Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale at Lincoln Hall | Concert preview
Two behind-the-scenes singer-songwriters take center stage.
For decades Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have been two of Nashville’s most reliable go-tos, a pair of unsung Music City heroes renowned for their behind-the-scenes reputations as songwriters and sidemen as much as they are for their respective track records as stellar singer-songwriters. Needless to say, they’ve crossed paths plenty of times; the two even host a satellite radio program called The Buddy & Jim Show.
Somehow, though, the simply but aptly named Buddy and Jim marks their first album-length collaboration. Fortunately, the disc sounds like just what one would expect from these old friends. It’s a no-muss collection of duets that captures a vintage vibe and showcases their effortless prowess as singers and songwriters and, in the case of Miller, as an excellent guitar player whose modesty can’t disguise his casual virtuosity.
At its best, as on Lauderdale’s rollicking rhumba “Vampire Girl” or the rhythmically related standby “South in New Orleans,” it’s a blast. And in re-recordings of the Miller gem “Looking for a Heartache Like You” (penned by Miller, wife Julie and Lauderdale) and Joe Tex’s “I Want to Do Everything for You,” the pair prove once again that the right performers make it sound as if you’re hearing a song for the first time. Yet for all its pleasures, the album serves mostly as a short and sweet tease for this show, where Miller and Lauderdale are guaranteed to tear it up like two who have nothing to prove.