Universal United House of Prayer
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2004 1 Sep
- Worry Too Much
- There's a Higher Power
- Shelter Me
- With God on Our Side
- Wide River to Cross
- Fire and Water
- Don't Wait
- This Old World
- Is That You
- Fall on the Rock
Though he's only released a handful of solo albums since 1995, 51-year-old Buddy Miller is something of a legend in underground Christian and alt country circles, playing guitar for many highly regarded artists. That still holds true on
Highlights include the explosive country rock of "Don't Wait," the bluesy "Fall on the Rock," and a fusion country-gospel cover of the Louvin Brothers' "There's a Higher Power." Most of the album is original, featuring four co-written with Julie. The charming country of "This Old World" reminds us to serve and pray to our Creator, and "Is That You" reverently questions the presence of the Almighty and marvels over his amazing benevolence.
Like Miller's previous albums, this is a socially conscious gospel record, similar to what we've heard from Bob Dylan, Mark Heard, Rich Mullins, and Derek Webb over time. There are in fact covers of Heard's characteristically bold "Worry Too Much" and Dylan's "With God on Our Side," which with nine minutes of stanzas gives plenty to reflect on. But the difference in a modern context is that the songs seem more timely and relevant than ever.
Though this album is seemingly a reaction to America's war on terrorism, it's handled as a thoughtful and meaningful reproach, not the typically angry cheap shot. It also challenges us to focus on faith and prayer, things that run deeper than our patriotism, and that's something that all Christians can agree upon.