Country music has a long tradition of duets. Whoever your favorite country artist is, he or she has probably recorded a duet. J.P. Harris explored the tradition with Why Don’t We Duet in the Road. He explores it even further on the new EP Why Don’t We Duet in the Road (Again).
The EP opens with “Last Thing on My Mind”, which was originally recorded by Porter Waggoner and Dolly Parton. On this version, Harris is Joined by Malin Pettersen. This is an uptempo tune with a pedal steel part by Thomas Bryan Eaton and a rhythm (Miss Tess on bass and Aaron Shaffer-Haiss) that are made for getting couples dancing in a dark honky tonk. Meanwhile, Harris and Pettersen harmonize so beautifully that you’ll wish for more collaborations between the two.
A cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain” is next on the EP. It starts with some folky picking on an acoustic guitar with some pedal steel in the background. Erin Rae harmonizes in a voice that, like Joan Baez, is quietly powerful. She doesn’t have to over-emote to make you notice the pure sound of her voice.
Harris joins with Miss Tess on “Ocean of Tears”, originally performed by Ernie Ford and Kay Starr. This one has a jazzy, western-swing feel that makes you feel like you should wear something with a fringe. Miss Tess shows that she could just as easily be a jazz singer in this song that is perfect for slow dancing.
The EP closes with Elizabeth Cook joining Harris for a cover of “On the Rebound” by Del Reeves and Billie Joe Spears. This song features a classic honky-tonk bass line, some lonesome pedal steel and the story of two people who found each other when they were on the rebound from previous relationships. Cook’s vocals have a vintage sound that show she was the perfect choice for a partner on this song.
If you’re a fan of country duets, you’ll love this EP engineered and mixed by Justin Ryan Francis. It features classic-country melodies and harmonies that are hard to resist. Why Don’t We Duet in the Road (Again) will be available everywhere from Free Dirt Records on September 13. Order your copy here .