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Simpatico Musicians, Crazy Love Duo, Celebrate Life

Simpatico Musicians

By Dianna Troyer

Promoting Organ Donations by Singing Their ‘Idaho Originals’ Repertoire

The partners who perform as Crazy Love Duo are such kindred composers, they often unknowingly write songs about the same topic. That was the case when Twin Falls musicians Bruce Michael Miller and Heather Platts read a magazine article during breakfast about a lone horse living a solitary and apparently content lifestyle for decades in a scenic Idaho canyon.

“We each spontaneously went to our separate home offices and started writing “The White Horse of Black Daisy Canyon,” Miller recalled. “A few hours later, we realized we had been doing the same thing. Our final version blended our different ideas. A song like that is a gift. The ideas—freedom, an underdog story, how he survives alone especially during harsh winters—it’s fascinating. The song just came about organically, like it wanted to be written and sung. Writing and performing songs like that is a gift.”

The ballad is one of eight songs they composed and will sing for their “Idaho Originals” program, a musical and literary travelogue funded through an Idaho Arts Council grant. The grant enabled Miller, a guitarist, and Platts, a pianist and voice teacher, to write and record songs about Idaho’s unique features and to publish an accompanying book with photos and artwork for each song.

Besides the horse, their other songs are a microcosm of Idaho.

“Church,” is about nature as sanctuary with a healing power, especially Idaho’s 2.4-million-acre Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Area and the efforts of Sen. Frank Church’s to protect it.

“Three Days” is about the healing power of nature as it applies to unwinding from the daily stressors of modern life.

“Front Porch Ghost” tells of a rocking chair at a cabin along Billingsley Creek at southern Idaho’s Thousand Springs State Park.

“A Little Lost” describes the Lost River flowing from the state’s tallest peaks in central Idaho south to the Arco Desert, where it sinks into porous basalt and re-emerges 200 years and 100 miles (160.93 km) later at Thousand Springs in the Hagerman Valley. “The Little Lost River is a metaphor for how sometimes we must go into some darkness to germinate and emerge into the light renewed,” Miller said.

“Thomas Mercantile,” tells of the history and recent renovation of an old mercantile built in 1909 at Swanlake about 25 miles (40.23 km) north of the Idaho/Utah border.

“The Blue” is a song inspired by the painting “Visit to the Aquarium” by Idaho artist Jenny Williams.

“Snake River Canyon” tells of the rugged nearly sheer cliffs that drop on average 5,500 feet (1.68 km) for 40 miles (64.37 km), making it the deepest canyon in North America. The song uses the dramatic geology as a metaphor for the power of love.

Miller and Platts will launch their “Idaho Originals” tour at 7:30 p.m. April 19 at the Twin Falls Center for the Arts. Other performances will be scheduled throughout the year.

It’s poignant their tour begins in April, designated National Donate Life Month. The nonprofit Donate Life America promotes the month to remind people to donate organs and tissue.

Miller and Platts are not only companionable musicians; they are also compatible for organ donations.

On August 6, 2019, Platts donated a kidney to Miller at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Miller, diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, had finally reached a point where he needed to be on a transplant list.

“We think of that date as Bruce’s second birthday and celebrate,” Platts said.

“I look at it as starting the second chapter of my life,” Miller said. “At first, I wondered if I was worthy of such an incredible gift. Then I vowed with gratitude to make it even more of a priority and privilege to write, sing, and share joy through music.”

Platts said the donation made them each have a deeper appreciation of life.

“People tell me it’s great I saved his life, but really he saved mine, reminding me of the vitality of my own life—to do what I love and use my time wisely,” Platts said.

The phases of their organ donation journey inspired an album, “The Big Give,” released in 2021 with six songs lasting 27 minutes.

Kismet meeting…

Throughout their singing careers—long before they met—music was always a way to connect with people, to foster a sense of community. Eventually their natural inclination to seek musical camaraderie led them to each other.

Bruce is a producer, guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, performer and music educator, who has performed with Paul McCartney, Kenny Loggins, Jim Messina, Laura Branigan, The Standells, John Densmore of “The Doors,” Gary Wright, and Jeffrey Steele.

In December 2013, Platts and Miller started working together remotely—Miller in Nashville and Platts in Idaho. Platts eventually traveled to Nashville to record two albums titled “Lighted Windows” and “Runnin’ It Red.”

Their harmonious relationship eventually persuaded Miller to move to Idaho in 2017. A year later, on Valentine’s Day, they performed together for the first time. Brainstorming for a name, they settled on Crazy Love Duo and established their website. They began performing at public events, bars, and restaurants—even celebrations of life.

“We love when people come up to us [afterward] and tell us that a song reminded them of something,” Platts said. “Some people have told us about a friend or relative who had an organ donation or who donated.”

Miller recalled when he moved to Idaho; he was awestruck with the state’s diverse natural beauty, colorful history, and residents’ friendliness and was inspired to write songs.

“Our ‘Idaho Originals’ program is a way for songs to tell those stories and to touch us all and create a community,” Miller said.

Platts said she values preserving and appreciating the land and people. “That’s what we want our program to convey. We’d love to schedule with service clubs, schools, libraries—you name it. We can’t wait to meet people and start making those connections.”

Miller said his new kidney kindled his new mission.

“It made me want to share my musical creativity and songs with the world even more,” Miller said. “Receiving an organ donation makes you realize what’s most important in life—love and kindness.” ISI


An “Idaho Originals” performance may be scheduled at www.crazyloveduo.com, or 615.495.2930, or through Inquiring Idaho, an Idaho Humanities Council program linking speakers to audiences.

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