Buddy and Jim

[New West]

The two brightest stars in Americana have found success with solo albums and written gems for giants like George Strait and the Dixie Chicks. They’ve also scored with collaborative efforts: Miller has played with Emmylou Harris and Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, while Lauderdale has recorded with Ralph Stanley and toured with Elvis Costello. This team-up album has been a long time coming. Comprising bona fide classics and originals that sound like they could be, Buddy and Jim is a freewheeling record, and the underlying grit makes it feel like the best living room jam session ever. Miller and Lauderdale draw from such close-singing ’50s country duos as Johnnie and Jack, represented here with a playful cover of “South in New Orleans,” complete with Cajun fiddle. “It Hurts Me” is an unflinching look at heartbreak, while toe-tapper “Looking for a Heartache Like You” features one of Lauderdale’s charmingly off-kilter lyrics: “You rocked me on down to the feet of my pajamas.” –Juli Thanki

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