The perks of running a media blog are when unexpected surprises fly into your radar. One such example is Boston singer/songwriter Tavonna Miller, whom RMP wrote about a couple years back. Miller is back with her debut full-length Peace, Love and the Lack Thereof and sure enough it does not disappoint.
Album opener “Whole Lotta Trouble,” is confident, crisp and nothing short of arresting. There’s a soaring organ, a tickling piano and Miller’s sensual and seductive soul-driven vocals. Vacillating between lounge jazz and R&B, Miller has a distinct pulse on how to write a song and even better yet how to convey emotion and conviction without sounding phony. Though the rise from veritable unknown to VH1 darling is arduous to say the least, one thinks Miller has a definite shot and Peace, Love and the Lack Thereof is veritable proof of that. Whether its the uplifting and inspiring “Somebody Knows,” the tender piano-driven ballad “That Won’t Be My Story,” the Alana Davis-inspired “We Gon’ Make It Baby,” the soothing “Making My Rounds,” or the buoyant “My Angels,” the disc’s first half is chock full of winning moments.
On the second half, the brassy “Let Me Belong,” is solacing and self-affirming, while “Another Me,” is a chance for Miller to showcase her powerhouse vocals. Arguably one of the best on the disc is the woodwind-driven “I Hate The Way You Hold Me,” a haunting and hypnotic cut that seems destined for a movie soundtrack. “Right Here, Right Now,” feels like the kind of song that could launch her into another stratosphere if given the right exposure, while penultimate cut “Twisted,” is a song with a tremendous message. The disc ends with “Me and My Baby,” a sweetly affecting valentine and a gorgeous meditation on parenthood.
All in all, Miller is a first-rate talent with first-rate vocals and has a knack for winning arrangements. Given the right amount of exposure, there’s no telling how far she can go. One listen to this disc is certain of that.