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Buddy Miller

The Majestic Silver Strings – 2011 (New West)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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Kickstart Country Standard Time to Nashville

CDs by Buddy Miller

Buddy Miller is one of Nashville's finest guitarists. He's also a tasteful player. Therefore, while "Buddy Miller's The Majestic Silver Strings" may read like a guitar lover's dream, this is not just an excuse for Miller - along with his fellow guitar stars, Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz - to show off on said silver strings.

In fact, this album is as much about great (mostly) female singing, as it is about string bending. For instance, it's such a treat to hear Shawn Colvin dig into That's The Way Love Goes, as it gives the song the sort of female touch Merle Haggard could never provide. Lee Ann Womack appears twice (Meds, Return To Me) and Emmylou Harris is represented once (Why I'm Walkin').

The true Miller fans love his singing as much as his playing. Therefore, it's good fun to hear him yodel during Cattle Call. Miller also sings a few memorable duets. The first is with Ann McCrary on the feisty No Good Lover, which is followed by a pairing with Patty Griffin on I Want To Be With You Always. Miller also sings with his wife Julie on God's Wing'ed Horse, which closes the album. This album's strangest track is Dang Me, which features Chocolate Genius singing it. Instead of lighthearted, self-deprecating humor, Miller and his Majestic Silver String men transform the song into a dark and moody bit of self-reflection.

As good as these songs are, and as fine as this playing is, it's still not the same as hearing Miller singing a collection of new, original material. However, nearly every time Miller puts his hands to silver strings, it comes up golden. For the most part, this new album is no exception to that rule.