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The breathless lives of Buddy & Julie Miller

By Jon Weisberger, October 2001

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"'Rock Salt And Nails' is one I've known forever. I probably got it from Flatt & Scruggs (who first recorded the song in 1965), it's been that long. At that point in time, in the late 1960's, I was playing bluegrass. I wasn't good enough to be the guitar player, but I'd play upright bass or sing some harmony and I learned a lot from just hanging around.

"Julie and I have been doing it for 20 or 25 years, on and off - since we've been playing together. We'd do it in our shows as encores or whatever, and it's just something we like singing together, so it was a pretty natural thing. I think her harmonies are just incredible.

"I've got a huge list of songs that I'd love to record, but at this point we've been having good luck with having songs recorded by other people probably a dozen so it's good for us to do that, concentrate on our songs."

"But I've always been a huge songwriter fan a Don Gibson fan, a Leon Payne fan, a Dan Penn fan from both the r&b side and the country side. I remember when I bought the Johnny & Jack record that had 'Poison Love' (the title track of his 1997 solo album). I was playing on the streets in San Francisco in 1970, somebody put a $20 bill in my pocket, and I just went out and bought that record. We were playing out on the street to get money for food because basically we were broke, but I went out and bought the Johnny & Jack record. I still have it, and that's still some of my favorite music in the world."

"So, I could do a bunch of records of just my favorite cover songs. But I've been happy with the writing thing, too, and I think some of the songs have been really good, so I want to keep that up, too."

As for the future, Miller says the couple will still be balancing the demands of touring with work at home.

"I'd like to do more producing and engineering here because I like working with people, but I just don't have a whole lot of time," he says wistfully. "I think we're going to try to get a few months just to work on our own music, we haven't had time to do that. We've got a stockpile of songs that we need to demo up and record that are good for some record somewhere."

Still, finding the time will be tough, because Buddy and Julie are also hitting the road once again.

"Emmylou has been very kind to us," he notes, "and over the past couple of years, we've probably opened a hundred shows for her. I just finished a complete tour of Australia with me and Kasey Chambers opening, and then we did another 20 dates through the States after that, and that was just over this last few months."

"So, I've opened a lot of dates, and then Julie and I have, and then, when Emmylou's not working, we have gone out and toured a fair amount. I'd like to stay at home. They say with this new record, we're starting a new tour, we're playing the Bottom Line on New Year's Eve, and that's going to kick off a tour of the Northeast, and we've got some dates to work in the meantime around the country, too. So, we're keeping busy."

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