Soulful Americana songwriter, singer, and producer Buddy Miller began his career in the early '60s as an upright bassist in high school bluegrass combos. Later, he traveled the back roads of America as an acoustic guitarist, eventually landing in New York City, where his Buddy Miller Band included a young Shawn Colvin on vocals and guitar. He also forged an enduring relationship with country-rock iconoclast Jim Lauderdale. Miller eventually landed in Nashville, where he did session guitar and vocal work on albums by Lauderdale, Victoria Williams, and Heather Myles, among others. He self-produced his criminally overlooked solo debut, Your Love and Other Lies (Hightone, 1995), and followed it with 1997's equally superb Poison Love.
By this point Miller was the lead guitarist in Emmylou Harris' band, and Harris returned the favor with backing vocals throughout Poison Love. Released in 1999, Cruel Moon continued Miller's string of home-recorded masterpieces; this time around, Steve Earle dropped by for the sessions. A big part of all Miller's recordings was the songwriting and harmonies of his wife, Julie Miller. The 2001 duet album Buddy & Julie Miller brought her contributions to the front of the mix and delivered them with gritty, soulful country arrangements enhanced by the interplay of his scowl and her lilt, while 2002 saw the release of his fifth album for Hightone, Midnight and Lonesome. It again featured contributions from Julie, Harris, and Lauderdale, and mixed honky tonk with heartfelt balladry and the occasional soul cover. In 2004 Miller released the roots gospel album Universal United House of Prayer for New West, followed by Written in Chalk in 2009.