Buddy & Julie Miller Written In Chalk

Buddy & Julie Miller Written In Chalk
It's rare that an artist's stature keeps increasing with age, at least not without a few stumbles along the way. But it's hard to find fault with anything that Buddy Miller has done, especially in the last decade, when seemingly everyone within the Americana community wants to involve him in whatever they're doing. The latest being Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, who hired Miller for their touring band. Although it's easy for those things to distract from Miller's work, it simply makes the sporadic appearance of something bearing his name a major event. Even more anticipated are collaborations with his wife Julie and Written In Chalk — their first joint venture since 2001 — doesn't disappoint. Opener "Ellis County" is a poignant lament for vanishing traditions, while "Gasoline And Matches" is a classic couple duet in the Richard and Linda Thompson mould. Plant repays Buddy for his services on the wonderfully swampy "What You Gonna Do Leroy" but the album's best moment is saved for last, with the hymnal "The Selfishness Of Man," featuring Emmylou Harris. Although bittersweet, it ends the album on a hopeful note and reinforces the notion that the Millers are one of the most underrated songwriting teams of their time. (New West)