Ho hum, another great Millers show
Johnny D's, Somerville, Mass., Jan. 5, 2002
By Jeffrey B. Remz
SOMERVILLE, MA. - Life's been good for Buddy and Julie Miller. Lots of praise for last fall's duet album. Of course, Buddy has garnered near icon status for his guitar playing and has not done too shabby on the songwriting circuit either.
Oh yes. They also scored a Grammy nomination in the best contemporary folk recording category the day before the show with their self-titled disc. Now they find themselves going up against the likes of Dylan and Lucinda Williams.
So, it should have come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that their show before a sold-out crowd of 300 with more unable to get in was one stellar evening.
For starters is the singing offered by each. They can sing well on their own taking the lead, but they sound great when they do harmonies together.
Of course, having a slew of fine songs doesn't hurt. No wonder Lee Ann Womack cut "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?" (her current single) and the Dixie Chicks recorded "Hole in My Head." Julie turned in a few performance on "Bury Me." Buddy's guitar playing is about second to none. He gets a great twangy, country sound out of whatever guitar he happens to be playing at the moment. He is not a showy guitarist. He's agile and quick, but speed isn't what makes him great. He simply infuses the songs with the right sound - whether a harder-edge is needed or something softer.
Also in the instrumental categoory, it should be noted that Gurf Morlix was filling on bass for a few dates while the regular drummer celebrated becoming a daddy that very same day. Morlix is obviously no slouch. Drummer Bryan Owings, who has done time with the Amazing Rhythm Aces, anchored the skins, doing a fine job back there.
What may have made this a better show than their last visit to the Boston area in May was the ability of Julie to exercise self-control when it came to talking. She still may be come off as a space cadet, but aside from talking about a visit to Johns Hopkins University a few days before for light headedness (the doctor suggested taking marijuana pills, causing someone in the audience to ask for the doctor's name), she kept her comments in check.
It well may be difficult for the MIllers to score a Grammy win next month. But no matter. They make real fine music.