Family means different things to different people, and to me, family is where your heart is. Family is home. In the ways that we love and support each other, family provides us with something more in our lives that enriches us and makes us feel like we belong, regardless of our successes or failures along our journey. Each family’s journey is its own story. Each song on this album tells a little bit of my own family’s story.
Sebastian’s Day Off
Sebastian’s Day Off was written during the winter of 2012 and premiered at Vermont College of Fine Arts in February 2013. The music describes spending a day in the park with my son Sebastian, who was five years old at the time this was written. Five-year olds shift from activity to activity pretty quickly at times, and the music attempts to follow along. To Sebastian: you are the apple of my eye!
Ruby In The Ruff
The melody and chord changes for this tune were written in 1989 at the University of Miami during a study of the music of Wayne Shorter and Charles Mingus. Following the death in 1992 of my aunt Ruby Ruff, I decided to write this tune and dedicate it to her. The title is a play on her name and the old saying Diamond in the Rough. To Ruby (1924-1992): you were a special woman and an awesome aunt.
Dear Della Mae
A photograph of my aunt Della Mae and her future husband J.O. from the time they were dating was the inspiration for Dear Della Mae. The photo is full of character and charm and shows the spunkiness of my uncle. I envisioned the music, which is in 13-8 meter, as a love letter that he might have written to her. To Della Mae (1919-1998): your banana pudding was simply the best.
Inky & Marie
My aunt Marie lived with us for a short time following a move back to Knoxville after the death of her husband, my uncle Joe. She had a little dog named Inky that was old and half blind. One morning I went out to the garage to feed him and found that he had died during the night. Marie was very sad and distraught for some time afterwards. To Marie (1915-1992): you were a very sweet woman, and Inky was a good dog.
Stellee & Jack
My aunt Estelle used to make up stories to entertain her sisters as they were growing up in the 1930s and 40s. One such story was about a pair of characters named Stellee and Jack. Their escapades were far more adventurous than most people experience in their young lives, and they have captivated the imaginations of our family for decades. To Estelle (1917-2009): you were full of wit and charm, and you certainly had a vivid imagination.
During my mom and her sibling’s childhood, my aunt Marie made up nicknames for each of her sisters. My aunt Mary Lou’s nickname was Trudy Boo, or just Boo. She was shy and sweet, and this song is in tribute to her gentle nature and country-girl charm. To Boo (1931-2012): I always looked forward to coming to your house on Christmas Day to visit.
My mom’s nickname given to her by my aunt Marie was Poochie. Not quite sure where it came from, but she was always Poochie to her siblings. Her favorite song is Tennessee Waltz, so it was only fitting that I should write a waltz especially for her. She has been one of my best friends and most intimate of confidants throughout my life. It has been a challenge to watch the effects of Parkinson’s and dementia take their toll on her over the last couple of years. She is the last of her family, and when she is gone, a whole generation of family will have passed into memory. To Mom (b. 1933): you have been my rock – thank you!
The title of this song came from a book of the same name by the Christian writer Catherine Marshall. A quote from the foreword of the book in particular was my inspiration in writing this song: “When the Spirit of Truth is come, He will reveal all.” It is with that hope and knowledge that I live out my life each day, knowing that I have a companion in my heart to help guide my thoughts and decisions. And I am thrilled to have a great companion to accompany me in this life along the way in my wife Virginia. She has been a blessing to me and has enriched my life greatly. Without her support, none of this would have been possible. To Virginia, thank you for all that you do to support me. I love you – ‘deed I do!
– Timothy Lee Miller
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