So, I’ve been trying to make a list of the best country duets. I realized this is a near-impossible task: is there any genre that has more duets than country? Maybe hip hop, but that’s a different kind of duet.

For the moment, my criteria are only the quality of the voices and the appeal of the harmonies. The harmony is a tough one, because sometimes the easiest ones to sing can be beautiful, so I’m not trying to judge on harmonic complexity only.

This is in no way an exhaustive list, but perhaps the beginning of an ongoing conversation. I’d like to hear others’ lists.

Here’s my top five:

5. NQ Arbuckle and Carolyn Mark, “When I Come Back.”
This one was tough, a toss-up between it and “Officer Down.” Their voices work really well together through their whole duet album. But I like the angst of the lyrics behind NQ’s growls in this one and the kind of urgent feel of the arrangement.

4. George Jones and Melba Montgomery, “We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds.”
I love the throaty twang of her voice.

3. Steve Earle and Siobhan Kennedy, “Poison Lovers.”
I don’t know why I love this one so much, but I play it all the time. I like the way Earle sings in the last chorus, changing the harmony, and letting these little grunts and sighs into his voice.

2. Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris, “Greenville.”
Well. These two voices. Amazing harmonies. Nothing else to say.

1. Louvin Brothers, “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby.”
Anyone care to dispute this one?

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I'll second "Baby Ride Easy" by Carlene Carter and Dave Edmunds with the famous lines:

If your lovin' is good 

And your cookin' ain't greasy 
HITCH UP the chuck wagon 
And we'll ride away 

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson  -  Wreck & Ruin   " Adam and Eve"   love that song!

Dailey & Vincent

Shaver - Tramp on your Street  " Heart of Texas & Oklahoma wind"  with Waylon

Tim O'brien & Darrell Scott - real time

"The Quiet Life" is my favorite duet from Wreck & Ruin.

I love Ernest Tubbs big grin in the background!

One of my favorites is Kelly Willis and Robbie Fulks doing Parallel Bars.

 Parallel Bars by Kelly Willis (with Robbie Fulks) on Grooveshark

I wanted to mention "Parallel Bars" also, but I didn't know who sang it.  Thanks for all you do for ND.

Sticking to your criteria of Country duets with great harmonies may I suggest:

No One Is Going to Love You Better - Heather Myles and Merle Haggard

How's the World Treating You - Alison Krauss and James Taylor

You and Me and Time - George Jones and Georgette Jones

My Kind of Woman - Vince Gill and Patty Loveless

The New Partner's Waltz - Linda Ronstadt and Carl Jackson

Love and Happiness - Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris

I heartily recommend you check out My Darling Clementine for a batch of original songs written and performed by a UK duo, including these. 


I love Lyle Lovette and Francine Reed

The first thing that came to my mind though was Johnny and June doing Jackson.  Another that I haven't noticed yet is Sonny and Cher doing "I've Got You, Babe".  Am I too old and conventional?

Willie and Waylon doing "Pancho and Lefty" is also a favorite.

Okay, Gillian....I've read through a lot of these great choices, but I showed up late for the dance - so if this has been said already, I apologize. My vote goes to Fairytale in New York with Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl, written by MacGowan and Jem Finer. The song breaks my heart every time I listen to it.


Too many to choose from. Here's a list of some of my favorites. There are a few repeats from earlier lists and some additions:

Love Hurts - Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris

The Battle - Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary

Conversations About A Friend (Who's in Love With Katie) Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell

Keep Your Distance - Buddy & Julie Miller

Oh My Sweet Carolina - Ryan Adams and Emmylou Harris

Juanita - Sheryl Crow & Emmylou Harris (Gram Parsons cover, from Return of the Grievous Angel tribute album)

The Wedding Song - Charlie Robison & Natalie Maines

Golden Ring - George Jones & Tammy Wynette. I actually like the version they did in 1994 on George Jones' Bradley Barn Sessions album.

Whiskey Lullabye - Brad Paisley & Allson Krauss

God's Wing'ed Horse - Buddy & Julie Miller

A Song for You - Whiskeytown (Gram Parsons cover, from Return of the Grievous Angel tribute album. It's not officially a duet, but Caitlin Cary's harmony is so perfect on this)

Little Chapel - Dwight Yoakam & Heather Myles

Warm and Tender Love (Percy Sledge cover) - Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell.  This may be my favorite of all the ones I've listed. Here's a performance on you tube, but this pales in comparison to the album version from "Begonias."

I don't think Oh My Sweet Carolina's  really a duet either , is it ? I've certainly never thought of it as one. Not that it matters mind you .



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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.