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Frankie Miller

The Family Man – 2006 (Heart of Texas)

Reviewed by Don Armstrong

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CDs by Frankie Miller

Frankie Miller was the hot young stud about 4 1/2 decades ago, being named most promising male artist by Cashbox. If, 45 years later, he's no Cowboy Troy, no country music innovator, he's well-aware of who he is and knows his way around the established parameters. George Jones was already a star when Miller came along, and Miller, 74, still holds The Possum in high esteem. He refers to his forebear repeatedly and affectionately on his new CD and also to Roy Acuff, Hank Thompson and other legends.

One almost expects the classic honky tonk arrangements, and Bobby Flores' stark fiddle, to introduce a Buck Owens vocal. Instead, Miller duets, to good effect, with Leona Williams on "Two Lips Away." If he lacks Jones' supple voice, he nonetheless conveys honesty on songs like "Old Side of Town" and "I Flew Over Our House" and somehow manages a fresh reading of the Carter Family chestnut "Keep on the Sunny Side." He's less successful on "Pickin' Time" by Carter Family kin Johnny Cash.

Miller maintains an easy ambience throughout, seguing into humor on "Don't You Dare Tell Ruby Where I'm At" and one out of his own catalogue, "Too Hot to Handle." (1701 S. Bridge, Brady, TX 76825, 325-597-1895, Hillbilly Hits)