Thursday, February 16, 2012

Musical Couples: Buddy & Julie Miller

Buddy & Julie Miller: You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast

Buddy & Julie Miller: Forever Has Come To An End


Known better as behind-the-scenes wizards from the country/roots-rock end of American folk music, Buddy and Julie Miller have helped garner fame and fortune for a multitude of other artists, from Frank Black and Jimmie Dale Gilmore to Mindy Smith and Patty Griffin, through coverage, session work, and production. As I noted in a full-bore piece on the couple back in 2008 over at Cover Lay Down, Buddy, who served in Emmylou Harris’ band for eight years, has earned accolades from bandmates Griffin, Emmylou, and Steve Earle, among others, for his blazing guitarwork and his vocals; meanwhile, Julie’s songwriting has been adapted by folk faves from Richard Shindell, Dar Williams, and Lucy Kaplansky to Sam Bush, Earle, Emmylou, and The Gibson Brothers, while her vocal harmony has become the mark of a certain kind of promise for releases from predominantly female folk artists with a particular southern folk/country bent to their sound and their outlook.

Unfortunately, many of Buddy and Julie's earlier works are out of print. But although they make their bread and butter off composer residuals, and production, tour, and studio work in service to a whole heap of well-known names, the long-lasting couple, who met on the road in the early nineties - she was just a teenager then, though already recording; he was a bit older, but hadn't struck out on his own as a solo artist just yet - are great performers in their own right. And, more significantly for this particular theme, in all that they do, they truly are inseparable as musicians and artists; I have yet to find a song of either of theirs which doesn't truly bear the mark of both, to the benefit of all.

As such, I think they deserve as much a chance to shine as their songs do. Rather than post one of the many Buddy & Julie Miller covers in my vast collection, or rehash Buddy's absolutely stunning take on Dylan's With God On Our Side, I've picked two original selections from their self-titled 2001 album - a heavy, gritty Americana piece, and a sultry countrygrass ballad - to show the breadth their of power. Check 'em out, pick up pretty much every album they produced as solo or paired artists in the last two decades, and then keep your eyes peeled for a live show in your area.

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