Q&A Scene: Guitarists’ Special ~ Adam Miller

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

I’ve just released THE DEFINING OF SUCCESS – an album with my regular trio of Mitch Cairns on Bass (Russell Morris / Leo Sayer) & Dom Borzestowski on Drums (Gang Of Youths). We’d managed to work these songs up from the day I wrote them at shows in my hometown of Newcastle. With everyone’s very busy touring schedule, it was hard to get the record done and took about a year to record it – but the result was worth it. I’m very influenced by jazz & blues, but I think the songs still retain a great pop element in the melodies that allow anyone to get into the music. My heavy touring starts with the Melbourne Guitar Show, where I perform in a trio with Mitch Cairns and Byron Goodwin, and then continues with solo shows in Canada, USA, Japan, England, Germany, & Australia throughout the rest of 2018.

How long have you been playing guitar?

I’ve been playing guitar for 28 years, but played organ for a few years before that.

Why did you first start playing?

My Dad had a guitar from Teacher’s College (he can’t play) that I found in his cupboard. When I picked it up at around 9 years old, I instantly could start to see the keyboard along each string and it started to make sense. The first song I learnt was Craig McLachlan’s version of Mona! It really inspired me to learn those little guitar licks and voicings!

Which guitarist most influenced your playing?

The big 2 are Tommy Emmanuel & Charlie Hunter. I first got a Tommy E cassette not long after picking up the guitar and what I loved about it was how he didn’t sing, because at 9/10 years old I couldn’t sound like the guys on the radio! Initially his virtuosity went over my head, but his early electric guitar albums gave me a wealth of styles and techniques to work on. Then getting to tour & play with him when I was 19 gave me entirely new inspiration in solo guitar playing and how to start to tackle the business side of things!

American jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter is a complete innovator. He’s also a fingerstyle guitarist (meaning he doesn’t use a pick), but he came up with the idea of having an instrument with 3 Bass Strings & 5 Guitar Strings which allows him to be both the Bass & Guitar player at the same time in a band! It sounds like a gimmick until you see and hear it. He’s recorded with D’Angelo, John Mayer, Frank Ocean, Norah Jones, and has a prolific solo career – you’ve probably heard his sweet bass grooves combined with killer guitar lines and don’t even know it! He really blew my mind with what was possible to play as one person and inspired me to push my techniques further & further to make great music.

Describe your favourite guitar. 

Hard question! I’ve always had an obsession with acoustic Archtop Guitars. You would probably most commonly think of them as the big guitars with F Holes played by Jazz guitarists. I love the curves and parts used and their violin family influences. Most people think of them as electric guitars, but good ones have an incredible and unique acoustic guitar sound. I currently have 2: a new USA Masterbuilt D’Angelico which is a reproduction of a guitar John D’Angelico built in 1942, it’s a huge (17.5″ wide body) old fashioned looking guitar and sounds like old jazz recordings. The other was custom made for me by Ryan Thorell in Utah USA – it’s much smaller and easier to tour with, the f holes have been replaced with a soundhole like a normal acoustic guitar. It’s made of flamed Walnut and all the parts on it are carved out of wood too.

When in the USA I often get to play a guitar made by Ken Parker. His archtop guitars are a work of engineering art, so much so there’s one on display at the MET in NYC! His guitars are so inspirational I wrote a song (named ‘Parker’) for it before I ever got to play one!

How do you prepare for a show?

I try to listen to some beautiful inspiring music on my way to the venue, hopefully finding a decent flat white on the way! I just get out my guitar and just ring out some sweet chords and simple melodies. Mainly just to relax me as much as possible. I still get quite nervous before every show, even though I’ve been doing this for 20 years! I just take it as a sign that I care!

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

The first time I was in NYC I went to go and see Les Paul perform. I took my guitar with me because I feared it would be stolen in the hostel I was staying. When I got to the door they informed me it was sold out. I quickly replied ‘Oh, I’m a guest artist tonight…’ They took me into the club, backstage and into Les Paul’s dressing room – I ended up playing two shows that night with Les Paul!!

What, or who, inspires you?

Travel, nature, life experiences, friends & family. I’m always trying to translate simple emotions & events into music, and I think that’s way I love instrumental music because I don’t have to try to find the words to do it. The songs on my new record THE DEFINING OF SUCCESS are just that – one word titles expanded into musical ideas.

I’m also very inspired by other music – I try to listen to many new albums a week. Whilst it’s nice to go back, I’m particularly interested in the music that people are creating now.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

High & Dry by Radiohead. Incredible melody and simple chords. I’ve been playing instrumentally at shows for years and when you hit that chorus melody everyone knows what it is.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

As my favourite dish – Pesto Pumpkin Creamy Gnocchi! A lot of complex flavours and techniques to make that combine into something beautiful that just about everyone would enjoy!

What’s next for you?

A heavy year of touring and travel, plus getting into the studio to record some solo guitar tunes.

What’s your scene?

Coffee, Tea & Live music!

Catch Adam at the Melbourne Guitar Show at the EXCLUSIVELY ACOUSTIC STAGE

Level 1 Escalator East

SAT @ 3.00pm

‘it takes an impossibly gifted player to improvise independent melodies, harmonies, and bass lines all at the same time – while maintaining an impeccable groove. Australia’s Adam Miller is one such rare phenomenon’ – Premier Guitar Magazine

With a unique approach to the guitar, Adam Miller‘s music is groovy and approachable, whilst having a melodic sophistication that only comes from years of cross genre hopping. His inclusion of complex rhythms and dissonant haunting phrases, combined with breathtaking riffs and melodies are his signature. His jazz influenced style with finger-picking mastery creates a improvisation filled live performance that is beautifully unpredictable. This has seen him share stages with Les Paul, Tommy Emmanuel, Matt Schofield, Russell Morris, Charlie Hunter, Adam Levy, Tony McManus, Jim Black, Ben Gillies (Silverchair), and the list continues….

