The War and Treaty, "Healing Tide" (Strong World/Thirty Tigers)
Along with his considerable talents as a guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, bandleader and radio host, Buddy Miller is an excellent talent scout. In the case of the War and Treaty, Miller gave his stamp of approval — and a helping hand — to an act beyond his usual Nashville orbit.
Good call, Buddy, as always. Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trotter, the pride of Albion, Michigan, are husband and wife and a powerhouse R&B duo who sound as though they were born to sing together.
Their full-length album debut, "Healing Tide," is Americana in that it's rooted in the nation's pews, fields and street corners, all sweat and spirit and soul. Miller produced and captured the magic of the live performances that have caused such a buzz about the couple. The material draws from Sly Stone's family but also the Carter Family, thanks to varied arrangements that include Dobro, banjo and autoharp.
Trotter, a wounded warrior who served in Iraq and once composed songs to honor fallen comrades, wrote all 11 tunes with a focus on the glory of love. He and Tanya have huge voices, and while some of the most moving moments come when they dial back the volume, mostly they swing and soar, whoop and wail, testify and sanctify, often in tandem.
Showboating? A little. Showstopping? Yes.