My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Country’s greatest duos


Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner

Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner

Few things satisfy a country music fan more than when two of one’s favorite solo performers announce plans to go into the studio and record together.  Country music has a long and rich history of producing collaborations with such great chemistry that they threatened to overshadow the solo work of the same artists. Perhaps that’s why we don’t see country music stars pairing up to do duets on a regular basis anymore. Nowadays, Tim and Faith, or Reba and Vince, or Kenny and Dolly, will make guest appearances on one another’s albums but they generally don’t make duet albums anymore – or if they do, it’s a one time or very occasional special event.

Today, a duo is more likely to be two performers that perform exclusively together as an act – i.e., Brooks & Dunn, Sugarland, or Joey + Rory, as opposed to the old days when Conway and Loretta, George and Tammy, and Porter and Dolly regularly released duet albums concurrently with their solo work. Growing up I can remember listening to such classic pairings as Waylon & Willie, Waylon and Jessi, Kenny Rogers and Dottie West, and David Frizzell and Shelly West, in addition to the aforementioned Conway and Loretta, and George and Tammy. And then later, there were duos that collaborated less frequently, like Kenny and Dolly, Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart. Most of the Porter and Dolly duets were out of print and off the radio by the time I got into country music, but when some of their work was finally released on CD, it was like finding a long lost treasure.

Who are some of your favorite duos?

6 responses to “Country’s greatest duos

  1. Occasional Hope March 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Of the classics you’ve mentioned, I guess I like George and Tammy the best – two undeniably great voices and some classic material.

    I liked the earlier duet albums by Buddy and Julie Miller, but not so much their current one. In a similar vein (vaguely folky country) I have several duet albums by Barry and Holly Tashian, a lovely one by Hugh and Katy Moffat (brother and sister in this case) (Dance Me Outside, 1992), and three from another sibling duo, Tim and Mollie O’Brien.

    There was an album I really liked a couple of years ago by Jesse Dayton and Brennen Leigh, Holdin’ Our Own And Other Country Gold Duets – a few covers, (Something To Brag About, Take Me, Back Street Affair, Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man), but mostly new (and good) songs.

  2. Paul W Dennis March 19, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Porter Waggoner and Dolly Parton were the best duo as far as being able to blend their vocals, along with Buck Owens and Don Rich (never billed as a duo).

    My other favorites were David Houston / Barbara Mandrell and Ernest Tubb / Loretta Lynn (not a good vocal blend but with great chemistry and chock full of personality) . A duo familiar to Floridians John Dixon & Lee Ann Noel is excellent also .

  3. Steve from Boston March 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Patty Loveless and Vince Gill…Vince has called Patty his “singing sister” and I think they rate right up there with the best of ’em…(Vince thinks so too, lol..)

    Their teamwork seems to consist mostly of strong backing vocals on a lot of each other’s work, as opposed to strict duets. They’ve had a few of those as well, but whatever they do together, they do with deep emotional impact. and conviction. Just try to keep a dry eye when they belt out the heart wrenching “When I Call Your Name” for example, and most recently the amazing title cut from Patty’s Sleepless NIghts.

    Patty and Vince sang on each other’s first #1 singles, and won a CMA for their duet “My Kind of Woman, My Kind of Man”.

    They are a team of the ages, or at the very least, they are my absolute favorites.

  4. Chris March 19, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson definitely come to mind! I think I remember hearing that they may do another album together…

  5. Leeann Ward March 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I’d love another Kasey and Shane album! I just hope they don’t go more toward Shane’s rock sensibilities next time around. I like the uncompromising results of them going more toward Kasey’s country preferences.:)

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