Thursday Open Thread: Bring Back the Superstar Duet Albums!

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

This Robert Plant & Alison Krauss collaboration left successful behind a while ago and is entering full-blown phenomenon territory:

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand is one of 12 albums nominated for the Mercury Prize, the annual award determined by a panel of judges in the British music industry. The winner will be announced on Sept. 9. Other nominees for the prestigious honor include Adele, British Sea Power, Burial, Elbow, Estelle, Laura Marling, Neon Neon, Portico Quartet, Rachel Unthank & the Winterset, Radiohead and the Last Shadow Puppets.

Duet a

lbums used to be a regular thing, with established solo artists also recording collaborative projects. Back in the sixties and seventies, pairings like Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty, George Jones & Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson, and Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton alternated between solo albums and duet albums.

It's been a long time since this has been the norm, even though Willie Nelson releases collaborations with many different artists. There was a duet album planned for Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood in the late nineties, but it never came to pass.

With the success of Plant & Krauss, wouldn't it be cool to see this trend return? Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood, for example, or both on the same label. Their duet “Oh Love” was a high point on Paisley's album, and their performance of “Make the World Go Away” was a showstopper at the ACM awards this past may. They'd be my pick to make albums together.

Who do you think should bring back superstar duet projects to country music, making albums together on a regular basis?



  1. my choice would be vince gill and patty loveless.
    i think their voices go great together on “my kind of woman, my kind of man” and would love to hear an album of them

  2. Patty and Vince would be good but what about Jon Randall instead (since as an indie artist he could make it work). I’d classify Willie’s duet album with Wynton Marsalis as a brilliant project.

    I’d pair Reba with Ronnie Dunn for a whole record.

    I’d pair Trisha and Garth (The obvious one)

    Tim and Faith for a whole record.

  3. I would like to see several of the Crossroads from CMT matches to get together and make albums —

    Miranda Lambert and Jack Ingram – I really like the video for Gunpowder and Lead —

  4. Justin Moore & Emily West. That’d be entertaining as hell.

    Weirdly, I’ve always thought Kix Brooks might sound really nice with someone like Shelby Lynne.

    Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis ought to do a full duets album as well.

  5. I think Patty and Vince would be awesome. I’d also love an Alison & Vince album. Their crossroads had a lot of potential, even if I didn’t like all of their song choices. Their collaboration on “The Lucky One” was great!

    I wish that Garth and Trisha album would materialize. Now that they’re working with the same label, pretty much, the chances may be better. Their voices always sound similar to me, though Trisha never sounds as though she’s straining like Garth sometimes does.

    An Alan Jackson & Merle Haggard album would be cool too.

    I’d love to hear a full Jon Randall and Jessi Alexander album.

  6. Matt, that’s really good to hear. Last I heard, they were working on it back when Jon still had his Sony deal. I just figured it fell apart after he lost the deal.

  7. Honestly, I think that a Garth and Trisha album would be boring as hell. I’m not a fan of their duets when Trisha is doing anything other than providing harmony.

  8. Carrie Underwood and Rod Stewart. I’d even pay to see that!

    Hmmmm, same label. Hmmmmm.

    “Hot Legs” anyone? :-o

  9. Matt C,

    I think they would sound great together on an album, though I agree that their song choices so far have been lackluster for the most part. So, I’d hope they choose better for the duets project. I love “Squeeze Me In” though.

  10. Vince Gill and Patti Loveless would be a good pairing as would Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

    I’d really like to see a very country female paired with Justin Trevino – say Reba or someone like that. Reba’s not as good a singer as Justin but it would make an effective pairing. Also Steve Tyrell and Reba would make a good pairing

  11. I don’t know who Justin Trevino is, but he must be a really acceptional singer to be a better singer than Reba.

  12. no sweat leeann, we all know how hard it is in the trenches, fighting in a blog-freud. keep firing, private and don’t forget fix-fire-flank and you have em’ by the ….whatevers!

  13. There was talk back in the ’90’s of Vince and Patty doing a duets album but it never came to be (obviously).
    I also heard tell of the supposed Garth & Trisha collection.