Australian Fingerstyle Guitar Champion (2002), Miller has played an array of International Festivals including the Montreal Jazz Festival Canada, Woodstock Guitar Festival USA, Guitar Masters Wroclaw Poland, Lancaster Music Festival UK, Karel Music Expo Italy, The NAMM Show USA, Artisan Guitar Show USA, Holy Grail Guitar Show Germany, Musikmesse Germany, Australian Blues Festival, A Day On The Green, Jazz In The Vines, Melbourne Guitar Festival, Adelaide International Guitar Festival, & Newcastle Jazz Festival. He also travelled to Afghanistan twice to perform for the Australian & Allied Forces.

Miller has had feature articles in Guitar Player, Acoustic Guitar, Premier Guitar, Acoustic UK, Australian Guitar, and Australian Musician. In 2013 his album “Delayed” named in the top 10 Albums of 2012 by US Acoustic Guitar Magazine. He was also named on of the top 25 Future Legends in Australian Guitar Magazine. In 2010 Miller was named “Guitarist Deserving Wider Recognition” by US based magazine, Guitar International.

Having released 6 Independant Solo Albums to date that have all gone on to international acclaim, Miller is also signed to USA video tuition Label ‘TrueFire’, and lectures in Jazz and Contemporary Guitar at the University Of Newcastle.

Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40




Australian Music Association announced the 2018 return of the Melbourne Guitar Show, set to rock Caulfield Racecourse on August 4 and 5 – and this year, it’ll be bigger than ever.

Proudly presented by Triple M and Australian Musician, the lineup boasts an impressive haul of both local and international artists, and featuring amongst the bunch is none other than UK guitar legend Albert Lee.

In addition to some killer performances from the artists on this massive lineup, #MGS2018 will also hold a monster exhibition that will feature a gigantic variety of electric and acoustic guitars, effects pedals, amps and more state-of-the-art guitar technology, both home-grown and from around the world.  It will continue to be Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop, and that’s not all.  The Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists.

This year will be extra special as the Melbourne Guitar Show welcomes UK guitar legend Albert Lee.  Lee’s work with The Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris and The Crickets is renowned within the music world and cemented his place as one of the most respected and renowned guitarists in history.  Speaking on Lee’s talent, Eric Clapton enthuses, “(He is) the ultimate virtuoso.  His skill is extraordinary and he’s gifted on just about every level,” while Emmylou Harris says, “(Albert Lee) is a brilliant guitar player…his sound is unmistakable, never qualled.”  The British-born country-rock artist started his long and illustrious career during the emerging rock ‘n’ roll scene of ‘60s London, when he played in bands with the likes of Jimmy Page and Chris Farlowe.  He has received countless accolades for his work, and has been named Guitar Player Magazine’s Best Country Guitarist five times in a row.

The first lineup announcement for #MGS2018 is a big one.  Joining Albert Lee is Daniel Champagne, a prolific young guitar virtuoso with the world at his feet, and Jeff Lang, who has been described by Rolling Stone as “Australia’s best roots music artisan.”  Melbourne Guitar Show favourites Nick Charles and Shannon Bourne will also be returning this year, alongside some seriously talented women Fiona Boyes, Alison Ferrier, Cat Canteri, Nat Allison and upcoming punk rockers Rackett.  Not to mention a whole host of additional artists are set to be announced over the coming weeks.

Drawing over 5,500 guitar lovers and enthusiasts to last year’s exhibit, the Melbourne Guitar Show is growing year on year and is gearing up for the biggest event yet.  The voice of the Australian music products industry, the Australian Music Association (AMA) will be teaming up with australianmusician.com.au and presenting sponsors Triple M, 3PBS and Aon to present this year’s guitar-centric weekend.  At last year’s MGS, punters not only enjoyed scheduled performances and demos from the awesome artists on the lineup, but also witnessed surprise on-stand appearances from some of Australia’s finest artists, including Ian Moss, Darren Middleton (Powderfinger), Paul Dempsey, Oscar Dawson and Ali Barter.  Both the promoters of the show and the exhibitors are constantly wrangling acts right up until the very last minute – and who will be joining the all-star jam this year? Come on down and find out!

Thrilled to present #MGS2018 once again, AMA executive officer and MGS organiser, Rob Walker says, After an awesome show last year, we’re looking forward to continuing the tradition the show is creating.  We’re very pleased to present Albert Lee on his 75th birthday tour, as well as the usual host of wonderful players we present.”

Not only will the 2018 MGS provide a hands-on chance to see, hear and play a broad range of the world’s favourite brands, it will also see exhibitors offering great show deals, plus an opportunity to get close to some hand-crafted, locally made instruments and epic guitar and gear collections.  Describing the exciting developments, Rob continues, “Our exhibition welcomes back some big names this year and the learning opportunities are plentiful.  If you’re in the market for guitars and gear, great live music from some of the best players. the Melbourne Guitar Show is the place to be.”

The first artist line up announcement includes: Albert Lee, Daniel Champagne, Jeff Lang, Nick Charles, Shannon Bourne, Fiona Boyes, James Ryan, Phil Manning, Nat Allison, Brett Kingman, Alison Ferrier, Cat Canteri, Scott Darlow, Rackett, Van Larkins, Justin Bernasconi, Rohan Stevenson, and more to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on August 4 and 5.

Tickets are on sale NOW!

Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40




WEBSITE                 FACEBOOK              #MGS2018            TWITTER                 INSTAGRAM

About Mary Boukouvalas 1614 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.