Valorie Miller,
Folk Star
(Grandmother Alice, 2006)

Valorie Miller, with that unique spelling of her given name, traces her roots to the soil of Appalachia, and what better grounding could a singer-songwriter have?

We hear and read reams about the recording techniques and studio time of the superstars of modern music. Miller shows us that with talent all that technology is just window dressing and media fodder. Apparently she recorded this album in her singlewide trailer, with some tracks sung as she soaked in the bathtub. How relaxed can you get?

But beware, this is far from a garage recording. Without the artist revealing the above, you would swear this was top-end studio material. Although she only gives us nine tracks, she displays her professionalism and very strong ability as writer, player and performer on this CD.

Opening with "Luckiest Angel," she will draw you in with her lovely voice and ensnare you with heartfelt lyrics. She has been compared to Norah Jones and Patsy Cline, but listen to Folk Star and you will hear a girl who is pure Valorie Miller.

Her style is epitomized on a great track called "Wishful Drinkin'." I loved the whole tenor of this song. Given the chance this could be a worldwide hit. It has it all: lyrics, backing and a wonderfully strong but delicate delivery.

She continues this fabulous writing on a perhaps less commercial but image-making "Hummingbird Song." Lyrics like "Preachers are trendy, turn God to candy" and "the answer is nearer, and in the mirror" will give you just a hint at its powerful message.

This nine-track CD actually gives us more to ponder on and enjoy than many double albums. Even the title of "Queen Anne's Lace" gives us pause for thought before plunging into another excellent story song. "One Little Moon" then comes along and we switch our thinking on the genre pigeonhole for Miller. This has the almost Cole Porter feel and it works so well.

This is an album that could travel very well from that trailer to the concert halls of the world.

by Nicky Rossiter
28 April 2007

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