Release Date: Mar 1, 2011
Record label: New West
Genre(s): Country, Folk, Blues, Americana, Gospel, Religious, Progressive Country, Country Gospel, Blues Gospel
Buddy Miller records as a frontman sparingly -- the last time was in 2009 with wife Julie Miller on the stellar Written in Chalk. He does far more performing and producing, the latter including Patty Griffin's Downtown Church and Robert Plant's Band of Joy offerings. For The Majestic Silver Strings, Miller recruited guitarists Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, and Greg Leisz to join him on a program of classic country songs and a couple of originals.
Buddy Miller is a Nashville-based country musician who transcends “country” so brilliantly that he makes genre distinctions wholly beside the point. As backing guitarist, singer, and producer for the likes of Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Solomon Burke, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and (his wife) Julie Miller, Buddy Miller is the world’s most sympathetic accompanist and arranger, genre be damned, a singing partner both gritty and elegant, with the guts and grit to make a beautiful singer tarnished just enough. As an artist on his own, Miller mixes gutsy roots-rock with country and folk and gospel such that the result is both brilliantly crafted and genuine.
It would be incredibly difficult—if not downright impossible—to corral four guitar players more dexterous than Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Greg Leisz and Buddy Miller. Individually, these session musicians and solo artists tend to improve any song they play on, and their combined résumé represents a wide swathe of Americana: Steve Earle, Tom Waits, Vic Chesnutt, Madeleine Peyroux, Sam Phillips and John Zorn, among too many others to count, let alone name. When Miller gathered them together under the moniker the Majestic Silver Strings, the results promised to be extraordinary, a Rosetta Stone for guitar enthusiasts and country fans alike.
Buddy MillerBuddy Miller’s Majestic Silver StringsNew West Records[Rating: 4 stars} Buddy Miller is certainly on a roll these days. From his work with Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle, to being the man who assembled the current band for Robert Plant’s Band of Joy album and tour, Miller is becoming known as a go-to guy for all things Americana, however broad the definition of Americana is. So Miller called in three other ace pickers to be part of Buddy Miller’s Majestic Silver Strings, a project featuring both traditional and outside arrangements of mostly classic country songs.
Buddy Miller can do no wrong. Just ask Robert Plant, Patty Griffin, and Emmylou Harris. Although this collection of classic country sprinkled with a couple of originals features an extraordinarily talented assemblage of musical collaborators, it never coalesces into anything above average. Besides Miller, the Majestic Silver Strings are Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, and Greg Leisz, top of the heap guitarists whose combined résumés swing from Tom Waits and John Zorn to Steve Earle and Vic Chesnutt.