Today, utterly at home with his place in the new economy, the songwriter Scott Miller is having a cow. All right, a calf. Gently and with great patience he is tending the calf and its mother, the distance between man and animal not entirely different from the careful space a performer withholds from his audience. He has lots of cows, 75 head, give or take. The audience for his music is considerably larger, for Scott Miller has long been a songwriter’s songwriter, his careful, biting work championed by artists from Patty Griffin to Steve Earle to the novelist Silas House. When the cow is stable (sorry) he takes a four-wheeler to the top of the tallest hill around and stops simply to survey the landscape. “I grew up here,” he says, his eyes restless, counting each unfinished project. “You do not see anything else from up here but farmland and farms. When you’re twelve, it’s your world. And it’s beautiful, and it speaks to me.” The roots of roots music. “Stonewall Jackson bivouacked in those woods,” he continues. “If we go to the family farm in Bath County, near Montpelier, you can sit in the window and see the other side of the mountains that James Madison looked at while he was writing the Bill of Rights. This country started in Virginia. Jamestown, 1693. That just speaks to me. And that’s just white people history. It’s not like this valley didn’t draw and speak to anyone before Europeans settled in it. Far from it.” The black calf is soft and damp and tired, covered in thrift shop towels. Sweet and helpless. Shivering, amniotic fluid still rattling in his chest, though the vet took a medicinal turkey baster to the problem before turning her attention to his mother. So tired he doesn’t know he’s hungry yet. Neither animal can stand. Watching a 1,500-pound animal stumble and fall will keep you nimble and alert. It took two strong men twenty minutes to pull the calf free, the metal chain they used clean and coiled on the back of the nearest tractor. In time both animals will both stand; the mother simply has temporary nerve damage from the trauma of birth.