Julie Miller

Broken Things

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Long-championed by neo-Nashville insiders, Julie Miller's second album includes 11 originals (plus the traditional "Two Soldiers"), some of which she sings with her husband and producer Buddy Miller in harmony; on others she's joined by stellar guests. Patty Griffin sits in to help sing the beauteous ballad "I Still Cry"; Victoria Williams (she and Miller have similar styles) lends her voice to the folk dirge "Orphan Train"; and Steve Earle adds just the right twist to the cocaine blues "Strange Lover." Emmylou Harris chimes in for the requiem "Broken Things," while bassist Joey Spampinato gives a pro's subtle touch to the gentle "I Know Why the River Runs." Famous friends, yes, but Miller's associations are clearly based on the mutual admiration she deserves for her exceptional songcraft, from her sense of melody to the superb, emotional content she brings to each vocal breath, particularly on the final track, "The Speed of Light," on which she stands alone, almost, as Buddy adds harmonium.

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