Johnny Miller’s musical odyssey began at age nine with an accordion bought for him by his mother.
After learning to read music playing keyboards, he switched to a guitar because, “When Elvis Presley came along I knew I wasn’t going to make it with an accordion!” Although he still plays accordion and keyboards, Johnny Miller is best known and loved for his unique style and skill with the guitar.
One musician dubbed him, “The Keith Richards of Bandera.” He was given a t-shirt proclaiming him a, “Guitar God”. In 2010, the Bandera Music History Project and Hall of Fame voted him its Living Legend award. He’s played with a long and varied list of musicians including Merle Haggard, Johnny Rodriguez, Tom Jones, Hank Williams Jr., the Allman Brothers, Iron Butterfly and Mickey Gilley at the legendary Gilley’s in Pasadena, Texas. “He used my arrangement on the intro to ‘Lookin’ For Love’,” Miller says.
He was playing guitar for Ray Price’s bandleader, Blondie Calderon, at Nemo’s in Del Rio, Texas, when a flood rolled through. “It took my Telstar guitar 7 years to dry out,” he says, “and now it has a unique tone – doesn’t sound like any other Telstar.” A unique guitar for a unique musician.
Classical acoustic, classic country, rock, Americana, he can and does play it all. “I played a tango for Robert Duvall when he was making a movie [Lonesome Dove] down in Del Rio,” he says. And when Johnny Miller plays and sings the blues, he stops the show.
Other musicians sing his praises. “He does it without all the pedals and toys other guitar players use,” one says. “He makes you feel safe,” another adds. “He finds ways of fixing things and he never showboats, but he sure could!”
“Bandera’s the best [musically],” Miller says. Bandera returns the compliment with a solid Johnny Miller fan base wherever and whenever he’s playing.
Rough Cuts Johnny Miller - Baby Watchya Gonna do