Buddy Miller

Universal United House of Prayer

New West

Miller has been making great albums for 10 years and traditionally has gone the hardcore-country route. Here he takes a stripped-down, almost ambient approach and creates a delightfully dark fusion of blues, gospel and folk.

His guitar work on the opening “Worry Too Much” has shades of “Dirty Work”-era Stones or Keith Richards’ “Talk Is Cheap.” But it’s the hardest-rocking song of the bunch and presages a gut-wrenching, meandering journey through the swamp and past the delta, not to the heart but to the soul.

We’re talkin’ spirituality, brothers and sisters. Miller underscores his lyrical topics and topical lyrics with sparse yet rich arrangements – just enough fiddle here, some remarkably restrained organ there. Or maybe the point is driven home with a brief electric mandolin solo or a subtle accordion riff. 

He gets a little help from his wife, Julie, and friends Emmylou Harris and Jim Lauderdale. Tying it all together is the vocal assistance from Regina and Ann McCrary (daughters of the Rev. Sam McCrary, an original member of the Fairfield Four). Regina, incidentally, sang on Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming” and “Shot of Love.”

Can I get an “amen”?

Tracks
1. Worry Too Much
2. There’s A Higher Power
3. Shelter Me
4. With God On Our Side
5. Wide River To Cross
6. Fire And Water
7. Don’t Wait
8. This Old World
9. Is That You
10. Returning
11. Fall On The Rock

Total time: 50.6 minutes

External links
artist’s website
amazon.com

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