Only The Killer Would Know

Valorie Miller

On her first new album in five years, Valorie Miller writes about one of the most beautiful pieces of land near Asheville, North Carolina - but not in a way one would expect. The narrative of Only The Killer Would Know emerged after Miller discovered that her acre of land in Swannanoa sat adjacent to, if not in the middle of, a hazardous waste area overseen by the government.Dealing with health issues and eventually leaving the property, Miller finally figured out the connection years later by talking to her former neighbors and independently researching the site. "It's a big, scary, horrible subject, and a lot of these songs grew out of that," she says. "There's not much you can do about those places. They will be toxic for our lifetime and for lifetimes to come. Writing a song is always how I've addressed things in my life, but I've never had an inspiration quite like this." Recorded in Asheville with rising producer Kayla Zuskin, the album begins with "Apocalachia," with wrenching lyrics that confront the situation head-on. "Field of Flowers" then offers a poignant message about growth and accountability, especially when it comes to how we treat the earth. Miller lifted a phrase from the national anthem for "Home of the Brave," a song about personal fortitude that she wrote in anticipation of a local show around the Fourth of July. "You hear that term in detective shows, when somebody has insider information," she says. "With Only the Killer Would Know, the 'killer' refers to the people who dump that stuff in the ground. Some eerie, dreamlike vibe seeps into the later songs on Only The Killer Would Know, due to the innovative Asheville musicians that Zuskin brought into the sessions. In the studio with a female producer for the first time, Miller describes the whole experience as not just smooth, but "shockingly relaxing." "Before this album, I've always gone in the studio and tried to figure it out with barely any money. That can hold you back in certain ways, especially if you're nervous and unsure about the people you're working with," she says. "It's a huge relief to make this album. I've always wanted to make a record that I really like from start to finish, and I'm so glad that it happened. I'm a late bloomer, I think. I feel like, moving forward, I could make even more music this way."

Collections: VINYL

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