Universal United House of Prayer

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/21/2004
  • Label: New West Records
  • UPC: 607396606320
  • Catalog Number: 6063
  • Sales rank: 64,895

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Worry Too Much (4:48)
  2. 2 There's a Higher Power (3:53)
  3. 3 Shelter Me (3:14)
  4. 4 With God on Your Side (9:14)
  5. 5 Wide River to Cross (3:03)
  6. 6 Fire and Water (4:02)
  7. 7 Don't Wait (4:37)
  8. 8 This Old World (2:59)
  9. 9 Is That You (4:52)
  10. 10 Returning (4:55)
  11. 11 Fall on the Rock (5:02)
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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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