“A Light out There” by Pete Miller
When you’re new to the game, there’s a lot of pressure to get a debut single right, even though it’s just one of many songs you’re planning on putting out for the public’s enjoyment. That said, I don’t get the feeling that folk singer Pete Miller was feeling a lot of intimidation when he got into the studio to record his first official release, the new single “A Light out There,” as his is one of the more affirming deliveries I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing as a music critic this year. Miller has swagger, and for a man with only one track to his name, that’s pretty special.
The fierceness with which the strings are joined to the verses in this song is impressive, but it doesn’t steal any of the spotlight from the softness of the harmonies that start and end with our man’s lead vocal. His rejection of overindulgence is refreshing to hear this spring, given the steady decline of minimalist themes we’ve been hearing in alternative Americana over the past year or so, but it’s his smoke-stained melodicism that seals the deal for me in “A Light out There.” He’s a true singer/songwriter, and the blue-collar element of his sound is irresistible in this single.
It doesn’t get much simpler nor more anti-conceptual than what Pete Miller has drafted out for his debut, but in all honesty, I think this is going to be one of the reasons why he excels with the modern folk audiences of 2022. He’s got a retro identity, no question about it, but he’s translating in a way that’s relatable because of how easy he takes this narrative. It’s contemplative and charismatic, and for what I look for in a folk song, “A Light out There” is a smart listen any time of year.