Stop and consider for a moment the notion of the duet album versus a solo recording by an artist. Particularly in country western music, there have been many successful dynamic duos over the years: George Jones and Tammy Wynette… Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn ….. and lets not forget Johnny Cash and June Carter. These are classic combinations which helped expand the audiences (and careers) of the artists, making them household names around the world. Apparently, George and Tammy eventually became known as “Mr. & Mrs. Country Music” (according to the wiki, that is…).
Outside of the collaboration, of course, most of these artists have been able to sustain successful solo careers. But there is something special when two distinct voices get together and find that spark, one which strikes a chord in the listener’s heart and mind.
In the case of the up-and-coming artist, a duet project can be at both a blessing and a curse. This is something I’ve spoken about in the recent past regarding to Canadian-turned-Texan country western songstress Whitney Rose.
Whitney’s new album, Rule 62, produced again by Raul Malo of The Mavericks, finds her ready for that big break to elevate her to superstar status. That said, they were very careful in producing this record to leverage Raul’s gorgeous backing vocals without stealing Whitney’s limelight. The results are lovely especially on songs like album opener “I Don’t Want Half (I Just Want Out),” “You Never Cross My Mind,” “Tied To The Wheel” and even on chugging rockers like “Time To Cry.” Click through this link to check out the video for “Better To My Baby” for an idea of what I’m talking about.
But… still… I can’t help but think that these fine artists — who clearly have some special musical “muchness” going on (to borrow a phrase from Alice’s Mad Hatter) — have an opportunity to be the 21st-century’s premier sexy country-western recording couple, singing songs of love and longing for a new generation to discover.
There is a happening — yes, happening — vibe between their voices, so much so that I kinda wish they’d brought up Malo’s vocals a bit more in the mix. Magic is waiting to happen in them thar tracks!
Kidding aside, Rule 62 — which according to the Wiki, gets its title from an Alcoholics Anonymous’ suggestion to “Don’t Take Yourself Too Damn Seriously” — is a fine addition to Whitney Rose’s growing catalog and something worthy of your attention if you like classic country western sounds.
Regardless of whether you listen to her on a compact disc or digital download — or vinyl, which I hope to get my hands on when it comes out — Whitney Rose is real deal modern country with a sultry pop twist, tugging all the right heartstrings and pushing classic touchstones without falling into the trap of becoming generic country-rock.
Give her a listen.