Wadsworth Auditorium resonated with blues last Saturday as the Clayton Miller Band fired up some soulful tunes for the Geneseo community. Originally from Lafayette, Ind., Clayton, Cole, LD and father Larry entertained a full and lively auditorium with a mix of original songs and Southern classics.
TV viewers who happened to catch the first season of America's Got Talent back in June 2006 might be familiar with the duo of brothers Cole and LD Miller. Cole, the 22-year-old drummer/vocalist, and 14-year-old harmonica player/vocalist LD were among the finalists in the competition last summer.
Although Larry is the only Miller who does not participate on vocals, he still builds a foundation for the family-based band with his solid bass lines. His stage presence was docile, his 12-bar blues sturdy. Larry seemed to be the band's "mellow-man," bringing to mind "eye-of-the-storm" musicians like bassist John Entwistle (The Who) and guitarist Derek Trucks.
Cole stole the spotlight with his admirable voice control and active drumming, but surprisingly it was the musicianship of Clayton and LD that resulted in some movement in the parent-filled auditorium. Clayton, though timid on stage, expertly worked his fingers during extensive improvisational sessions throughout the show. He even managed to pull off a creative rendition of The Allman Brothers Band's "One Way Out," and while his Southern voice quality was not comparable to that of Jimi Hendrix's, he still whipped out some nice chops on the guitar god's masterful "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)."
LD's harmonica skills were a major crowd pleaser. His passion for the harmonica became apparent as he transitioned into rapid-fire solos and convulsive dance moves. With chops of a professional and an adolescent slapstick personality, it was hard not to pay attention to the antics of this family band.
Some may argue that this group received a big break from NBC, but the Clayton Miller Band has admirable talent. Although the brothers and proud father tour separately the majority of the time, they still know how to put on a good show when they unite, which was clearly shown by the standing ovation they received at the end of their performance.
Their last album, One Lane Ahead, features thrillers such as "Rock Me Baby" and "Illustrated Man." They will also be coming out with a new album within the next year. If you are into Southern rock with a side of jam, be sure to check the Millers out.