    I would LOVE to see the duets trend kick back into gear.
    I’m a fan of Conway & Loretta, Porter & Dolly, Tammy & George… old school collections.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if alot of today’s possibilities are stopped at the record label door. Chesney’s label have been obnoxious about his recent collaborations being played, ie. w/ Reba and w/ Tim & Tracy.
    Perhaps they figure there’s more $$ to be made in a separate Reba album and a Ronnie Dunn album then putting them both on one.
    I know… nice…. (eye roll)

  14. I’ll second Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison for a whole album. Martina and Alan Jackson sound great together. Miranda and Blake harmonize well on “Home” and I’d imagine an album of them together would have enough attitude and energy to light a small trailer park for a year. Gary Allan and …anybody with a sweet voice…Allison Krauss maybe.

  15. LJ brought up some great points about why this isn’t more common nowadays. It really is silly, because I bet a well-done superstar duet album with two country singers would sell super well, especially if the two artists appealed to the same sort of fanbase.

  16. Maybe even better if the two artists didn’t appeal to the same sort of fan base, such as Krauss and Plant?

  17. I thought about that, and I’m not sure. I guess it probably depends on the fanbases involved. I would guess based on the numbers and how the album was marketed that most of Alison’s fans bought Raising Sand, while a significantly smaller percentage of Plant’s did (although if the album had been released during Led Zeppelin’s peak you can bet that would have been different). Either way, well-done superstar pairings are awesome.

  18. Vince Gill and Patty Loveless for sure!

    Also, I would put Sara Evans with Brad Paisley…Brad and Sara did an amazing duet of a song they wrote together called NEW AGAIN…VERY moving interpretation of the anguish Mary experienced while Jesus was being crucified.

    Also, Sara Evans was asked some years back who would be her ideal duet partner, She replied “Patty Loveless, we’d record In the Pines together.” This is very understandable, as both Patty and Sara have Bluegrass backgrounds and often sound similar with the Mountain timbre and authentic Country inflections in both their voices. I think Patty and Sara would also be an amazing duet team!

    -Steve from Boston

  19. I would definitely go along with Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton. Considering that they’re a pretty serious couple, and considering they seem to have great respect for traditional country, a duet album may not be too farfetched.

  20. Sara Evans wrote a song about Jesus?
    And just when you think you can’t POSSIBLY hear one more Sara Evans story to top the last one….

  21. It may or may never happen but I’d like to see Trisha working with her spiritual mentor Linda Ronstadt on something.

    In lieu of that, then, I’d gladly take Linda and Emmylou working together again as they had done almost a decade ago on WESTERN WALL.

  22. What’s your problem LJ? Why single out Sara for writing a song about her faith? The Gospel tradition is well ingrained into Country and Bluegrass music. I am a longtime fan of hers and have command of the facts, so be careful what you say, if your are thinking of repeating any hearsay, you may be refuted.

    I have seen too much misinformation and too many lies posted about this wonderful lady on the internet lately…but that’s what vultures like to do, they pile on..

    And how exactly is what I posted a “story” as you say?! And why is it OK for Carrie and Brooks and Dunn, and Randy Travis to sing about Jesus with major singles, and it is not OK for Sara to write and sing a song with Brad Paisley about the same subject?! Why is it that when she does, it draws sarcastic remarks from people like you?!

    And I’m not speaking as a fervent believer, I have my doubts..but I do believe in free artistic expression, and this song in particular, (New Again) is one of the most dramatic, tasteful and moving songs of faith I have ever heard. If it is able to move a skeptic like me, it must be something pretty special. Why don’t you give it a listen, you may actually enjoy it. Or is that invitation “too preachy” for you?!

    -Steve from Boston

  23. Although I don’t like the standoffishness here, I’ll defend Steve F. to the point that “New Again” from the Passion of the Christ inspired music CD is a VERY good song, and I think that Sara/Brad would sound good on additional songs.

    But as a result the song isn’t a “new story”, it’s been around for over four years.

  24. I hope I didn’t come accross as “standoffish” I really am a friendly guy!

    I was responding to a sarcastic remark from LJ about Sara. LJ’s remark was in response to my original post about Patty and Vince, and Brad and Sara. I felt LJ’s remark was uncalled for, as my original post was positive and constructive.

    I’m getting tired of the hit and run cheap shots against Sara…Agreed, no one has to like every artist, but for some reason the cracks against Sara seem to predominate and seem very unfair to me, not grounded in the facts. And the tone of some of the remarks on other threads is downright juvenile. Sara deserves better.

    Thanks Stephen H… I agree completely that Brad and Sara would be awesome on additional songs as well.

    -Steve from Boston

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