Album Review | COUNTRY

Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, ‘Buddy and Jim’

Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have an enduring relationship that began early in their respective musical careers. But while they’ve worked, written, and played together over the years, this is the first time they have made an album with both their names on the cover. “Buddy and Jim” is meant to be first and foremost a duets record, and that’s what separates it from the music the two make on their own. Moreover, it’s a country duets record, perhaps inspired by the history of such acts as Johnny and Jack, whose rhumba-beat “South in New Orleans” is given a fine, Cajun-spiced rendition here. The pair put their pens together for several songs, while reaching back for some unexpected chestnuts (Jimmy McCracklin’s “The Wobble” — who’d a thunk it?) and recovering a couple of their own songs as well (including “Forever and a Day,” a Lauderdale song previously heard only on Gary Allan’s 1996 debut). Sometimes things sound more Jimmy (“I Lost My Job of Loving You”), sometimes more Buddy (“It Hurts Me,” a searing ballad written by Miller’s wife, Julie), but as with every good duets record, their combined voices have produced something greater than the sum of its parts. (Out now)STUART MUNRO