Coal Grove native releases new Christmas album

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- A Coal Grove native has released a CD of instrumental Christmas music, and if the flavor is familiar, there's a reason: "Mountain Frontier Christmas" has Appalachian themes running through it.

Scott Miller, 38, who now lives in Nashville, Tenn., began playing the guitar in the seventh grade at Dawson-Bryant Middle School. He went on to master the piano and other instruments, but his love for the guitar earned him a scholarship to Morehead State University.

After graduating from college in 1987, he won the Ohio State Guitar Championship.

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For several years, he worked in Dallas, Texas, as a musician, and soaked up the blend of cultures and musical genres he encountered, such as dinner music, cowboy music and country/western. It was there he became acquainted with the hammered dulcimer and before long, was performing with it.

One year he was asked to play at the Nieman-Marcus Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, a major event on the Dallas social and business calendar.

He moved to Nashville in the mid-1990s and found a sizable market there for his dulcimer music. "It started out as something I did to make a little extra money," Miller said. " I was working first as a sideman for (country singer) Terri Clark, but some of the Nashville record companies really liked the hammered dulcimer stuff. It really took on a character of its own."

Earlier this year, Miller teamed with Reliant Music, a Franklin, Tenn.-based specialty music distributor. The first release in his "Mountain Music" series (there will eventually be four CDs) was "Mountain Frontier". Miller said the music is meant to appeal to rural people all over the country.

"It's mountain music, but it's not just confined to Appalachia," Miller said. "This music is characteristic of many places, such as the Rockies."

On the CD, Miller plays the claw banjo and guitar as well as the dulcimer. Fellow musician

Jim Wood lends his talent with the fiddle, mandolin and other instruments.

He has plans to release a CD entitled "Mountain Hymns" and "Mountain Frontier Celebration". It will be similar to his first mountain music CD. Of his collection of music, Miller said "It's basically an honest look at my musical journey. I grew up playing old-time music and some of those local musicians were my mentors," Miller said. "Music has afforded me the opportunity to travel, but the music I grew up with is at the heart and center of what I do."

The CD are on sale at Country Blessings in Coal Grove as well as the Jesse Stuart Foundation in Ashland, Ky.