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Buddy Miller
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Buddy Miller smiles by quarters, not even halves, his lips struggling to keep secret what his eyes constantly betray, dancing, sparkling: That he is delighted.

Delighted by very nearly everything, even by the carefully wrought solutions to vexing problems.

For years Buddy stood in the shadows, a succession of tattered baseball caps concealing his grizzled face. He favors a porkpie hat these days, not consciously an homage to John Hartford (though it fits), and enters his sixth decade no longer doubting where the spotlight should fall.

"You'll be judged by the company you keep," moms say, and maybe something of those words lingers in the air when they’ve left the room. Know Buddy, then, by the company he has kept, for he has been at the fulcrum of much of the best music to emerge from Nashville (and well beyond) since finally he and his wife, Julie, moved there in 1993, playing indispensible roles with Shawn Colvin (back in New York, before), Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, and Robert Plant. Producing or co-produced stunning albums with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Solomon Burke, Patty Griffin, Allison Moorer, and, yes, Robert Plant’s Band of Joy. Writing and co-writing songs covered by artists as disparate as the Dixie Chicks, Hank III, and Shemekia Copeland.

Not to mention his own recording career, with and without Julie. And the new show he and longtime friend, former roommate, and collaborator Jim Lauderdale have launched on SiriusXM Radio, just so they can talk about and play the music they love. Which, naturally, has evolved into an album.

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