“Bosque Brown Plays Mara Lee Miller” (btv064)
|>Mara Lee Miller grew up in Stephenville, Texas, a small, isolated town. Growing up in small-town Texas would seem too confining for some, but for Mara, it has become the source of her inspiration. Attracted to the simple life lived by the people there and being constantly reminded of her own childhood memories, Mara has been secretly perfecting her own stripped-down blend of “truth-telling” and woe.
Mara was discovered by the folk singer Damien Jurado (Secretly Canadian/Sub Pop) in late 2002 during a tour that passed through Texas. After Jurado’s set, Mara’s husband Ryan handed him some of the home recordings that she had been working on while she shyly waited in another room, hoping that Jurado might offer some constructive criticism to help her hone her craft. Damien later fell in love with the recordings and introduced Burnt Toast Vinyl to Mara.
Those original four track recordings featured Mara singing breathy country-influenced vocals over sparse and simple guitar and serve as the seed for her full -length album. Damien Jurado compares her voice to “…the heartache of Kitty Wells and the lonesome howl of Robert Johnson.”
For all intents and purposes, Mara Miller is a solo singer songwriter, but has chosen the moniker Bosque Brown as the vehicle for her recordings. “I feel a connection with writers like Townes Van Zandt and John Prine,” Miller says. “There is something about being from Texas…when you hear others sing about it you just know.” Hank Williams Sr., Gram Parsons, and Gillian Welch are other influences, not so much musically, but for the timelessness of their music. Mara’s mother sings and plays piano, teaching her how to sing while growing up and sharing her love for old movies, which also influence Mara’s vocals and style. Her lyrics are simple and straightforward, about friends, family, love, the struggle between good and evil, or her feelings at the moment, not based on fictional storytelling.
Bosque Brown Plays Mara Lee Miller was recorded in Seattle by Eric Fisher (Rosie Thomas, Damien Jurado, Gathered in Song), a friend of Jurado who he entrusted with the recording project. Mara’s initial guitar and vocal tracks were recorded in their beautiful simplicity using her home recordings as a point of reference. Additional instrumentation and background vocals were gradually mixed in from various guest musicians, including Fisher and Jurado. David Bazan and T. W. Walsh (Pedro the Lion) mastered the final mixes. The result is a fuller version of Mara’s initial demos, keeping the sparse intimacy that characterizes Bosque Brown.< Bosque Brown Plays Mara Lee Miller will be released in Spring 2005 and Mara will hit the road with a handful of musicians to fully realize Bosque Brown. Her husband Ryan plays lap steel and bass, her sister Gina plays piano and adds vocal harmonies, and two new Texas friends, Winston and Jeremy, add drums and guitar.