Review: Rhett Miller – The Traveler (ATO / Universal Music Canada)

RhettWhether he drew inspiration from the most recent studio effort from his group the Old 97’s or whether it was the opportunity to perform with Portland band Black Prairie on this record, there is an impressive current of energy running through Rhett Miller’s newest solo release. Where his last effort, 2012’s The Dreamer, focused on paying homage to his country-music influences, Traveler also looks inward, but most notably to Miller’s other solo works. The pop-feel of “Jules” and “Escape Velocity” could have found a home on his 2002 solo debut. While the raucously fun “Most In The Summertime” might have belonged on 2006’s The Believer, “Kiss Me On The Fire Escape,” finds Miller sounding as fresh and vital as ever. While singer-songwriters are seemingly a dime-a-dozen these days, Miller’s playful takes on life via song only demonstrates that his continued musical relevance should not be questioned.