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Robbie Fulks' exact words are long lost to the recycling bin, but in a New York Times profile of Fulks a couple of years ago, the alt-country performer called Buddy Miller (pictured above with Julie Miller) the best country singer working today. I've never been one to argue with Fulks: Just last week, I made Miller (whose Midnight and Lonesome hit record stores last month) my choice as Best Male Vocalist in this year's Country Music magazine poll. As a guitar player, he has the type of versatility that enables him to offer both subtle sideman support and Richard Thompson-like astonishments. On Nov. 23 Miller's big voice, featuring soulfulness and twang in perfect proportion, will fill the Cat's Cradle.

Be sure to arrive on time for Peter Case's opening set. In his 25-years-and-still-going-strong career, Case has gone from teenage busker to top-shelf pop-rocker with the Nerves and Plimsouls to a prime candidate for Americana poster guy, thanks to his deft blending of rock, blues, folk, and country. He's also an especially sharp writer, with wit and an eye for the finely detailed vignette. The list of artists whose songs Case has covered over the years (Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Shane MacGowan, Sleepy John Estes) is telling, as are the names of the musicians with whom he's cowritten (Dave Alvin, Tom Russell, and John Prine) and that have recorded his songs (Alejandro Escovedo, Marshall Crenshaw). --Rick Cornell

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