Discussion: 21st Century Trio

One of the landmarks of Dolly Parton’s career was the Trio album, her platinum-selling collaboration with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.   It was one of the few country albums in history to receive a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, and it won every major industry award, including the ACM for Top Album.

Just as compelling was Parton’s collaboration with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, which went gold despite zero support from country radio.   After another collaboration with Ronstadt and Harris in the late nineties, there hasn’t been another collaboration of the sort from any major country artists.

I think this concept needs to be updated for the 21st Century.  My vote is for a Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis and Carlene Carter album that fulfills the promise of their headlining 1996 tour.

Which three artists would you like to see put out a trio album?


  1. Loveless/Womack/Yearwood

    Though I don’t think they’d harmonize quite right…

    Nothing against Ms Yearwood, but I’d be happy to substitute any of the following for Yearwood:
    – Bogguss
    – Wright
    – Carpenter

    Julie Roberts/Underwood/


    Current “Queens”:

    The Jesus(/Uplifting) Trio:

  2. What I’d like to see is Linda and Emmylou team up with Trisha Yearwood (mainstream) or possibly Tift Merritt (Americana), since Linda and Emmy are considered the Gold standard for great female singers of the country/rock/Americana variety.

    What I think should be kept in mind about such all-star collaborations is knowing what made the Ronstadt/Parton/Harris Trio collaborations successful. Those three women had already known each other for many years and did not consider each other their competition. Their two collaborative albums were not figments of somebody’s imagination, of putting three singers in some studio and getting them to create and be cash cows.

    The way the business is nowadays, it’s possible that only Dolly, Linda, and Emmylou could have ever gotten away with this sort of thing (IMHO).

  3. Hmmm… I see Lee Ann Womack, Sugarland (with no Kristian singing, which doesn’t happen a ton anyway), and Jamie O’Neal.

    They all have distinctive voices, and I think they would make some very interesting material working together. It would be a hybrid of There’s More Where That Came From and Love On The Inside with some of Jamie’s two albums sprinkled in. The only problem is their styles would clash some, but I think it would work.

  4. Something like Reba, Carrie and Martina would be cool – Different generations. Or maybe Lee Ann Womack, and Allison Krauss and Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland) would be interesting and cool to see.

  5. Patty Loveless, Sara Evans, and Trisha Yearwood.

    Patty and Trisha have already worked very well together on several projects, and Patty and Sara have very similar “mountainy” sounding voices. Similar in tone, phrasing, inflections, and moderate twang levels.

    Years ago, Sara Evans was asked who would be her ideal duet partner, and she replied “Patty Loveless, we’d record In The Pines together” I, for one, would love to hear a three part harmony version of this Bluegrass standard from Patty, Sara, and Trisha.

    On the other hand, Patty, Alison and Emmylou have already brought the house down with their harmonies on the “Down From the Mountain” tour…maybe THEY should cut a whole album together!

  6. Carrie, Patty and Allison. That would be heavenly…Plus, Carrie could bring out that traditional country in her that I know she has.

  7. The Carrie/Reba/Ashton trio suggested above sounds interesting.

    My choice would be Josh Gracin / Jason Aldean / Dierks Bentley, who all used to be my three favourite country singers.

    My non-country choice would be from the three bands Hedley, the Jonas Brothers, and McFly, my current three favorites.

  8. Anything combination that puts Reba and Jennifer Nettles together would be a winner for me. I would kill to hear those two sing together … um, and we could add Trisha Yearwood to ensure perfect harmonies … and I think we have ourselves a Trio, ladies and gentlemen.

  9. Reba, Shania, and Carrie..
    They all seem to have a big respect for country music and its history, plus they all did sometimes crossover, but they did it tastefully.. Plus I’d just like to see these three together :)

    Another one is Sara Evans, Martina McBride, and Faith Hill

  10. Rainbow, I’m sorry to say I’m cringing…a lot!Surely, Jimmy Wane and Josh Gracin shouldn’t be put in the same trio as Vince Gill. What has Vince done so wrong for him to deserve for that to happen to him?

  11. Chris N, Those are some really interesting choices!

    Lori McKenna is our hometown girl here in the Boston area, and we love her..This Northeastern lass has a folksy downhome voice that can sound more Country (and even more Southern at times, lol) than some of today’s prominent Country-Pop divas…she can make her voice crack with the best of ’em!

    For those unfamiliar with Lori, she was prominent on the Boston folk scene, her style is still somewhat eclectic, but thanks to Faith Hill and Tim McGraw she has been embraced by Nashville, played at the Opry, and co-written with Liz Rose. (Lori writes most of her own stuff though) Lori has also opened for Trisha Yearwood recently.

    Lori sings about everyday life, bringing glamor to the “Unglamorous” (which is also the name of her awesome current album)..

    But yeah, I can also hear Lori with Allison Moorer and Sarah Buxton! Very interesting Chris.

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