"Take me back," plead husband and wife Buddy and Julie Miller on "Ellis County," the lead track of their superb new album. The Millers' nostalgia is audible in their blues progressions and Appalachian—flavored twang. But these alternative—country heroes steer clear of the complacency that afflicts their genre, electrocharging their music with the heat and heart of conjugal passion, and, at spots, with a rock & roll stomp that puts many a vaunted garage band to shame. Robert Plant and other guests chip in, but the real star is Buddy, who brings a poet's knack for fresh imagery to songs of spiritual thirst and romantic strife. "If all our heartaches were in a stack," he sings,"they'd go all the way up to heaven and back."