Buddy Miller in his home studio with his cream-sparkle Wandre—the first example of the vintage Italian guitar brand’s work that he purchased. It cost $50 at a Colorado pawnshop.

Photo by Ted Drozdowski

The guitarist and songwriter’s odyssey has made him a living legend of Americana and a stylist of rare scope and depth, with a resume ranging from Emmylou Harris to Robert Plant. And on In the Throes, his latest collaboration with Julie Miller, his wife and longtime performing partner, Buddy enshrines her songs with his 6-string foundation and celebrates their shared life in music.

Some architects work in landscape. Others in interior or urban design. But Buddy Miller explores the architecture of sound, creating aural sculpture that is both supportive and, like I.M. Pei’s buildings, transporting. Although he learned to play in New Jersey—wound up by folk, country, and the Beatles—Miller made his bones in Austin, New York City, Los Angeles, and, ultimately, Nashville, where he is one of the city’s most respected guitarists and producers.

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Rig Rundown: Billy Strings [2023]

Bluegrass’ biggest ambassador continues expanding his sound with more pedals, more modeling, more Martins, and a dark-arts guitar. Plus, we find out whose ashes are inside his 1945 D-28.

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Porfirio, Candelario, and Manuel Delgado, from left to right, in the family’s Los Angeles shop.

Our new columnist bares his family’s roots in guitar-building, going back to 1928 and his grandfather, who made instruments for Segovia and many others.

I’ve had the honor and blessing of growing up as a luthier’s apprentice. My entire life, being around instruments and music was the norm, and creating with my hands was equally a joy as playing hide-and-seek or baseball in the street. I’ve never known a world absent of artists or craftsmanship. In fact, many of us who’ve grown up the children of immigrants have had similar experiences, from watching our mothers and grandmothers create amazing traditional meals from raw ingredients to our fathers and grandfathers building what was necessary for shelter or creature comforts. My grandfather would often remind me, “If you can’t make it with your own hands, you probably do not need it.”

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