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Broken Things


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Audio CD, August 17, 1999
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Broken Things + Blue Pony + Buddy & Julie Miller
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 17, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Shout Factory
  • ASIN: B00000JNJD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,013 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Ride The Wind To Me
2. I Know Why The River Runs
3. I Need You
4. I Still Cry
5. Out In The Rain
6. Orphan Train
7. Broken Things
8. All My Tears
9. Two Soldiers
10. Maggie
11. Strange Lover
12. The Speed Of Light

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Julie Miller's Hightone debut, Blue Pony, was a critical success based on its winning combination of Miller's superior songwriting, plaintive vocals, and husband Buddy's rockin' production. Broken Things is, if anything, a step up, with nary a weak song in the bunch and guest appearances by Patty Griffin, Victoria Williams, Emmylou Harris, and Steve Earle. Many of its charms are encapsulated in the opener, "Ride the Wind to Me": swinging, solid grooves; twangy harmonies (courtesy of hubby); and a chorus that lifts the heart while it captures the ear. Miller's voice is a study in contrasts: an unforced "little-girl" breathiness combined with a bluesy roughness around the edges. Her obvious foundation in country and mountain music and her ability to add slight twists to her lyrics make ballads like "I Still Cry" and the title song into new classics rather than exercises in "retro." Buddy's time in Harris's Spyboy band has helped him add some of the "ambient-roots" sound of Wrecking Ball to the proceedings. It is all to the good, further enhancing an emotionally resonant record. --Michael Ross

Customer Reviews

Looking forward to seeing Julie and Buddy in Atlanta soon.
Geoffrey P. Smith
Her voice is so unusual and meshes beautifully with the different background vocals, with wonderful lyrics to top it off --- I'm mesmerized.
Jennifer Allen
If so I missed it, I'd go nuts if they got to do a PBS Soundstage or something like that.
Mark T

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By T. S. Potter on December 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The only way I can think of to describe Julie Miller's voice is to tell you that, if one could eat it, it would probably taste like peanut brittle; sweet and sugary, yet with plenty of crunch. I hope that doesn't sound too silly. On each track, she sings of profoundly adult subjects with the voice of a frightened, yet determined little girl who grew up a little too quickly. It's this vulnerable little girl quality that endears her to me. She awakens the part in me that feels the need/desire to protect another.
Her melodies are among the most memorable I've ever heard. They effortlessly soar, lilt, build to a climax and soften to a timid murmur. Her emotional delivery is 100% authentic. I just can't believe that anyone could falsely manufacture a sound that raw and beautiful.
As for production, she leans toward sparce orchestrations, giving each intrument a crucial role rather than using the twinkly bits and predictible fill-ins that we've come to expect from Contemporary Country Music. That's not to say that she's a country musician. The beat patterns and the mildly distorted guitars tend more toward roots rock than toward Nashville, thank goodness. The acoustic guitar work, the acoustic guitar being the principal instrument on the verses of many of the tracks, is beautifully arranged and brilliantly complements the vocal track(s).
If you already have Lucinda Williams, Casey Chambers, Emmylou Harris, & Patty Griffin in your CD Collection, "Broken Things" is sure to be a completely safe and satisfying addition.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Terry Murphy (tsmurphy@uiuc.edu) on October 19, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This album is one of my very favorite alt.country albums, and indeed, one of my favorite albums of any genre. I'm not sure if it's better than Car Wheels, but it's at least on par.
My favorite part is Julie's voice. She has an awesome Texas accent, and her voice is innocent (I guess), but she still can sing seriously emotional and powerful songs. The vocal harmonies with Buddy are great also, and are haunting. I really, really like her voice. It is much more powerful, emotional, darker, and mystical sounding than Lucinda Williams. I cannot think of anybody in particular to compare her to -- she sounds like nobody else.
The song writing is also top-notch. A lot of the songs have really traditional foundations (such as All My Tears). It makes it have a very dark feel. It is a very dark album overall, but extremely beautiful, emotional, and insipired.
Buddy's guitar work is also top notch. The opening chords of Orphan Train and All My Tears are some of the most powerful moments on the whole disc.
I cannot recommend this album enough -- I think that it would appeal to most music lovers with an interest in Americana, rock, and/or country music. It is definitely my favorite album so far of 1999 (and I've bought a LOT of CD's this year!)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I know that most reviews on this website tend toward hyperbole, but truly, this is a fantastic collection of music by an artist who deserves to be more well known.
Julie is one of those artists that radio stations and music stores don't quite know what to do with -- which is why unless you're a particular kind of music fan you've probably never heard of her. Country? Folk? Alternative Country (whatever that means)? Pop? Rock? It has elements of all of it, fused into a sensibility that is both authentic and full of passion.
That she pulls this off without sounding like a hodge-podge of disparate influences is no mean feat. I don't know of too many singers who could sing a song like "Broken Things" -- as emotionally raw a song as I've heard in years -- without coming across as cloying and hackneyed. But she does it with a style a sense of nuance and genuine feeling that almost makes me cry every time I listen to it.
This music can make you profoundly sad and profoundly happy all at the same time -- with a myriad of other feelings in between. And if that isn't enough for you, it has the Buddy Miller stamp of approval.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "rraabfaber" on April 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD after reading an article about the Millers in No Depression Magazine. I'd heard the name for years, but thought she was just a bit of pop fluff. This CD showed me how wrong I was! Just plain great alt.country/rock/americana.I love the song 'Orphan Train'. The Millers move in a circle of the great artists of our time and you will see their names everywhere. Some great guest artists on this CD that other reviewers haven't mentioned -- Producer Phil Madeira on b3, NRBQ's Joey Smapinato on Bass, The Choir's Steve Hindalong. John Shreiner on keys an accordian. A duet with Victoria Williams. Not to mention, of course, Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle. This is not just a Julie Miller album! My only negative comment is that on a few songs, she sounds a bit too Leslie/Sam Phillips-ish. You would almost think she had a more powerful voice, but was holding her voice back for some unknown reason.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. Russell on July 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Julie Miller has actually been recording with her husband Buddy for close to 20 years. Only now is she finally receiving the credit and accolades she deserves. This is thanks in large part to the Miller's collaboration with Emmylou Harris. Julie is responsible for the beautiful song "All My Tears" featured on Emmylou's "Wrecking Ball." Julie sings it herself here, but it is only one of many amazing songs on "Broken Things."
In the past few months, Buddy and Julie have been on Austin City Limits with Emmylou, and have been featured on NPR! I'm so excited for them!
The title track of this CD is actually another reprise from many years ago, but here Julie's mature voice and Buddy's brilliant guitar work make the song really shine.
I saw Buddy and Julie in concert a few months ago and was blown away by not only their talent but by the sheer joy with which they perform this music. They were also a lot of fun to watch on stage. I commented on his "Circle of Dust" hat from the audience. They made up a song called "Circle of Dust" on the spot! And if you don't know the story behind "Strange Lover," you've got to find someone who does!
Among my favorites here are the haunting "Orphan Train" and the melodic "Ride the Wind to Me." But there are literally NO BAD CUTS on this CD.
If you love passionate female vocalists and superb country/folk instrumentation, you probably already listen to Buddy and Julie Miller. If not, you're missing something awful good!
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