New Music: A West Virginia Road Warrior Gets His Due

Hear “Coming Down,” a live show favorite from songwriter John R. Miller

Photo: David McClister

Though John R. Miller is currently gearing up for the release of his debut solo album, Depreciated, with a packed tour schedule to match, the West Virginia native is no newcomer to the music world. A touring musician for fifteen years both as a band member (The Fox Hunt, Prison Book Club) and as a solo artist, he’s brought his country twang and lyrical wit to stages all over the world, blending the sounds of his Appalachian roots with evocative songwriting in the spirit of influences like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. 

His prowess as a songwriter and performer has earned him the admiration of both fans and fellow musicians, and it’s easy to see why on his new single, “Coming Down,” a down-and-out country number about losing your sense of self. “Every day’s another pointless job, and every night’s another lonesome song,” he sings. “Tryin’ to remember when your bed wasn’t leather, and you were the one singin’ along.”

Country and Americana fans may already recognize the tune: In addition to being a live show stalwart for Miller, “Coming Down” is also a go-to cover for fellow road warrior Tyler Childers, who released his own version on his 2018 live album, Live on Red Barn Radio I & II. The song’s enduring popularity, especially prior to any formal studio release, is a testament to the way Miller’s songwriting captures a relatable kind of loneliness—the feeling that you’ve left a piece of yourself behind. 

“We talk about home as if it can be simply found on a map,” says Miller of the long tours and time away from home that inspired the song. “When you eventually lose the place or people to which you’re anchored, it can feel like you’re falling without a net. The only way to start climbing again might be to hit the ground.”

Hear “Coming Down” below. Depreciated is out July 16 and available for preorder now