“You Can’t Tell the Truth” is a single release from Robert Miller’s first solo album release Summer of Love. Miller made a recent decision that, decades after first debuting as a professional musician, he would try his hand at his own album. He began putting the recording together before the pandemic arrived in full force and circumstances forced him to adept to a challenging new situation in order to finish the album. A team of collaborators surrounding Miller helped him realize his ambitions for the release despite the constraints imposed upon them by the pandemic It shares a common frame of musical reference with Miller’s full time band Project Grand Slam, but “You Can’t Tell the Truth” and other tracks included on his new album are even closer to Miller’s heart as he takes on vocal duties for the first time.
PROJECT GRAND SLAM: https://www.projectgrandslam.com/
Despite a professional career providing backing vocals, Miller has never appeared as the primary singer and acquits himself well. You aren’t going to mistake his vocal talents for pyrotechnic mastery. Miller, instead, projects a level of affability that draws you in from the beginning. His personable approach to the lead singer slot lays a pleasing veneer over the song’s accusatory and disappointed lyrics. Some listeners might have preferred a singer with a stronger traditional voice, but I think as many if not more listeners will be happy with Miller’s more understated approach. This isn’t a song requiring the singer to beat his or her chest and shout the words from the ramparts,
The musicians for the track share the same approach. Miller drafted many of his Project Grand Slam collaborators to help him on this track and they bring the same instrumental excellence to the composition that they do with PGS. One should expect that their work on Summer of Love’s other tracks boasts the same skill level. The three-headed production team of Miller, Lou Holtzman, and Baden Goyo frame the work of Miller’s Project Grand Slam bandmates well into the song’s basic structure. This track has an irresistible pulse and the individual performances are standout while still adhering to an audible overall band aesthetic. Though it may bear his name and constitutes his first solo release, Miller never abandons his band-oriented approach. Everything comes across as an unified statement and there are no spotlight-hogging histrionics marring the single.
The relentless and inexhaustible need for self-expression burns bright in Robert Miller. When the pandemic hit and scuttled the band’s touring plans, he didn’t withdraw into a shell and brood over capricious fate. Miller, instead, did what songwriters do – he started writing. I would not be surprised if his plans for the project did not emerge full on and that, initially, this writing was for himself, first and foremost, and other considerations only later came to the fore. We are hearing with this song, and surely others recorded for this album, Robert Miller unvarnished, straight, no chaser. “You Can’t Tell the Truth” is timely and first class music for a difficult year.
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