The Majestic Silver Strings

[New West]

Despite a long run of stellar albums as a solo artist and with his wife, Julie, Buddy Miller’s reputation as super sideman to artists like Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin and others tends to overshadow his own work. He has it both ways on his star-studded latest, enlisting top-shelf guitarists Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz for some adventurous reworking of classic country tunes. Roger Miller’s goofball hit “Dang Me” is transformed into a dark, brooding tale of dissipation with Ribot’s noisy ambient guitars and a vocal by Chocolate Genius—think Spike Jones by way of Chuck Palahniuk. The instrumental standard “Freight Train” is given a sprightly groove marked by Miller’s trademark tremolo, and Eddy Arnold’s “Cattle Call” is set against a landscape of ambient guitars. Colvin joins with Leisz’ honeyed pedal steel on Merle Haggard’s “That’s the Way Love Goes,” and Harris delivers a dreamy rendition of Stonewall Jackson’s “Why I’m Walkin.’” –BC

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