Written in Chalk

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Buddy and Julie Miller have been making records separately for over 20 years. During that time, however, despite playing on one another's recordings, this is only the second one they've made collaboratively. Written in Chalk is steeped in American music tradition. Whether it's country, blues, boozy swing, or rock, this husband-and-wife duo lays it all down with authenticity, great humor, and honest emotion. They recorded the set at their home studio in Nashville, with help from old friends like Brady Blade, Matt Rollings, Chris Donohue, John Deaderick, Jay Bellerose, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, and the McCrary Sisters, as well as some new ones, including Larry Campbell ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Buddy and Julie Miller have been making records separately for over 20 years. During that time, however, despite playing on one another's recordings, this is only the second one they've made collaboratively. Written in Chalk is steeped in American music tradition. Whether it's country, blues, boozy swing, or rock, this husband-and-wife duo lays it all down with authenticity, great humor, and honest emotion. They recorded the set at their home studio in Nashville, with help from old friends like Brady Blade, Matt Rollings, Chris Donohue, John Deaderick, Jay Bellerose, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, and the McCrary Sisters, as well as some new ones, including Larry Campbell and Robert Plant. Julie wrote eight of these dozen songs. They are among the most sophisticated and emotionally resonant of her career -- and that's saying plenty. The album opener is the devastatingly beautiful reminiscence "Ellis County," with Buddy's lead vocal looking back to ."..when all we could afford was laughter/And two mules instead of a tractor...where there was nothing left to throw out/When there was a light that wouldn't go out...." With Campbell's fiddle adding the high lonesome of Appalachia in the track, one can imagine Levon Helm singing this song, but it's so much more effective with Buddy and Julie. Julie Miller also writes about heartbreak in a singular way. She avoids clich├ęs and, when singing her own songs, doesn't need to over-emote because the truth of them lies in her lyrics and soft expression. Instead, she inhabits her lyrics fully, and one can feel the weight in them as they come up from the depths of the pierced heart of her protagonists and resonate in the mournful grain of her voice. Julie helps out on two such songs, "Don't Say Goodbye," the single most devastating song on the record, and the resigned loneliness of "Chalk." In her song "Long Time," Julie's blues-drenched vocal brings to mind a young Rickie Lee Jones, but without the sass and swagger. For Julie Miller, these lyrics and her melody carry all the power they need; her delivery allows them to assert themselves -- and they do authoritatively. The smoky, boozy trumpet solo by Kami Lyle is another highlight. The pair wrote "Gasoline and Matches," which offers an honest and humorous view of a mismatched couple who nonetheless find themselves knitted inseparably together. The evocation of taut finger-popping jump jazz and blues suggests the loungey early stylings of Tom Waits, but the guitaristry belongs to Buddy alone. Plant duets with Buddy on a gritty, slithering bluesy version of Mel Tillis' "What You Gonna Do Leroy." His rootsy vocal is in perfect keeping with Gurf Morlix's lap steel and Stuart Duncan's fiddle. The closing track on this set is another cover, but this time its spiritual resonance is profound. Julie sings both background and harmony vocals with Buddy on Leon Payne's underappreciated classic "The Selfishness in Man," to send the recording off as a haunted reflection on sin. Written in Chalk is a welcome return by one of American music's great -- if under-recognized -- duos. Buddy Miller's production and guitar work have been well documented on recordings and in the critical vernacular, as have Julie Miller's songs. But together, they are an unbeatable combination and this album is the indisputable proof. Roots music is alive and well, and is being served up red hot here.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/3/2009
  • Label: New West Records
  • UPC: 607396615827
  • Catalog Number: 6158
  • Sales rank: 104,208

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Ellis County (3:51)
  2. 2 Gasoline and Matches (3:14)
  3. 3 Don't Say Goodbye - Buddy & Julie Miller (5:10)
  4. 4 What You Gonna Do Leroy - Buddy & Julie Miller (3:45)
  5. 5 Long Time (4:13)
  6. 6 One Part, Two Part - Regina McCrary (3:43)
  7. 7 Chalk - Buddy & Julie Miller (3:40)
  8. 8 Everytime We Say Goodbye (4:34)
  9. 9 Hush, Sorrow - Regina McCrary (4:02)
  10. 10 Memphis Jane (6:16)
  11. 11 June (4:15)
  12. 12 The Selfishness in Man - Buddy & Julie Miller (4:20)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Julie Miller Primary Artist, Vocals, Background Vocals, Track Performer
Buddy Miller Indexed Contributor, Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals, Track Performer
Emmylou Harris Vocals, Background Vocals
Robert Plant Vocals
Matt Rollings Piano
Larry Campbell Fiddle, Mandolin, Violin
Dennis Crouch Bass
Stuart Duncan Fiddle
Patty Griffin Vocals, Background Vocals
Byron House Bass
Gurf Morlix Lap Steel Guitar
Ann McCrary Vocals, Background Vocals
Russ Pahl Pedal Steel Guitar, Steel Guitar
Jay Bellerose Drums
Chris Donohue Bass
Rev. Brady Blade Drums
Kami Lyle Trumpet
Bryan Owings Drums
John Deaderick Piano, Keyboards
Regina McCrary Vocals, Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Mel Tillis Composer
Dee Ervin Composer
Leon Payne Composer
Julie Miller Songwriter, Composer, Co-Leader
Buddy Miller Composer, Producer, Engineer, Co-Leader
Kathi Whitley Management
Ken Levitan Management
Grant Alden Liner Notes
Craig Ross Vocal Engineer
Paul Moore Art Direction
Brian Kershisnik Paintings
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Strong and Classy Outing by Musical Couple

    These are two artists that I have followed for awhile, but it's only recently that I've learned things about them. I saw Buddy back-up Emmylou Harris here in Connecticut a few months ago. I consider Buddy and Julie to be "left of center" country singers and I found this CD to be well recorded. The overall impression is one of versatlity and the vocals were quite passionate. Occasionally, I heard some weak song lyrics, but generally the material is good, as well as the arranging and instrumental work. I heard Buddy recently had some health problems. I hope he gets well soon and is able to build on the momentum of this fine recording.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    It was great

    Loved it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews