WD Miller Band, with its blend of retro pop, Southern rock, and multi-part harmonies, recently won the Fox Rocks contest, hosted by Fox 5 Morning News. WD Miller Band beat out 105 other bands for the chance to perform live on Fox Morning News on June 6. They also performed at Jammin' Java on Wednesday, June 11.
WD Miller sings and plays rhythm guitar, and since he started writing songs over 20 years ago, he has composed over 250 songs. He has released two CDs, Sugarland Run (2000) and Whirly Town (2006). In 2006, Miller formed a band to play at the Whirly Town CD release party, and the band has played at clubs around the Northern Virginia area, including Bangkok Blues in Falls Church, Jammin' Java in Vienna, and Iota in Arlington.
THE BAND includes bass guitarist Peter Locke, drummer Reid Saunders, lead guitarist Blayne Beeler, and singer Patty Williams. In addition, Gene Miller, WD's older brother, has played bass or sung harmonies on both of WD's solo CDs. Both Locke and Saunders have extensive experience: Locke has been playing guitar for over 30 years and has played in local bands such as Exotic Vibrations and the Idylwood Band, and Saunders has been playing the drums on and off for 30 years, with local bands such as The Cravin' Dogs. Although the newest member of the band, Beeler has played with many cover and show bands over the past 20 years, such as The Marcels, of 1950s "Blue Moon" fame.
A child of the Baby Boom generation, WD Miller — who grew up in McLean and now lives in Vienna — said that he was heavily influenced by the music of his childhood and teen years. "I was weaned on Beatles and the Beach Boys," said Miller, "and in high school I discovered the Eagles, Bread, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and America." Miller has recorded with a variety of local artists, including Mike Melchione (Buckwheat Zydeco), Scott Shuman (Jackson St. Band, Henry Townsend Band), Kai Kapitano (Lost Highway Band), Bill Kotopish (Code Blue), and Jim Opeka. At this year's Grammy Awards in February, Scott Shuman won the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album for "Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas," which he helped produce and record.
IN TERMS of the band's sound, Miller said, "We have sort of an eclectic sound. I have some Southern rock, some Irish music in 3/4ths time, and some sunny pop with lots of harmonies and jangly guitars."
Miller has lived in Northern Virginia his entire life. He has a wife (Kayne) and four sons, David, Ben, Boon, and Blue. He earned a BA in English and a master's degree in secondary education from George Mason University. Currently, he teaches 11th grade English at Pimmit Hills High School in Falls Church, teaching the work of authors such as Steinbeck, Hemingway, and Spinelli.