THROUGH THE LENS: Buddy and Julie Miller, Mindi Abair, Emily Duff, and Other Roots Music Releases
Buddy & Julie Miller - Mountain Stage - Photo by Brian Blauser
One of the reasons I began this musical journey many years ago, many publications ago, is to highlight some music that might otherwise get overlooked, lost in the shuffle. Save for the monster of an album that leads off this column, the others, some released last month and the remainder in the next couple of weeks, might not get their due. While not full reviews, I hope each is given just enough space to warrant you checking them out more thoroughly.
Buddy and Julie Miller – Breakdown on 20th Ave. South (June 21)
Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers – No Good Deed (June 28)
Emily Duff – Hallelujah Hello
Aldous Harding – Designer
Willard Gayheart & Friends – At Home in the Blue Ridge
Barnaby Bright – Barnaby Bright (June 21)
With so many duos in our midst, it can be difficult to stand out from the pack. Nathan and Becky Bliss, like so many troubadours, have spent years on the road, making an outstanding, if a bit neglected by the music press, series of albums. On this album they use their folk-acoustic underpinnings and lace them together with a pop attitude, selective electronics, and a banjo from time to time. These sensibilities come together, with a hip-hop interlude, in the compelling “This Is Life,” about the struggles of U.S. service members, both during their tours of duty and dealing with what they’ve seen after returning home.
The album, however, is not a downer. It’s full of contemplative melodies and flights that reminded me at times of Fleetwood Mac, without the strife, especially “Flight or Fight” and “Go.” Between these two tracks is my fave, “The Girl Inside My Head,” with a Lennon-like melody, perhaps even a Lennon-like demon, looking at the woman who could have been, and the one that is, wrapped in an Appalachian ballad. It’s the jewel of a beautiful album.