Buddy Miller Universal United House Of Prayer Product Type Compact

Track Title. 1 Worry Too Much. 2 There’s A Higher Power. 3 Shelter Me. 4 With God On Our Side. 5 Wide River To Cross. 6 Fire And Water. 7 Don’t Wait. 8 This Old World. 9 Is That You. 10 Returning To The Living Water. 11 Fall On The Rock. Changeup: Buddy Miller issues a roots gospel album as his debut for West. Miller effortlessly walks the line between the genre’s styles, all the while stamping them with his own unique Americana trademark. Miller wrote or co-wrote eight of the set’s 11 selections and employs a backing band of friends including Brady Blade, Steve Hindalong, Phil Madeira, Tammy Rogers, Byron House, Rick Plant, and (of course) Julie Miller and Emmylou Harris. But what sets it apart are the stellar talents of gospel vocalists Ann and Regina McCrary, who sing on all but two tracks. And speaking of vocals, Universal United House of Prayer is the first album that highlights Miller’s usually unsung talent: his singing. The album opens with “Worry Too Much,” one of the many fine tunes by the late songwriter Mark Heard. It’s deep in the blues gospel groove; a B-3 and Rogers’ fiddle wind around the middle of the tune, underscored by Miller’s gritty guitar licking the edges and punching the middle. Miller’s singing, buoyed by the McCrarys’ sublime chorus work, goes right to the grain in the lyric and tears at the heart of it. “Shelter Me,” written with his wife, Julie, is a deep, bluesed-out funky church song. Buddy’s voice professes and testifies his confidence in a God who holds the place of safety while imploring Him to continue, with the McCrarys carrying the refrain to the skies with their otherworldly harmonies and fills. Miller’s guitar bites down hard, gritty, and greasy in the break with a droning B-3 giving him the foundation to riff on. The cover of Bob Dylan’s historical antiwar tome “With God on Our Side” may feel, initially, like an anomaly here.

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