Something tells me Marc Miner is the type of guy that would laugh at the joke, “Minor? There’s nothing minor about Marc.” Transfixed by his growly voice and penchant for catchy, country tunes, Miner’s magnificent turn in Smile While You’re Wasted is epic on many levels. For one thing, he’s not Nashville based, and another thing is that the guy is a clever wordsmith. A third thing – these songs are really, really good. I can’t stress that enough. Miner’s role is just revealing itself. These ‘outlaw country’ songs are bingeworthy.
Born to an American father and German mother, Miner’s parents met in Poland. He was born in Poland, but grew up in Vienna, Austria. At 16, the rebellious Miner left for the United States. His story takes a few twists and turns, like any great country song, and he landed himself in trouble with the law. Back in Vienna, Miner’s unique brand of outlaw country is peppered with honky tonk, folk and even a tad of rockabilly. Smile While You’re Wasted is 11 tracks of monumental storytelling, colored with barroom anecdotes and personal perseverance.
“Warm Welcome” ingratiates the listener immediately. Miner’s growl of a voice is backed by a robust band. The second track, “Border Town Bar” further grips the listener into Miner’s helluva ride. It’s a fast paced charmer – the epitome of wanting to jump up from your barstool and join in on the chorus. We gonna burn this place down, level it to the ground, break it down with our sound, let’s raise hell in this god-forsaken town, whoah!, raise hell, y’all, sings Miner. In “Easy Street”, Miner has a bit of an island tone, the percussion is conga-like. I was never trying to pay my bills, now that the whole world is shut down, I get my ass up… he sings. I talk a walk on easy street and get my thrills on easy street…he continues.
In “Everything But Modest”, Miner brings down the mood and the energy just ever-so-slightly. It’s still a gem of a slow dance, with the electric guitar riffing like a forlorn drinker. Let’s be honest, I’m everything but modest, Miner croons. The rebel in him continues in the enjoyable, grinning “Whiskey & Weed”. You can probably guess what that’s one about and it’s really fun. Up next, “Sweet Codeine” has that you have to hear this feeling – I’m a sucker for your sweet and purple lips, sings Miner. He might even be halfcocked singing this song, in a bit of a haze, but that’s what makes it so relatable and so fantastic. He also pronounces it ‘co-de-in’ and for us Americans, it’s different, but you get the gist. This was one of my favorites.
“Empty Bottles” has a swampy, murky tone. “We laughed until we drank…” Miner sings. His voice meanders over the percussion, while the sticky drum sticks click, click, click. The last four tunes “Strip You Down”, “Nothing Good ‘Bout The Way I Live”, “Over” and “Last Words” never recoil, never stop entertaining. Before you know it, you’re already to start again.