Buddy Miller Universal United House of Prayer

With the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, many artists are getting political and using their voice and their songs to raise voters’ consciousness and get them to consider change. While some, such as renegade troubadour Steve Earle prefer the direct approach (see The Revolution Starts Now), others prefer a subtler approach. Roots-country musician Buddy Miller falls into the latter camp. His new album, Universal United House of Prayer, takes a spiritual look at politics. With the 11 tracks serving as an extended meditation on world affairs, Miller captures the mood of Nashville and Middle America, with an emotionally-charged delivery that avoids being too preachy. Here, Bob Dylan’s spiritual war song "With God on Our Side” takes on renewed meaning. Miller’s haunting delivery heightens the song’s impact. Other choice covers include a soaring take on Mark Heard’s "Worry Too Much” and the gospel-infused version of the Louvin’ Brothers’ "There’s a Higher Power.” Miller is joined on Universal United House of Prayer by alt-country pioneers and long-time friends Jim Lauderdale and Emmylou Harris. Lauderdale co-wrote "Returning” and "Don’t Wait” and also sings on several songs, including the aforementioned Dylan cover. With a brim full of country and seasoned with a healthy dose of soul, Miller’s music gets to the heart of matters with an affecting delivery. (New West)