Buddy and Jim
New West Records

With a recording schedule of three entire days, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale could have gotten away with recording any of a number of tunes they’d already written or co-written. But for their first album of duets, they created several new ones — and chose others that deliver exactly the kind of charms you’d expect from two of the most versatile artists in the Americana realm. “That’s Not Even Why I Love You,” on which Miller’s wife, Julie, contributed, is a standout; Miller and Lauderdale gently wrap their voices around this gorgeous melody, and one can almost visualize Buddy singing these loving lyrics to Julie in their comfy home studio. “Looking for a Heartache Like You,” their other three-way collaboration, just exudes cool. Julie’s solo composition, the ballad “It Hurts Me,” provides a wonderful harmony workout — Buddy goes low while Jim hangs the high notes. It’s a perfect blend. “I Lost My Job of Loving You” takes a snaky, low-register tone; “The Train that Carried My Gal from Town” mixes sassy electric riffs with Stuart Duncan’s lonely-locomotive fiddle. “Forever and a Day” is Everly-sweet, and “I Want to Do Everything for You” sounds downright sexy. Then they go all Elvis-like on the closing “The Wobble,” a retro-raveup with Patterson Barrett tickling those vintage keyboards. Hey guys, don’t wait too long for the followup, huh? — LYNNE MARGOLIS

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