Best Americana Album

Written in Chalk by Buddy and Julie Miller

Sometimes awards programs do get it right: Recent Album of the Year winners from the Americana Music Association, the Millers represent the Americana dream not by recreating roots music, but by drawing on several of its tributaries to create something distinctively their own. Miller's soul-deep voice and guitar paired with his wife's urgent rocking voice and the fragile beauty of her ballads continue to set a standard for modern music that ignores genres in search of a sound of its own. Meanwhile, covering Leon Payne's great "The Selfishness of Man"—likely learned from an old George Jones album— proves that reviving the past has its place in the right context. MICHAEL McCALL
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