Today’s story-packed Keeping the Beat interview with Dave Miller marks a milestone moment for our podcast series.
This is our 52nd episode, marking a full year of weekly installments dating back to our very first Keeping the Beat interview featuring Ann Kerstetter on June 12, 2019.
What an experience it has been, sharing the stories of our region’s rich pool of musicians as they navigate the industry, their day-to-day lives and more recently, the uncertainty of a global pandemic. Their stories have inspired, connected and lifted our listeners via 1,611 minutes — or just short of 27 hours — of music and personal testimonies of what it takes to perform in our region.
Today’s podcast, featuring Dave Miller of Studio Raven near Danville, is a special one for me. I grew up with Dave – we both attended Warrior Run High School and he graduated the same year as my younger brother.
He has been through quite a bit — each experience helping to shape the music he creates — music that has been featured on shows such as Sons of Anarchy and a variety of movies.
Dave’s daughter, Ella, was born extremely premature, weighing in at 1 pound, 14 ounces, and wound up needing 36 surgeries and 39 blood transfusions during her eight-month stay at Geisinger.
Dave served as a police cadet in New York City on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers.
In an effort to work through some of the emotional baggage that came from that morning’s rescue efforts, Dave took a job in Alaska managing human-grizzly bear interactions and refinding his music.
More recently, Dave worked through a drug addiction that permeated all levels of his life – finding solace and support from the region’s family of musicians, including the world-renowned Steve Mitchell.
Dave shares stories from each of these experiences – calling himself the “chubby Forrest Gump” and explains how it all has helped shape his musical career as he strives to leave a legacy and help others hone their skills in the industry.
If listeners have learned nothing else from the 52 musicians we have chatted with over the past year, it’s that our region is blessed by a deep and diverse offering of different genres, skillsets and opportunity.
As we start to clear some of the coronavirus-tinged fog out of our region and live music starts to seep back in, hopefully, our listeners will have a better appreciation of the musical resources we have in our own backyard. After a couple months of downtime, our musicians are gearing up for a return, and each of them can use our support.
We will continue to share stories of our local musicians and the slow, socially mindful return of their live performances in The Daily Item’s weekly Applause section.
As for Keeping the Beat podcasts, we encourage patrons to take the summer to go back and catch up on any episodes you may have missed from the past year. We plan to resume podcasts in August, checking in with musicians as they develop new material, release albums and reconnect with the region that they love so much.
Thank you for supporting this project, our musicians and the venues that connect them with the Valley.