Buddy & Julie Miller – In the Throes
There have been a handful of duos down through the years who were expressive & impressive. But in my system, I have Richard & Linda Thompson always right beside my Buddy & Julie Miller albums. The quality, originality & creativity never cease with duos such as this. The Thompsons no longer record together regularly but we have the Millers.
My son Lucas was not of this generation of music but ever since hearing Buddy sing “Written In Chalk,” he’s been an admirer of Mr. Miller. I was introduced to Buddy when I saw him perform with Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin & Shawn Colvin (“Three Girls & Their Buddy”). An excellent performance & introduction to a fascinating artist.
Married 40 years the team of Buddy & Julie is indispensable. This is their fourth LP together with many of the songs written by Julie. Recorded in Nashville by Buddy the 12-motifs of In the Throes (Drops Sept 22– New West Records) features a wonderful track “Don’t Make Her Cry,” co-written by Bob Dylan with Julie Miller & Regina McCrary (vocals).
These are the surprises a listener like me appreciates.
If Elvis Presley had not passed away I’m certain he would have covered their “The Last Bridge You Will Cross,” which is superb. The songs on this CD spotlight Julie & Buddy solo, as well as a duo & that’s when it really cooks. “The Painkillers Ain’t Workin,” for instance is a signature style from the Millers & it’s excellent.
What is also noticeable about this work is the well-proportioned balance between the types of songs featured. There’s no sameness to it, it’s all carefully plotted into a songcraft of individuality. Miller’s voice is not as stony – it more often sounds polished with age – “Tattooed Tear,” showcases Buddy with a warm plausible tonality.
Julie’s “I’ve Been Around,” is quirky (similar to the wonderful Annie Golden style of “Fire In New Town” with Golden-Carrillo). This tune drifts along in a reminisce of “Come Together,” by The Beatles. The chugging guitars, drums & it’s actually cool coming from a female perspective.
Their voices in unison are always ideal with their traditional vocal implementation, sufficient edge & a looseness to the music. They play off the other musicians & react to what they’re playing whereas orchestras follow a conductor. Quite the opposite.
Highlights – “You’re My Thrill,” “Don’t Make Her Cry,” “Niccolo,” “The Last Bridge You Will Cross,” “The Painkillers Ain’t Workin,” “Tattooed Tear” & “I’ve Been Around.”
Musicians – Fred Eltringham (drums/percussion), Viktor Krauss & Byron House (basses), Tim Lauer (keyboards), Stuart Duncan (fiddle/banjo), Matt Slocum (cello) with Emmylou Harris (vocals), Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams (vocals) & Gurf Morlix (vocals).
Color image courtesy of Jeff Fasano. Nice folded-down lyric insert included. The 43-minute CD @ Amazon + Bandcamp + https://www.buddymiller.com/