On Feb 1, 2022, Geoffrey Miller releases his second full-length album comprised of 13 original songs. A native and life-long resident of rural California, Miller channels his deeply engrained sense of Bakersfield-style country into Leavin’ 101. From the lyrical content of the title track to stylistic nods toward Bakersfield sound pioneers Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Don Rich, and Red Simpson, the follow up album is true California country.
The title track “Leavin’ 101” is a play on words referencing California’s Highway 101 about a woman’s way of leaving, with geographic references harkening to songs by the likes of Rich and Simpson. The tunes “Good Morning Blues”, Population 3, and “Discount Memories” tell stories of post-love desolation, faithfully adhering the Bakersfield ethos, while the tracks “This Heart Could Be Yours” and “Cold Coffee, Warm Beer” offer more contemporary leaning variations on the iconic sound. Somehow, the songs of betrayal, painful encounters with past love, and rueful isolation do not impede the album’s tempo, which is mostly upbeat and danceable. Still, if a slow, heart-crushing country ballad is needed, “I Didn’t Know You Could Be So Cruel” checks the box. The dark emotional caves of heartache are counterbalanced by light-hearted love songs “Steal My Kisses” and “My Heart Starts Jumpin’”, spanning the emotional extremes of falling in and from love. The album concludes with “Wrong Way!”, a cautionary plea for return, drawing upon psychedelic trucker country sounds characteristic of a late 1970s David Dudley.
Leavin’ 101 includes performances from industry heavies, including Scott Joss (Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson) on fiddle, Travis Toy (Rascal Flats) on steel guitar, Max Hart (Melissa Etheridge, Katy Perry) on steel guitar, and Zack Sapunor (Hot Club of Cowtown, Wayne Hancock) on bass. The album is mixed and mastered by vintage country and rockabilly recording artist Deke Dickerson at Ecco-Fonic Studio.
October 30, 2021