On her first new album in five years, Valorie Miller writes about one of the most beautiful pieces of
land near Asheville, North Carolina – but not in a way one would expect. The narrative of Only the
Killer Would Know emerged after Miller discovered that her acre of land in Swannanoa sat adjacent
to, if not in the middle of, a hazardous waste area overseen by the government.
Dealing with health issues and eventually leaving the property, Miller finally figured out the
connection years later by talking to her former neighbors and independently researching the
superfund site, so named because of the massive cost necessary to clean up the mess left by
irresponsible corporations – in this case, a company called Chemtronics that manufactured weaponry
“It’s a big, scary, horrible subject, and a lot of these songs grew out of that,” she says. “There’s not
much you can do about those places. They will be toxic for our lifetime and for lifetimes to come.
Writing a song is always how I’ve addressed things in my life, but I’ve never had an inspiration quite
“Before this album, I’ve always gone in the studio and tried to figure it out with barely any money.
That can hold you back in certain ways, especially if you’re nervous and unsure about the people
you’re working with,” she says. “It’s a huge relief to make this album. I've always wanted to make a
record that I really like from start to finish, and I’m so glad that it happened. I'm a late bloomer, I
think. I feel like, moving forward, I could make even more music this way.”
Singer-songwriter Valorie Miller lived near a former chemical weapons plant in Swannanoa and wrote an album about it
Valorie Miller’s first album in five years is prepped to grace our ears on 6 May. Only the Killer Would Know (Blackbird / Indie AM Gold) is rooted in as harrowing a story as its name might imply
In Their Words: “‘Apocalachia’ is not only a song on the record, it’s also an imaginary realm I inhabit when wrestling with life’s larger conundrums. When I realized that my beloved Appalachian home was contaminated with chemicals manufactured for warfare, it seemed natural to merge the word ‘apocalypse’ with ‘Appalachia.’
The narrative of her new album, Only The Killer Would Know, out May 6 via Blackbird Record Label / Indie AM Gold, emerged after Miller discovered that her acre of land in Swannanoa sat adjacent to, if not in the middle of, a hazardous waste area overseen by the government. Miller experienced health issues that led her to eventually leave the property. Only later, by talking to her former neighbors and doing her own research, did she discover it was a “superfund” site, so named because of the massive cost necessary to clean up the mess left by irresponsible corporations (in this case, a company called Chemtronics that manufactured weaponry and explosives).