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Duets

Country Standard Time Editorial, July 2007

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are in the midst of their third ultra-successful tour together, dubbed Soul2Soul 2007. During the course of the concert, McGraw and Hill both enjoy their own stints on the circular stage with the first couple of country music performing duets together as well, such as "Angry All the Time" and "It's Your Love."

During the Live Earth series of concerts on July 7 to publicize the problem of global warming, a last minute addition was a show in Washington, D.C., featuring a short stint from Garth Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood. They played one song together, "We Shall Be Free," a political-based song from Brooks circa 1992 about accepting people for who they are.

With Brooks retired from music, the stage was left open to Hill and McGraw for duets and performing as a couple. Hill said in a recent interview that the current edition of their tour would be their last. Of course, they doubtlessly are not closing the door for sure on any future concert tours like this and hopefully not recording together either.

But the idea of Hill and McGraw and Brooks and Yearwood singing and performing together recalls a different era of country music when couples - some in real life and some only in recording - such as Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette and George Jones - offered their take on country music.

It's too bad that just rarely happens any more today because country lends itself so well to this type of song - relationships with "he said/she said" lyrics.

Yes, there has been the occasional song featuring male/female singers, such as Billy Currington with Shania Twain on "Party For Two" three years ago, Clint Black and wife Lisa Hartman Black and Vince Gill with Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton and Patty Loveless, but they were all pretty much one-off projects.

Wouldn't it be great to hear McGraw and Hill do a whole album of duets or McGraw on lead and Hill backing and vice versa? The electricity that they often bring to their songs live is exciting.

One wonders if the business logistics of dealing with record companies and lawyers would get in the way of making a recording happen.

Or maybe Brooks will come out of retirement - it seems amazing he has waited this long to resurface and put out new music - and do his own thing with his wife. That could be one powerful outing as well, and Brooks certainly has the ability to call his own shots whenever he is ready to resurface.

Here's hoping that maybe these artists or others out there and record companies will have the vision and courage to do something outside the same old, same old. Take a look back at country music's past and what worked numerous times and do it again in the future for something new and exciting to this generation of country music fans.