sounds a lot different because I took the time to put the effort into producing it. The first one I mixed myself and I did all the editing and post production stuff on my own. This time I had someone do it just because it was more involved with all the instruments and it was a little over my head, so the sound quality is a lot better with this one.”

TA: How would you describe your music?
AM: “Live, it’s just me. I did one full-band tour earlier in the summer and I think that probably sounded more like the album. On this one it’s just me and a guitar so it’s more acoustic-based. I think the album I’d describe more as folk rock because it’s more upbeat, there’s drums and stuff like that, guitar solos and fun stuff. The album’s a little bit different from me solo but I think I find ways – I don’t do anything too crazy – but I find ways to play songs to make up for the fact that it’s just me. I find ways to fill in the gaps. I obviously can’t do quite all the stuff they do on the album but I make up for it.”

TA: How do people react to you solo as opposed to you with a band?
AM: “I definitely play different kinds of shows. When I’m touring alone I play more intimate shows. I think both have been received fairly well just because I’ve booked both of those tours in the right environments. Sometimes I end up solo in a place where I should have a full band for a show, but I’m pretty happy with how the shows have been going and the reception I’ve gotten.”

TA: Have you been to Boone before?
AM: “I played in Crossroads in March and it was my only tour date so far where it’s been snowing before and after my set. I was on tour with my brother who plays upright bass and we had to load in and load out in the snow. That was fun, but it didn’t seem like anyone else in Boone was happy about the snow because it was late March and everyone was fed up, but we only had to deal with it for one day, so we thought it was the coolest thing ever. The show went well though, despite the fact that a lot of people seemed like they just waned to be in their rooms.”

TA: How did you get involved with music, to get to this tour?
AM: “Apparently I’ve been involved in music in one way or another, as an obsession of mine, since I was very young. According to my parents, I started not asking, but begging for piano lessons when I was 4. Then I wanted a drum set, which is ironic because drums are the one instrument that to this day hasn’t really clicked with me. I played piano for a few years and started playing guitar when I was 13. I didn’t really start singing until I was 18, and shortly thereafter I started writing songs in the bedroom of my dorm and just kind of kept going from there.”

STORY: LOVEY COOPER, Senior A&E Reporter