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Universal United House of Prayer
     

Universal United House of Prayer

by Buddy Miller
 
Changeup: Buddy Miller issues a roots gospel album as his debut for New West. Miller effortlessly walks the line between the genre's styles, all the while stamping them with his own unique Americana trademark. Miller wrote or co-wrote eight of the set's 11 selections and employs a backing band of friends including Brady Blade,

Overview

Changeup: Buddy Miller issues a roots gospel album as his debut for New West. Miller effortlessly walks the line between the genre's styles, all the while stamping them with his own unique Americana trademark. Miller wrote or co-wrote eight of the set's 11 selections and employs a backing band of friends including Brady Blade, Steve Hindalong, Phil Madeira, Tammy Rogers, Byron House, Rick Plant, and (of course) Julie Miller and Emmylou Harris. But what sets it apart are the stellar talents of gospel vocalists Ann and Regina McCrary, who sing on all but two tracks. And speaking of vocals, Universal United House of Prayer is the first album that highlights Miller's usually unsung talent: his singing. The album opens with "Worry Too Much," one of the many fine tunes by the late songwriter Mark Heard. It's deep in the blues gospel groove; a B-3 and Rogers' fiddle wind around the middle of the tune, underscored by Miller's gritty guitar licking the edges and punching the middle. Miller's singing, buoyed by the McCrarys' sublime chorus work, goes right to the grain in the lyric and tears at the heart of it. "Shelter Me," written with his wife, Julie, is a deep, bluesed-out funky church song. Buddy's voice professes and testifies his confidence in a God who holds the place of safety while imploring Him to continue, with the McCrarys carrying the refrain to the skies with their otherworldly harmonies and fills. Miller's guitar bites down hard, gritty, and greasy in the break with a droning B-3 giving him the foundation to riff on. The cover of Bob Dylan's historical antiwar tome "With God on Our Side" may feel, initially, like an anomaly here. But the sheer beauty and bewilderment in Miller's reading makes it a spiritual of a different kind. The hillbilly gospel of the Louvin Brothers is also represented by a fine version of "There's a Higher Power." The folksy country of "Fire and Water" and "Wide River to Cross," both written with Julie, simply and profoundly offer the poetic, stark, and harsh realities of life as they are transcended with hope and healing. In each case, the sheer simplicity in the presentation (the latter with Harris) is dignified, restrained, and utterly genuine. The rollicking country blues stomp of "Don't Wait" (written with Jim Lauderdale) brings the raw snarl of Saturday night regret as it gives way to Sunday morning redemption. The set closes Julie Miller's testifyin' "Fall on the Rock," an unabashed exhortation to Christian salvation that rocks, rolls, struts, and swaggers with crackling energy, passion, and pathos. Universal United House of Prayer feels like it's the record Buddy's been waiting to make his entire career, and as such it is his finest moment.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/21/2004
Label:
New West Records
UPC:
0607396606320
catalogNumber:
6063
Rank:
110478

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Buddy Miller   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals,Musician
Emmylou Harris   Vocals
Jim Lauderdale   Vocals
Phil Madeira   Accordion,Hammond Organ,Lap Steel Guitar,Musician,Hammond B3
Julie Miller   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Musician
Glen Edwards   Telephone Voice
Steve Hindalong   Percussion,Drums,Musician
Byron House   Bass,Bass Guitar,Musician
Ann McCrary   Vocals
Alison Prestwood   Bass,Bass Guitar,Musician
Tammy Rogers   Fiddle,Musician
Rev. Brady Blade   Drums,Psaltery,Musician
Bryan Owings   Drums,Musician
Rick Plant   Banjo,Bass,Bass Guitar,Musician
Regina McCrary   Vocals

Technical Credits

Jim Lauderdale   Composer
Mark Heard   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Victoria Williams   Composer
Julie Miller   Composer
Ira Louvin   Composer
Charlie Louvin   Composer
Buddy Miller   Composer,Contributor,Audio Production

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