Albums From Buddy Miller And Jim Lauderdale, And The Max Johnson Trio

Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale are longtime pals and longtime pros, songwriters who have collaborated far and wide in the realm of handmade, twangy, tradition-conscious country and roots-rock: Nashville’s Americana wing. Mr. Miller, 60, is a first-rank guitarist and a producer for singers including Emmylou Harris and Robert Plant. Mr. Lauderdale, 55, is primarily a singer and songwriter who has written hits for George Strait and the Dixie Chicks and made albums with the venerable Ralph Stanley and the Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Mr. Lauderdale is the longtime host for the Americana Music Awards, where Mr. Miller leads the house band. They host an “outlaw country” satellite radio program, “The Buddy and Jim Show,” and finally got around to making a duet album, “Buddy and Jim.”

They took the duet mandate seriously. “Buddy and Jim” puts two-part harmony singing at its core; through the album, in verses and choruses, Mr. Miller and Mr. Lauderdale rarely sing alone. Looking back to the Louvin Brothers and the Everly Brothers, as well as to Sam and Dave, they share close-harmony, near-parallel lines that dovetail the grain in their voices. It’s a genial male-bonding album, conscious of history but also relaxed; it’s far less metaphysical than the albums Mr. Miller makes with his wife, Julie Miller. She wrote two songs with the duo and lent them one of her own: the album’s standout, “It Hurts Me,” an old-fashioned country waltz about love gone cold.