The Ben Miller Band – Any Way, Shape, or Form (Rating 4 out of 5)
What more street cred does a band need once they have opened for ZZ Top, and that is exactly where have found themselves thanks largely in due to Any Way, Shape, or Form, the latest release from this hipster free band that combines bluegrass, delta blues, and Appalachian mountain music into their own genre defying sound the band calls Ozark Stomp.
A trio from Joplin, Missouri, the band has a somewhat menacing Duck Dynasty meets Sons of Anarchy look about them, with a punk swagger, and a boat load of talent. Band founder Ben Miller is the driving force behind the group and sets the sonic stage with his delta-blues slide guitar, banjo, and harmonica playing, with washtub bass player Scott Leeper providing that rare musical moment when you realize that you really like the sound coming from that washboard bass, and you can’t remember ever seeing or hearing one outside an episode of Hee Haw.
Drummer Doug Dicharry rounds out the trio with his multi-talented additions to the band that include mandolin, trumpet, trombone, and washboard. This may be the only band in the world that can walk into a laundry mat and put on a concert without bringing their own instruments.
But make no mistake, this is no hillbilly band. The songwriting is top-notch, and the production value is right up there with the best of them. “You Don’t Know” is pure ZZ Top meets John Lee Hooker slide guitar nirvana, “Ghosts” is an over yonder barn stomper, and “I Feel For You” is a ballad that highlights the vocals and the overall musicianship of the band. The only cover song on the record is “The Cuckoo,” a Garage Rock psychedelic stomper, that probably sounds awesome live.
If you are looking for a listen that is wholly unique, The Ben Miller Band should be on your bucket list.