Monday, July 12, 2010

Buddy Miller: Cruel Moon (2000)

(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )

Buddy Miller
Cruel Moon

For years, Miller has labored valiantly in the shadow of Emmylou Harris (in whose Spyboy band he plays lead guitar) and Julie Miller (his wife). Both women contribute harmony vocals (as do Steve Earle, Jim Lauderdale, and Joy Lynn White) to this, Miller’s third solo outing, but it’s Miller’s own twangy, Bakersfield-by-way-of-Appalachia singing and his application of it to styles usually associated with smoother-voiced singers that makes these songs live. His version of Paul Kennerly’s “Love Match” sounds like the Everly Brothers gone rockabilly, his “I’m Gonna Be Strong” like Gene Pitney’s with the lights down low, orchestra sent home and a few stiff drinks down the hatch. Rating: Four roots-rock reverberations out of five.

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