‘Breakdown on 20th Ave’ is the title of the first Buddy & Julie Miller album in a decade.
According the Miller’s label New West, “both Buddy & Julie admit that Breakdown on 20th Ave. It took longer than expected. After initially starting work following the release of Written in Chalk in 2009, Julie was waylaid by health issues she continues to battle. With time on his schedule, Buddy became more in-demand than ever as a collaborator for Robert Plant & Alison Krauss during their Raising Sand tour and producing standout albums by Plant, Solomon Burke, Richard Thompson, Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, The War & Treaty and more. He also joined T Bone Burnett on the musical team working on the hit ABC-TV series Nashville, and following Burnett’s departure, became the show’s Executive Music Producer”.
“I wrote the song ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’ as a message to Buddy, because we kept putting off making our album because he was so busy,” Julie says of the song that set the stage for Breakdown on 20th Ave. South. “In my mind I thought I was always about to get back to work with Julie, but in reality, I kept getting put off,” Buddy says. “I apologized a lot. I look back, and I realized I was neglectful. It was a mistake I wish I hadn’t made. What Julie and I create together is fulfilling to me in a way nothing else is, and I should have nurtured it more.” Julie acknowledges the tension that arose in the years between recordings. “It took me too long to communicate how I was feeling,” she said. “I felt as if I was waiting for my turn. I know he feels guilty about it. I was ill, and I was depressed, and that complicated everything. Once he realized how I felt, he was incredibly gracious and he really focused on helping me craft what I wanted to create.”
Julie wrote around 60 songs for the album.
New West tell us “Recording began with “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” in the couple’s bedroom located upstairs from Buddy’s famed home studio where Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Solomon Burke, and countless others have cut albums. Encouraged by the emotional clarity and bare-boned punch of the initial recording, they continued cutting basic tracks in the room that Julie dubbed “Studio B,” a play on the historic Nashville recording studio RCA Studio B (which isn’t far from the Miller’s home). The bedroom recordings give the album a distinct intimacy and sound built upon Julie’s expressive voice & Buddy’s harmonies and propulsive instrumentation. “After that first song, we wanted the record to be just us,” Buddy said. “The songs are all Julie’s, and she wanted the sound to be as raw as the lyrics are.”