Today, utterly at home with his place in the new economy, the songwriter Scott Miller is having a cow.
All right, a calf.
Gently and with great patience he is tending the calf and its mother, the distance between man and animal not entirely different from the careful space a performer withholds from his audience.
He has lots of cows, 75 head, give or take. The audience for his music is considerably larger, for Scott Miller has long been a songwriter’s songwriter, his careful, biting work championed by artists from Patty Griffin to Steve Earle to the novelist Silas House.
When the cow is stable (sorry) he takes a four-wheeler to the top of the tallest hill around and stops simply to survey the landscape. “I grew up here,” he says, his eyes restless, counting each unfinished project. “You do not see anything else from up here but farmland and farms. When you’re twelve, it’s your world. And it’s beautiful, and it speaks to me.”