His CD Universal United House of Prayer finds BUDDY MILLER’s feet planted firmly in the territory that the roots-country musician staked out over the course of five previous records. Again Buddy effortlessly blends a dozen American styles and idioms, again he evokes the mongrel force that breathed life into America’s best mid-century pop and folk music.
Behind the music is a modest man of extraordinarily broad skills. Emmylou Harris, in whose band Buddy served for eight years, calls the 51-year-old Ohio-born Nashville transplant “one of the best guitar players of all time.” Steve Earle, another former bandmate, pronounces him “the best country singer working today.” Records by artists ranging from Lucinda Williams to Trisha Yearwood have benefited from Buddy’s vocal and instrumental prowess. As for the taut, elegiac songs he composes, they could be mistaken for disinterred relics, resonant of a lost age when white and black music were casually consanguineous – could be, only cover versions by hitmakers like Lee Ann Womack, Brooks & Dunn, and the Dixie Chicks have proved their contemporary power, affirming Buddy as one of Music City’s most valuable writers. Then there is his superiority as a producer and engineer (Harris, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jim Lauderdale).
Buddy is a master of many disciplines – but note how all this mastery is ultimately pressed into service. With Your Love and Other Lies (1995), Poison Love (1997), Cruel Moon (1999), the co-billed Buddy and Julie Miller (a 2001 Grammy nominee for Best Contemporary Folk Album), Midnight and Lonesome (2002), and his latest, Buddy has created a niche in American music all his own.
- from notes by Robbie Fulk