“I don’t want to fake it, of this you know I am sure…..”
That is just a line on “The Cure” – all cracked and stripped down like some long-lost Rolling Stones outtake from Exile On Main St -but actually, if you analyse it, it means so much more.
Izzy Miller re-emerged last year, after a self-imposed spell away from music, and did so with a brilliant EP called “American Times”, and the word that went all the way through it was “authentic.”
Now he’s back – with an all-star cast that includes Mike Daly (steel guitar: Travis Tritt, Hank Williams Jr), Joey Huffman (piano, organ: Matchbox 20, Soul Asylum), Shane Davis (guitar: Black Market Salesmen), and Ben Jobe (bass: Wolves of Chernobyl) – but a totally different vibe, and one which proves what a wonderful songwriter Miller really is.
Throughout “Precipice” he sounds like he’s desperately trying to avoid the fall over the cliff. Not for nothing does the four tracker begin with this line: “I stumble through every morning, after surviving every night” and there is a feel here of sharing in Miller’s pain throughout.
Not a rock n roll song in sight either. There are no drums here, no real lead guitar, but it sounds perfect for this confessional style. “Burning Bright” – the opener – sets the tone, and its blue-collar stylings recall everyone from Tom Petty to John Mellencamp.
“So It Goes” is a more southern thing, “I never even had a choice” offers Miller here, and it almost seems like you are reading his diaries. Whether it is or not, the heartbreak here seems real. And special mention too, for Huffman’s incredible organ work on this one.
After “The Cure” – possibly the highlight – a simple yearning for the open road which has always fixated the troubadour, comes the outright country of “Another Drink Or Two”. Drenched in lap steel, it features the line: “I guess I could have another drink or two, swallow a few more pills just to get me through” and it is jarring, raw even.
Nothing fake here, then. There really couldn’t be. If it began with the thought about stumbling through the morning, then it ends with this: “yeah, your memory will haunt me, just like it did before. Ever since you walked out the door.”
There is no light left at the end of this tunnel. A quite brilliant piece of songwriting. “Precipice” is uncomfortable, but incredible, listening.