Buddy Miller has made a decent living as a sideman, playing guitar with Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris, and Julie Miller’s tunes have been recorded by Lee Ann Womack and the Dixie Chicks, but the couple’s most heartfelt efforts are saved for their own albums. On his new disc, Midnight and Lonesome (HighTone), Miller is at his craftsmanlike best. Like its predecessors, this album features songs written by or cowritten with Julie and mixes old-school honky-tonk (“Wild Card”), droning Celtic rockers, introspective balladry (“I Can’t Get Over You”), stomping country rock (a cover of the Everly Brothers obscurity “The Price of Love”), and bluesy soul (the Percy Mayfield classic “Please Send Me Someone to Love”). Each of his records actually bears the credit “Made by Buddy Miller,” and indeed the production and the music have a homey intimacy about them. The album’s only misstep is the final track, “Quecreek,” a heavy-handed homage to the trapped coal miners in Pennsylvania that compares their rescue to Christ rising from the dead. Julie wrote the song and they recorded it only hours after the rescue; they probably should’ve sat with it a while longer. The Millers are terrific live: their voices–Buddy’s scrappy and conversational, Julie’s girlish and light–complement each other, and their snarky banter keeps things lively when they’re not singing. Friday and Saturday, November 15 and 16, 9:30 PM, FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn; 708-788-2118.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Wilson.