In Nashville, The Buddy System

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Buddy Miller is so low-profile that when he made a cameo appearance in a recent episode of "Nashville," it caused more head-scratching than toe-tapping. He remains a stranger to the best-selling music charts.

Yet he has lived and made music in the town that the show pays homage to for years. And his imprint in country and roots music—as an artist, songwriter, guitarist, band leader and producer—is growing all the time, even as he recovered from an onstage heart attack and turned 60 years old.

Lately, he's been supervising recordings by the stars of the ABC TV show, and is the producer of the hit "The Music of Nashville" soundtrack album, working with longtime friend T Bone Burnett.

Mr. Miller and singer-songwriter Julie Miller married in 1981 and have lived in Nashville for 20 years. His songs have been recorded by the Dixie Chicks and Lee Ann Womack. He's also toured and recorded with many leading artists from country's alternative side, including Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Gillian Welch, Allison Kraus and Robert Plant.