It’s nice to know there are some good things to come out of the year 2020. Marc Miner’s Smile While You’re Wasted is what many industry insiders might call a ‘gamechanger’. And, as luck would have it, Miner is anything but an insider. He’s the epitome of an outsider. Living in Austria, making a living slugging tunes about life on the road, drinking, smoking, pain killers and trucks, Miner’s point-of-view is what we’ve been searching for all these years. A country twang, a raspy voice and a slew of solid music beds, this country outlaw is one of the best Austrian experts since the beloved Falco rocked us with “Rock Me Amadeus”.
11 tracks on Smile While You’re Wasted give the listener more than ample time to get cozy with Miner’s unique snarl, bar honky-tonk brand. Rather than give you a play-by-play of each song, I’ve pared it down to a few tracks that I deem the most spotlight worthy. It was an arduous task – to say that I liked the songs on Smile is an understatement. Miner had me rocking and rolling, and cheering from top to bottom.
“Border Town Bar” is a lickety-split song that oozes fun. It’s toe-tapping and might be more rock and roll than country, but it’s a definite head bopper. The electric guitar has an almost 60 rockabilly riff, and the percussion is tight. We’re a little bit late, but the show will be fun tonight, we’ll be smokin’ and a drinkin’ and a sniffin’ everything in our sight, with a little bit of twang, we all get to bang, so we never can tell if we gonna go or hang, still tomorrow we’ll be rolling to the next little border town bar, sings the cheeky Miner. The dirt in his voice, the character in his vocal delivery is fantastic. Just fantastic. It might be written about a band hopping from one tiny town to the next and having a ball, but any listener can relate to the unstoppable hook.
It just so happens the very next track, “Easy Street” is also one of my favorites. This song made me laugh, mostly because Miner’s personality shines through when he sings, but his lyrics are an uproar of fun. In a completely different vibe, he almost takes the listener to a deserted island with the percussion. No, I ain’t got no concern, someone’s gonna pay my debuts, yeah, it’s my turn, I get what I earn, and I got no regrets, and while you’re full of fear, I just feel like wow…as long as I got beer, I won’t shed a tear, I live in the now, he sings half-lethargically. Something tells me he has the answers – what do we need all this stress for anyway?
After much debate between like “Whiskey & Weed” or “Nothing Good ‘Bout The Way I Live”, I decided to go with “Nothing” as my last standout. I think some people would say “Whiskey & Weed” encapsulates Miner as an artist, but what I enjoyed most about “Nothing” is the vulnerability and musicality. Miner is fun and he plays a lot of games with is music, but at his core, the guy can write a wonderful country western song with heart.