In more than a decade of fronting his band, Ben Miller has cultivated a particularly swampy brand of mid-American roots rock. So the work of a legendary Japanese filmmaker may not be the first touchstone one might think of as fodder for a Ben Miller Band song. Nonetheless, the Missouri outfit salutes one such director in their latest song, “Akira Kurosawa.”
A stomping rocker that boasts a monstrous, wicked riff and compelling hook, “Akira Kurosawa” is a stream-of-consciousness rumination on film and the nature of creating art. It mingles the Joplin, Missouri, native’s tough guitar playing with dreamlike imagery and even some Japanese voiceovers. Kurosawa, a master of Japanese film in the post-World War II years, was best known to international audiences for such highly influential movies as Rashomon and Seven Samurai.
“Akira Kurosawa” is the first track to be premiered from Ben Miller Band’s new LP, Choke Cherry Tree. Due to be released January 26th, it’s Miller’s third full-length and second with New West Records. It also marks the debut of a new lineup, with Miller and founding member Scott Leeper now joined by Rachel Ammons and Smilin’ Bob Lewis.
Here’s the track list for Choke Cherry Tree:
1. “Nothing Gets Me Down”
2. “Akira Kurosawa”
3. “One More Time”
4. “Big Boy”
7. “Redwing Blackbird”
8. “Life of Crime”
10. “My Own Good Time”
11. “Mississippi Cure”