When Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam takes the stage on Tuesday, August 17, in a Benefit Concert for Shakespeare & Company at The Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox, Massachusetts, it will be several firsts for Miller and his band.
First and foremost, Miller has had a home in the area for many years and this will be the first time that the band will perform literally in his backyard, and, second, it will be a benefit concert for an organization near to his heart, which opened their season in mid-July with King Lear, top lining Christopher Lloyd.
“I adore the Berkshires, and as a longtime resident I’ve always wanted to have the band play a major concert in the area,” said Miller. “This benefit concert is a great event in a terrific setting for a wonderful cause.”
Miller is the acclaimed leader/bassist/composer for Project Grand Slam. The band, which has released 10 celebrated albums (including a Billboard #1), has racked up over four million video views and over a million Spotify streams. Their current album is East Side Sessions, which fortuitously was released just before the world closed down from the pandemic.
Project Grand Slam has played festivals and concerts around the world, including appearances with Edgar Winter, Blues Traveler, Boney James, Mindi Abair, and more.This past March Miller started a podcast called Follow Your Dream in order to inspire and motivate people to pursue and succeed at their dream, whatever it is, just as he has succeeded later in life at his youthful music dream. The podcast is already ranked in the Top 5% of all podcasts, and he’s had a remarkable string of VIP guests including musicians, authors, broadcasters and filmmakers.
He’s also written The Follow Your Dream Handbook to go along with the podcast, which combines his unique personal story with a how-to 5-step approach for people to follow and succeed at their dream. The Handbook will be released on August 26.
We talked with Miller, in deep preparation for the event, and went through a portion of the set list they’ll perform at the concert along with his comments:
“REDEMPTION ROAD” I wrote this song in the immediate aftermath of the Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings, although it’s not a political song. I just felt that sometimes in life you need redemption from your actions.
“I’M FALLING OFF OF THE WORLD” With all the problems that we have in this world I think we all sometimes feel like we’re falling off of the world. Bu in order to avoid jumping out of a window I gave it an upbeat message: we’re going to make it through somehow!
“TAKE ME” Growing up in NYC my father (who was also a musician) always had the Spanish radio stations on. So that music and its beats have been inside of me forever. Then, when I added so many Latin band mates to PGS, I knew that I needed to start to incorporate Latin music into our sound.
“CONSTABLE ON PATROL” One of my friends pointed out to me that the word “COP” actually stands for Constable On Patrol. I thought that was a very cool image and I ran with it. It’s about our inner Constable who protects us
“YEAH YEAH” All musicians and songwriters get inspired by other artists. We don’t really think of them when we’re creating, but they’re in there somewhere. As I wrote this song it reminded me of Huey Lewis meets the theme song from Peter Gunn. Go figure. It’s the opening track from our 2019 album, PGS 7.
“MY BABY” This one is from my new “solo” album, Miller Rocks, that digs into my rock and roll roots, and which I’m releasing in a novel way: one song at a time each in its own episode of my Follow Your Dream podcast. As one reviewer said, it’s got a “rollicking, fun, 1950s-ish feel”. I hope you agree.
“LAMENT” I love the band U2 and I “borrowed” the chord progression from “With Or Without You” when I wrote this song about a woman betrayed
“NYC GROOVE” This is the first song that I wrote for PGS after I reorganized the band in 2015. My wife found an old boom box (remember them?) in a closet, and it had a cassette tape (remember them?) in it of a rehearsal version of a song that I wrote, played and forgot about 20 years earlier. I liked the melody and I wrote the lyrics in 10 minutes. A tip of the hat to my native hometown.
“JULIET DANCES” This song is for my oldest granddaughter, Juliet, who then was 3 or 4 years old (now 6) and put on a dance recital for the family. Close your eyes and see if you can picture a young girl dancing.