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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Millers make sweet music together

Johnny D's, Somerville, Mass., March 1, 2000

By Jeffrey B. Remz

SOMERVILLE, MA. - What a difference a buzz makes. The last time Buddy Miller came to town in his own right, he barely drew anyone.

Now with an ever growing reputation as a songwriter, producer and musician, Miller and fellow singer and wife Julie Miller packed the house.

And with good reason.

The Nashville-based duo to work quite well together thank you whether Buddy's handling the leads or Julie.

Buddy Miller, who just produced Jimmie Dale Gilmore's stellar new album and plays guitar for Emmylou Harris, doesn't possess the emotional range and vocal intensity of his wife, but he is no slouch either with a voice more geared to more musically meaty songs.

Buddy also earned his stripes in the playing department as well with stellar guitar work throughout.

Although a nervous performer, sometimes putting the audience on edge about whether she will remember song lyrics, for example, Miller's vocal prowess is underscored by a keen intensity. When Miller sang "you can have my heart if you don't mind broken things," you get the feeling she has lived it.

Julie also provided excellent backup vocals to her husband when he had leads.

Too bad she didn't seem to relax more on stage with a devoted crowd in attendance. You almost wondered if it was shtick with her nervousness being almost too apparent.

But ultimately it's all down to whether the music can carry the day.

And the Millers, both touring behind albums from late last year on HighTone ("Cruel Moon" for Buddy and "Broken Things" for Julie), showed that it did. Whether soft of more uptempo (the closing song of the regular set, ""Hole in My Head," which the Dixie Chicks recorded on "Fly") doesn't matter.

The Millers earned their keep and their crowd.