Universal United House of Prayer finds Buddy Miller's feet planted firmly in the territory that the roots-country musician staked out over the course of five previous records. Again Buddy effortlessly blends a dozen American styles & idioms, again he evokes the mongrel force that breathed life into America's best mid-century pop & folk music.
Whether recording under his own name, collaborating with wife Julie
, or contributing guitar work for a range of other artists, Buddy Miller has always put forth a resonant, earthy, even spiritual bearing. So it seems only natural that Miller would turn his focus to the gospel tradition. The songs here celebrate the innate goodness in even the most lost and perplexed among us, keeping sights on the unblinking light of hope at the end of the tunnel. This is still a rootsy affair, though the set is imbued with the social concerns that unite us all. Nondenominational in terms of religious affiliation, this album uses our common language of honest singing and playing, soulful grooves, and top-flight songs to make its points. --David Greenberger