READY TO ROCK.
BURK’S FALLS –Pam Millar is growing big time, taking her second CD release Country Rebel to the Capitol Centre.
Her first CD release Small Town Girl sold out the Land of Lakes Theatre in December of 2010 with some fans left wanting. This time the Millar is taking her high-energy country/rock sound to North Bay on May 11.
The Capitol Centre show begins at 7:30 p.m and tickets are on sale now. Information can be found on the theatre website at http://capitolcentre.ca/pam.aspx. VIP tickets have all already been spoken for.
“I sold out over two weeks before the show,” said Millar of the first release concert.
Millar hopes to leave no one disappointed this time around.
“I wanted to go with a venue that is going to have enough seats for people who want to come,” she said. “The Capitol Centre was the only venue that I thought was going to fill the bill.”
Those who were fans of Millar’s first CD are in for a surprise. This is a collaborative effort with musician Jason Farrow, born and raised in South River, who recently returned from working and performing in the States.
“It’s the live experience. When you are cooped up in a smoke filled club and the stage is only so big it is very hard to contain that live show,” said Farrow. “We’re all animated so the Capitol Centre gives us a little more real estate to roam and put on the best possible show that we can.”
This will be the biggest venue that the band has played together.
It was shortly after the CD release that Millar started looking for a band to accompany her and her brother’s rock band, which included Farrow, was looking for a project.
“We chatted and put the band together. We had our first show out in May of 2011,” she said.
Millar laughs admitting that the art show at the Caswell Resort may not have been the best venue for the collaborative debut.
“We’re this pounding loud band and they’re all looking at paintings and crafts and stuff,” she said. “But, they didn’t kick us out.”
They toured around the province playing live gigs for about year before deciding to focus their attention on heading back into the recording studio.
While writing the music for the Country Rebel her thoughts would turn to how they would sound performed live.
Farrow’s heavy rock background lends a harder edge to Millar’s sweet country sound that will amaze fans with the newly found diversity in her music. This CD pushes the singer to accomplish new things as she begins to deviate from her country twang, transitioning to a more a rock and roll energy, and even a bluesy sound.
Millar leaves her Small Town Girl innocence behind with this CD as well.
“I call it rockin’ country because you can’t take the country out of my voice,” she said. “But when you put the music behind it the way that Jay and the band does it really picks it up.”
Playing live with the band, Millar says music from the first album has gained more life.
“There are compromises,” says Farrow. “There were a lot more instruments on the disk, there was layering. Now it is a very stripped down five piece outfit that’s translating those songs into a live version.”
Farrow says the nature of the musicians, who are rock musicians by trade, have tried to subdue the “die hard metal head” in the country format.
“The outcome is a really fun lively show,” he said.
The band is comprised of Farrow on guitar and backup vocals, Joe Maeck on guitar, and Millar’s brothers Randy Botham on base and Barry “Bazzz” Botham on drums.
The CD also features guest appearances by Malcolm Newburn and Sean Cotton, who will be appearing at the show. Josh Stevens, KICX106 North of Nashville star, will open for Millar and her band.
According to Farrow, the experiment began when he asked Millar to guest on a CD he was working on.
“It’s putting her out of her comfort zone. At lot of what happened on this new CD is a continuation of that experiment,” he said. “It’s putting her in situations that aren’t as safe as the new CD.”
Millar says that is true for Farrow who is stepping away from the metal head reputation and playing something entirely different.
“When you hear the music you’ll see that it worked,” she said.
“That was part of the attraction to the project,” said Farrow. “That was part of the pitch, to see if me personally, if I was capable of doing it.”
“My first CD was to have something that when I was dead my kids would have something,” Millar says of the legacy she had hoped to leave for her family. “When you’ve had a taste – I released my first CD to a sold out show – that feeling you get on stage is quite addictive.”
That addiction has been placated at large such venues as Voyager Days in Mattawa.
“With us playing out a lot more I think that the fan base has grown,” she said. “It’s getting out there pretty decent that I’m not singing to karaoke tracks anymore. I’m with an entertaining band that is really going to be as entertaining as all get out.”
Millar says she and Farrow strongly believe in the music they are making and even the unpolished version is catching attention.
The songs on the Country Rebel album are more radio friendly and Millar is proud of the effort.
“Musically I am in awe. I am, for lack of a better word, tickled pink,” she said.
Songs on the CD include Get You Back – the official transition from Small Town Girl to Country Rebel – it begins slowly with a sudden amp of tempo that takes the listener from melodic and loving to bent on revenge, the heavier Hell Bent, modern country rock sounding Country Style, the most country song on the album Reckless Heart and Broken.
“Broken is a fairly big departure musically. It’s structure. You can’t even call it a ballad. It’s a slow song that stands on its own lyrically. It is one of our most positive songs,” said Millar.
And then there is Tragedy of War.
“It’s almost as bluesy as you can get,” said Millar.
“Again, it’s forcing Pam out of that comfortable area,” said Farrow. “I don’t think Pam is what I would consider a one trick pony.”
Millar says she is staying realistic and has no delusions of grandeur.
“I think with this disk we’re going to be venturing out into the bigger pond,” said Farrow. “Certainly trying to hook up with management and booking agents that can get us beyond the confines of where we are at.”
“I’m enjoying every second of what I’m doing and as long as I’m having fun we’re going to keep doing it,” said Millar.