Buddy Miller is a woefully unsung songwriter, singer, guitarist, producer, and master of the small home studio, and his sparse, direct, and no-frills approach to country and roots music gives his best work a timeless authenticity that is unfortunately missing in a lot of what passes for country music on the contemporary airwaves in the 21st century. This two-disc set combines Miller's first two albums for Hightone Records, 1995's Your Love and Other Lies
and 1997's Poison Love
, both of which are excellent outings that fit together seamlessly with each other, one blending into the other, maybe because both were recorded largely in Miller's living room. Things don't sound lesser for that, though, and these tracks are well recorded, with a warm, dusty, but still very clear sound. Highlights on Your Love
include a wonderful cover of the Louvin Brothers
' "You're Running Wild," helped to shine by vocal harmonies from his wife Julie Miller
, who also wrote one of the best songs on the album, the beautiful and haunting "Don't Listen to the Wind." Among Poison Love
's highlights are two songs the couple co-wrote, "Draggin' the River" and "Lonesome for You" ("I'm not lonely, I'm just lonesome for you" goes the song's chorus, a brilliant piece of melodic and lyrical simplicity). Miller may have no interest in the hats, glitter, and flash of contemporary Nashville, and that's no doubt a good thing, but it's also the reason this superb singer and guitarist is so little known outside of musician circles. He should be.