The top ten Americana duets

In these trying times we can think of nothing better here at AUK than knocking out Top Ten’s of this, that and the other. Indeed every man and his wife (or every wife and her husband or every wife and her wife or every husband and his husband or… let’s just say everyone and their significant other) seems to be on the case. That being so we have decided to turn our attention to ‘Duets’. Previously you’d pretty much have to have been in the same room as someone else to record a duet (or at least have access to the technology to allow you collaborate remotely) but now it appears that everybody with a voice, a guitar and a reliable internet connection can do it (with variable results it has to be said). Here, however, we refer to the archives and present to you our non-exhaustive and completely subjective Top Ten Americana Duets. If you think we’ve missed any sterling examples, please let us know in our comments below. Those of a sensitive disposition will be pleased to know that The Editor’s suggestion that we kick off with Dolly and Kenny’s ‘Islands In The Stream’ didn’t make the cut.

Richmond Fontaine featuring Deborah Kelly  ‘Post To Wire’
Long time AUK favourites (they occupied a slot at our legendary Americana 10 anniversary celebration) bring on board Deborah Kelly for this cracking country-rock romp.

Jim White featuring Aimee Mann ‘Static On The Radio’
Call and response never got any better than this low key rumbler which we find is impossible not to sing along to.

Dwight Yoakam and Sheryl Crow ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’
Big hat country meets big hair singer-songwriter in this cover of a Sonny and Cher tune. Huge fun.

Ryan Adams featuring Emmylou Harris ‘Sweet Carolina’
Nobody is allowed to like Ryan Adams any more but this was before we knew any better. Features The legendary Emmylou, a favourite of Adam’s mother’s.

Isobell Campbell and Mark Lanegan ‘Come On Over (Turn Me On)’
A Belle without her Sebastian and a Queen of the Stone Age conspire to produce one of the creepiest ‘love’ songs in living memory.

Steve Earle featuring Lucinda Williams ‘You’re Still Standing There’
The royalty of Americana come together to tap feet and blow harmonica. What’s not to like?

Thomas Dybdahl ‘Adelaide’
Scandicana artist Dybdahl gives us this beautiful paean to ‘possible’ first love. We used to know who the female vocal was by but forgot and it turns out Google is rubbish at telling us.

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young ‘Star of Bethlehem’
Ex-Canadian famous bloke gets together with serial collaborator Harris. Result: bliss.

Nathaniel Rateliff featuring Julie Davis ‘You Should’ve Seen The Other Guy’
We’ve been following Rateliff since the early days, once seeing him play to twenty people in a bar in Coventry (whereupon he dedicated this song to us). Tune.

Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash ‘Jackson’
How could we not?

About Paul Villers 187 Articles
I am a professional curmudgeon. I don't care and neither should you. Buy me gin and we can possibly be friends.
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Stephen Goldsmith

John Prine/Swamp Dogg singing Let Me Go Round Again (including references to better mousetraps) and Summers End sung by Nathaniel Rateliff and Courtney Marie are both very good. John Prine/Roger Cook singing Love is on a Roll, the Don William’s song they wrote and Warren Zevon and Dwight with Heartache Spoken Here. Lastly Lyle Lovett and Keb Mo with Till it Shines. Damn I love a great duet


John Prine & Iris DeMent – In Spite of Ourselves

Pat Chappelle

Emmylou with anyone, of course, but to not include GP…? That would be my first port of call. Oh, and then the Louvin Brothers — you can’t have a duets list without some siblings, which brings us neatly to First Aid Kit…

David Jarman

All great choices! I’d add a couple of duets featuring Boz Scaggs–one of my all time top five artists, not usually seen as an Americana act, but in his fifth era he has recent albums with some great interpretations of classic songs, as well as some originals. His album ‘A Fool to Care’ (2015) features duets with Lucinda Williams on ‘Whispering Pines’ ( The Band ), and Bonnie Raitt on ‘Hell to Pay’, a Boz original, which also features Lucinda on harmonies and guitar.