By Ryan Simmons
Johnny Mile (Tree Records)
There are a few bands out there that do not get the same recognition as most because they don’t have the time to fit touring into their busy schedule. Unfortunately, these bands are tough to come across based on word of mouth alone. So when you hear one that you absolutely love, you want to keep them a secret as to not pack their shows with absolute assholes and obnoxious morons. The kind of band that eventually gets big, while you scoff and announce, not so casually, that you have been listening to them for years.
One gem that I have attempted to keep to myself over the last couple years is a singer/song writer by the name of Johnny Miles.
Upon his arrival to the great city of Philadelphia, you could catch Johnny playing anywhere from coffee houses, to street corners, or back porches at a local party with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. It did not take long, however, for him to make an impression on those around him and start working his way into performing at much larger venues. Playing with different band members almost every show under a new name, you may think you are headed to the wrong show. However, every name reads to be something along the lines of “Johnny Miles and the Something Band,” so if you are unsure of whether or not you are going to see the right Johnny Miles, don’t worry, the name is subject to change.
Although he takes a minimalistic approach to his music, there is nothing simplistic about this folky, wunderkind. Accompanied by some of the biggest music names in Philly, his 2007 album, “Sign of The Times” is a Midwestern treat for those of us on the East Coast. Shortly after it’s release, the album was featured in Philadelphia Weekly and John began getting a fair amount of well-deserved press. The album vividly paints pictures of a falling economy, the trials and tribulations of love and the views of an everyday guy. The twelve-track twangy slice of Americana is the perfect addition to any folk lover’s collection.
Any fan of Wilco, The Avett Brothers or Bob Dylan would be able to find something to love about Johnny Miles. Although he has not released anything in three years, he can still be found playing shows around the city. It took a lot out of my false sense of elitism to reveal this artist to the world, so please, if you see me at those shows, don’t be the drunk guy spilling beer on my shoes.