Buddy and Julie Miller - In The Throes
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In The Throes (New West, 2023)

Buddy and Julie Miller

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Buddy Miller and Julie Miller, that unusual Americana power couple, don't sound like they're particularly in the kind of throes suggested by this "In The Throes" album title. There's a lot of hope – especially gospel message hope – contained on the married couple's strong album.

While Buddy Miller may now be the best-known member of the pair – for his fine guitar playing and production work – Julie Miller is also a strong songwriter, which makes every release by these two something truly special. The album begins rather strangely with one titled "You're My Thrill." It's one of those tracks where the music doesn't seem to match the lyrics. It's a minor key song about love and devotion, which gets the project off on quite the off-putting foot. However, "Niccolo," with its powerful message about the power of love, both reads and sounds just right.

With "We're Leavin'," Buddy sings an enthusiastic song about the return of Christ. Over a strummed guitar part, along with wonderful fiddle and piano, this song advises listeners not to sweat the small stuff – such as minding dirty dishes in the sink – when that leaving time finally arrives. The album then ends with a worship song, with a childlike arrangement, called "Oh Shout."

Although there are clear, God-centered songs on this one, the Millers are always consistently realists, as well. For instance, they sing about suffering with "The Painkillers Ain't Workin'" over a cooly psychedelic Buddy Miller electric guitar riff. But even a farewell to the dearly departed, which is "The Last Bridge You Will Cross," speaks of heavenly reward on the other side.

Expect Buddy & Julie Miller's "In The Throes" to leave you in an especially good mindset.

CDs by Buddy and Julie Miller

In The Throes, 2023 Breakdown on 20th Ave. South, 2019 Written in Chalk, 2009

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