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  BUDDY MILLER: He's the man
Updated, Oct. 21/09



Update from the Sep. 23/09 newsletter:
Buddy was nominated for five 2009 Americana Awards and won four (artist of the year; album of the year for Written in Chalk with wife Julie Miller; duo/group of the year with his wife; and song of the year for "Chalk" performed with Patty Griffin.)

The following piece was originally written prior to Buddy's June 5th Massey Hall appearance as part of "3 Girls and Their Buddy" together with Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin & Shawn Colvin.

 “If you want to talk about how country music should be nowadays, it's Buddy Miller.”  - Emmylou Harris

The show does indeed feature three great girls, and while Emmylou certainly needs no introduction (I fell in love with her voice back in 1975 with her Pieces of the Sky LP), it's the return to town of Buddy Miller that has me most interested.

Buddy, for many, is a giant in the American music field. He leads the pack with five nominations for the 2009 American Music Awards; but being nominated as artist of the year is no big deal for someone who's been named as alternative country artist of the decade. (By No Depression magazine in its final print issue). The Globe & Mail's Brad Wheeler, in his March 16 review of Written in Chalk, the CD by Buddy and wife Julie Miller, wrote in relation to Buddy, "Of Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson once said: 'Everyone pretty much acknowledges he's the man, and I still think that underrates him.'"

He's earned his reputation not only as a performer, but as much-in-demand guitarist (playing in bands of Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris as well as touring with Robert Plant and Allison Krauss last year) and producer (including Solomon Burke's great 2006 CD, Nashville).

His music is very much tied to that of his wife, Julie Miller. They've been performing together, on and off, for more than 30 years, releasing both solo and duo albums. This year's Written in Chalk, a "Buddy & Julie" CD has garnered great reviews (No Depression's is here, which also features a video of Buddy talking about the CD). They perform songs alone and together on the album, but it's Julie's songwriting that is the real heart of the album. Among the standouts is "June", a moving song by Julie that she wrote -- and recorded -- on the night of June Carter Cash's death.

Chalk is only the second CD released between the two of them in the last seven years. Buddy's work, and Julie's health have been among the reasons there has been so little recorded output from the couple. However, Julie hasn't been the only one with health problems; Buddy had triple-bypass surgery this spring and is only now returning to the tour.


For an excellent portrait of Buddy and Julie, see this May article from Paste magazine.

The video below is Buddy talking about his very unique guitar (photo above is from his 2005 Horseshoe show).

More video:

  • "Worry Too Much": the music video for the opening track from Buddy's 2004 Universal United House of Prayer CD
  • "Gold" by Emmylou, backed by Buddy
  • Patty Griffin: performing and talking about her music
  • "Broken Things" by Julie (with Buddy)