The Majestic Silver Strings, Buddy Miller's consortium of esteemed guitarists Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz, opened and closed their 2011 "world tour" in one night, performing Thursday (Mar. 10) at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. The recording project alone required the musicians to book five days of studio time a full year in advance, the result being a CD-DVD package that New West released March 8.
Miller said the plan for the recording was to do mostly instrumentals of old country songs, but the singers these guitarists are working with - Emmylou Harris, Julie Miller, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Ann McCrary - asked to be involved as well. "They all auditioned," Leisz joked. "It was Buddy's version of 'American Idol.'"
Performances beyond the Grammy Museum stop, if they occur, will be in 2012. Miller resumes touring with Robert Plant on April 8; Frisell is touring almost non-stop from April through August; Ribot has a European tour in April and his usual assortment of special events in New York. Leisz is one of Los Angeles' most active studio musicians and a member of k.d. lang's band.
At the Grammy Museum, where Victoria Williams and Marc Anthony Thompson provided guest vocals, the quartet indicated they bring in more genres if a second edition is created. Besides Miller's "Poison Love," the only other tune performed that does not appear on the album was Roosevelt Jamison's "That's How Strong My Love Is," a song introduced by R&B great Otis Redding.