Carrie Rodriguez and Ben Kyle 'We Still Love Our Country' Ninth Street Opus

While she has made more interesting and inventive recordings this duet album, this is one that will undoubtably make its way onto my player more often, at least for the time being. This mini album of six covers and two originals is delivered in a classic way with fiddle and steel prominent. But like all the classic country duet albums it's the voices that make it so special. Although starting as a fiddle player Rodriguez found her voice when she played with Chip Taylor. Since then it has developed into a striking instrument as forceful as her fiddle playing. In Ben Kyle she has found a perfect foil vocally. The Romantica singer and Rodriguez combine their voices in a way that is every bit as powerful as the Gram and Emmylou or George and Tammy combinations were. The two songs Your Lonely Heart and Fire Alarm, especially the former fit well with the more well know songs. What also stands out is the ensemble playing which is done with a light touch that Nashville has long forgotten how to do. If I Needed You, My Baby's Gone, Unwed Fathers and Love Hurts are such great songs anyway that it may be hard to do a bad version but they, most certainly, don't. These versions stand up well even against the most renowned versions. Big Kiss is a Chip Taylor song and a nod to her mentor and how confident Rodriguez has become as a singer.  But that's not to underestimate Kyle equally important contribution. The duo co-produced the album with Lee Townsend who produced Love and Circumstance. One can only hope that they will, at some point, carry the partnership on. Rodriguez's next album will be original songs so we will have to wait and see how that turns out. This, as the album title states, is about a love of genuine country music that she (they) would have heard growing up. It's hard not to love this album if you are captivated by passionate vocals, great songwriting and perceptive playing.