An exceptional sophomore album that is bound for success.
The unprecedented time of isolation has seen some highly anticipated releases postponed, but Marie Miller held fast to her March 27 release date and now we are all treated to her wonderful new album, Little Dreams. Her sophomore album exhibits a considerable growth in the Catholic artist, from her superb vocals and mandolin playing to her songwriting and lyrics.
Little Dreams feels like a concept album, with each song following thematic elements to describe Miller’s varying dreams, and perhaps, in some instances, nightmares. One of our favorite songs was “Butterfly Collector,” a haunting tune that makes the listener feel as though they are standing next to Miller while she experiences a particularly bad dream.
Miller has never been shy about her faith, scoring her largest hit with “My Savior in Me,” and she still has a few tracks that explicitly speak of her relationship with God, but she has also written a few that are more introspective, the lyrics of which revolve around Catholic themes while maintaining a secular feel. One example of this is “Silently With Me,” a gorgeous country ballad that touches on the importance of trusting God through times of frustration or doubt.
In an interview with American Songwriter, Miller said of Little Dreams:
“This whole album is about returning to a more traditional way of songwriting and using my mandolin and bouzouki as the foundation for the rest of the sound.”
The song order was well-chosen, opening up with “Homeland,” a fast, fun track driven by an exceptional mandolin lick, then she takes it back, slowing things down with the title track, “Little Dreams,” which acts as a mission statement for the album. From there the listener travels with Miller through a score of shifting dreamscapes until she reaches “Wayfaring Stranger,” the classic folk tune.
Miller’s “Wayfaring Stranger” has quickly become one of our favorite arrangements of the song. She performs the first half of it by herself, accompanying her own vocal with a driving mandolin progression. The music swells after the first verse, but it all cuts out so that she could sing the last verse in an a capella chorus. The ending of the tune gave us goosebumps and we had to play it over and over before we could move on.
Of her “Wayfaring Stranger,” Miller told American Songwriter:
“The traditional ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ is the perfect song for [Little Dreams], because it’s a song I grew up listening to and a song that inspired me to start writing in the first place.”
Start to finish, Little Dreams makes for an exceptional 31 minutes of listening. The only disappointment came because Miller cannot tour the album around, due to the standing social isolation orders. We are certain, however, that when she can perform live again, the halls will be packed.