Come Home, Scott Miller

Now for something a little lighter… Scott Miller and the Commonwealth is one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever to emerge from Virginia. It’s a darn shame that Miller, the talented composer, lead vocalist and lead guitar, ever moved to Tennessee.

The Old Dominion would be justified to claim Miller just for his music, which ranges from hard-driving rock to soft, Civil War-style ballads. But his lyrics are deeply rooted in Virginia, West Virginia and the South. They celebrate a sense of time, place and values that Virginians will find familiar. In the YouTube video clip above, he performs “The Amtrak Crescent,” describing a railroad ride from New Orleans to Washington, D.C.

Listen to the words. Miller has is sensitive to dysfunctional human settlement patterns! Watch out, Joni Mitchell (“Pave Paradise”).

You know, it used to be pretty on the Eastern Shore.
Now it’s more New York down to Baltimore.
It takes so much effort just to move one train.
Why does everything around me have to look the same?

Virginia has many great bands and performers. The Dave Matthews Band is the best known, followed perhaps by Bruce Hornsby. Carbon Leaf, Susan Greenbaum and Robin Thompson — to name some Richmond-area musicians — are enormously talented as well. But Scott Miller beats them all. I don’t know why he hasn’t made it into the big time. Judging by the tenor of his lyrics, I’m guessing, he’s the kind of guy who sings about whatever the hell he wants to sing about, and if the big record labels don’t like it, that’s their problem, not his.

I would link to other YouTube videos, but the fan-made recordings are such poor quality that they don’t convey Miller’s talents very well. If you want to hear clips of his music, including a studio recording of Amtrak Crescent, visit the Scott Miller website. Then send him an e-mail and beg him to move back to Virginia where he belongs. Or, at the very least, urge him to swing through the Old Dominion on his next tour.

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8 responses to “Come Home, Scott Miller”

  1. Groveton Avatar


    Great post and great video.

    Here is another site devoted to Virginia music although with an emphasis on Charlottesville.

    The people behind this (myself included) are trying to make a documentary movie regarding the music scene in Virginia from the 1970s and 1980s. Progress on this documentary has been slow but we keep plugging away. You never know – maybe by this Christmas we’ll have the movie available for sale to those who are interested.

    Meanwhile, the clips on the site are free.

    In order to play the videos – you will need QuickTime installed on your computer. You will be prompted to install this product if you try to view the videos without the product installed. QuickTime is a free product (at least the video viewer is free) made by Apple. I have installed it and it has worked perfectly well on my laptop and home computer.

    I see that the guys who run this web site have been a bit less than focused on keeping it up to date. Regardless of that, the video clips are a “must watch” for those interested in the music scene in central Virginia going back to the 1970s.

  2. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Jim and Groveton:

    You guy amaze me.

    I have no time for Mozart, much less anything since then.

    Keep up the good work… but save time to make the world a better place.


  3. Shaun Kenney Avatar
    Shaun Kenney

    Great stuff. Another band I really like is Old Crow Medicine Show… a NC band, but they do a lot of VA stuff.

    I miss the old George Mason crowd in the 90s… Emmet Swimming and such… Virginia has a great music scene, FredVegas used to be such a hub!

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    “Take me home, to Bayonne,
    To the Place
    Where I belong.

    Jersey City, Old Hoboken
    Take me Home, to Bayonne

    Life gets old there
    Older than you please
    Garbage on the mountains
    Blowin in the breeze”


    Why does everything around me have to look the same?

    Take it up with the zoning board, they mak the rules.


  5. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    Aside from the fact that I totally enjoyed listening to this wonderful song, it lifts my spirits and renews my faith to observe the next generation bringing their skill, talent, and voice to the American landscape.

    This is inspiring if only that it reveals that the younger folks have a sense of the loss of our natural beauty at the hands of souless developers and cookie cutter real estate locusts that are devouring our sense of God’s creation and gifts to those fortunate enough to be born Americans.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    The soulless developers and cookie cutter real estate locusts are a result of the rules we have written.

    If we want to preserve our natural beauty, then we should buy importqant places and turn them into parks for all to enjoy and benefit from. Of course, that would mean that we have to pay for what we want.

    Maryland has announced a plan and a procedure to rank valuable areas based on a number of criteris. Then, instead of depending on grants or gifts of easements, or being approached by property owners, they will become more proactive about acquiring those properties deemed most valuable.

    Imagine that. Criteria, leading to priorities, leading to a plan, funded by a budget. Beats the heck out of hand-wringing and complaining.


  7. Very nice indeed. I’m a virginian and this is my first exposure to Scott’s music. thanks for the post.

    Louis O
    Prince George, VA

  8. Scott Miller & The Commonwealth just came through and played at the Sun Music Hall in Floyd on Friday night.

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