Black Bear & The Cheyenne Autumn Band

Posted June 14, 2012 in Music


Black Bear (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica); Geneva Miller (piano, vocals); Dani Miller (lead guitar, vocals); Mike Wilson (drums, percussion).




“We are inspired by 1800s music including frontier music, hymns and negro spirituals, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, folk and folk-rock of the 1960s and 1970s (including Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Young, Jackson Browne and The Byrds) and ’90s alternative bands (like Green Day, Oasis and The Wallflowers). Our most contemporary influences are Indie bands like Dawes, Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, Death Cab For Cutie and Iron and Wine as well as some lesser known artists like Mariee Sioux and Alela Dianne. We are all heavily influenced by a profound love of nature and my song lyrics are inspired by Greek philosophy, transcendentalism and the prophets of the Old Testament,” explains Black Bear.


Trans-Mountaineer, Self-released (2012).



It’s time to unlock Corona’s true potential. There are few spots in the IE that have a folk music culture but the Black Bear & The Cheyenne Autumn Band (BBCAB) has a humble desire to unleash a satiating rain of folk music upon a desert of metal and rock bands.

The band’s name is a hybrid of interest through Black Bear, the band’s lead vocalist and harmonica player. First add tribute to the Black Bear (the animal), which once inhabited Corona’s countryside followed by a commendation to an old John Ford western called Cheyenne Autumn. Together the name truly epitomizes what folk music should sound like and, to be honest, nobody but Black Bear can describe the band’s working harmony. Passion shines through, my friends.

“We do not use half-stacks and pedal boards; we are very raw and minimalistic. In fact, we do not even have a bass player,” says Black Bear. “Instead, Geneva plays all the bass lines with her left hand on the piano and with the right she adds a subtle ambiance. Dani extends that ambiance with reverberant arpeggios on the electric guitar. Mike is a beast on drums, brilliantly balancing simplicity in some songs with catchy complex rhythms in others. I keep a steady rhythm on my acoustic. The lead vocal is the most outstanding part of our sound and the girls’ harmonies perfectly accompany the lead vocal melody in every chorus. Instrumentally, our sound is purposefully simple so that the vocals become the main focal point. I fill the instrumental sections of each song with a lonely harmonica, adding just the right amount of frontier/folk-ness to our songs.”

Corona has very few musical venues and Black Bear admits that between local churches, Marquee 15 and the Dos Lagos Amphitheater, the city doesn’t quite have the venues to support local folk and indie groups. While many bands lament the loss of the Showcase Theatre, BBCAB seeks out venues like Back to the Grind or Joey’s Barbecue to spread their love. “Our target audience is anyone with a lonesome and broken heart, anyone with a soul and a passion that feels like they have been pressed down and anyone seeking to escape the chaos of life with the chill vibrations of acoustic music,” says Black Bear. (Ashley Bennett)

Black Bear & The Cheyenne Autumn Band with With Range of Light at Back to the Grind, 3575 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 784-0800; Fri, June 15. 8pm. Free.