Pete Muller smiles straight through the clip for “Let You In,” his latest single. It’s not a coy or enigmatic half-grin either; no, his happiness is apparent, even when he’s singing his heart out. Muller is the sort of performer with a smile in his voice – even when his thoughtful, skillfully-written songs get poignant, or downright melancholy, he’s always welcoming. His music radiates joy, and when you stand in Muller’s presence or listen to his songs, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll walk away from the experience with a smile on your face, too.
Moreover, the more you know about the man behind the music, the more you’ll marvel at his preternatural composure and equilibrium, the breadth of his knowledge, his inexhaustibility, and the quiet confidence with which he operates. Pete Muller might be one of the most protean figures in modern music. In his songs, he seamlessly combines elements of jazz, folk, pop, country, and classic rock; in his life outside the stage lights, he’s a successful businessman, a skilled surfer, a devilishly clever crossword puzzle creator, a philanthropist, an educator, and a dedicated student of yoga. That same broadmindedness has always been apparent in everything he records – but he’s never managed to integrate the disparate parts of his complicated personality quite as brilliantly as he does on Dissolve, his new set. This album is Muller at his fullest: generous, warm, inspirational, gently passionate, and yes, always smiling, even through the hard times.
“Let You In” is a duet with singer and co-writer Missy Soltero, whose performance is just as poised and expressive as ‘Muller’s is. Her powerful alto is a perfect counterpoint to ‘Muller’s conversational delivery, and their musical dialogue is instantly winning and, just as importantly, wholly believable. Both Muller and Soltero appear in Lenny Bass’s delightful performance video for the song, and their chemistry is infectious – before they’re through the first verse, two other couples in the bar drop what they’re doing and begin to dance. Does that sort of thing really happen at Muller’s shows? We wouldn’t bet against it, but if you’re interested in seeing for yourself, he’s providing plenty of opportunities: the Santa Barbara-based singer-songwriter will be on the road all summer, including stops at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland, the Umbria Jazz Fest in Italy, and the iAM MUSIC Fest in Durango, Colorado.