New York resident Dena Miller uses music as a way to explore memory and the subconscious, and on Woodpecker, her upcoming debut album as Deer Scout, she combines her talent for expressive fingerpicking with a voice so clear that it seems to dissipate any wayward clouds.
“I approach songwriting as a process of boxing things up, or putting away a time capsule,” she explains.“I used to sing myself to sleep as a baby and I think music still plays the same role in my life—it’s a way of self-soothing or seeking comfort. But there’s also part of it that comes from wanting to connect with people.”
Exploring the dichotomy between connection and distance, between uncertainty and conviction, she finds ways to entangle the concepts of intimacy and emotional reserve in ways that feel compelling in their simplicity and directness.
She introduces the album with lead single, “Cowboy”, a spare folk wonder that feels as if she is singing directly to you, sitting no more than a foot away. Her acoustic guitar is clean, cutting through any distance between her music and the space you currently occupy. Miller finds a particular resonance within the confines of this uncomplicated framework, allowing the music to send shivers through your body by the simple act of plucking a string or the sound of a perfectly whispered word.
Directed by Savannah Magruder, the video for “Cowboy” follows an older man as he makes his way through a coastal amusement park, stopping to play games and take his turn on a few rides before wandering out to the ocean and considering the life of a small fish he’d won in one of the sideshow games. It’s a subdued look at small joys and the ways we feel connected to the world around us.
Deer Scout’s new record Woodpecker is due out April 8 via Carpark Records. Follow Deer Scout on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news. You can pre-order the album here.