Eight Need to Know Duos
A growing collection of talented singers and songwriters pair up to give us great music. Just like yin and yang, peanut butter and jelly, hipsters and skinny jeans—some things were meant to be together; and in this town you can expect some of the finest in musical match ups.
Written By: Valerie Hammond
Photographers: The Tennessean & Various
The Duo: Nashville artist Jessica Maros and multi-instrumental man about town Tyler James (of Ten of Tenn & Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes fame)
The Details: Escondido is a helping of Americana rootsy-ness with a side of classic spaghetti western. The feel is like a long winter in Marfa. With Sophia Loren. And a whiskey. Strange I know, but enjoy the washed out, lovelorn creation of these song slingers when "The Ghost of Escondido," explodes this month (Feb 26) and see them live March 1 at the High Watt.
The Duet: Willow Tree
ABC Nashville's Rising Duo
The Duo: Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio
The Details: One of my favorite pairs (though not technically a duo), are the underdogs of ABC's Nashville, Scarlett and Gunnar, a.k.a. Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio. If you'll admit to watching this soapy primetime drama, you know the real talent is finally getting their time in the spotlight. Mesmerizing moments at the Bluebird combine these beautiful voices with some of Nashville's finest songwriting. Can't wait to hear what's next.
The Duet: If I Didn't Know Better, written by John Paul White of the Civil Wars
Sugar & the Hi-Lows
The Duo: Amy Stroup and Trent Dabbs
The Details: Lauded in our Top 20 to Watch list, Stroup and Dabbs are the Batman and Robin of Nashville's dynamic duos. Their overflowing creative energies take the retro soul sound they've crafted and shake it out on the 21st century stage.
The Duet: See if For Yourself
Photo by Tec Petaja
The Civil Wars
The Duo: Joy Williams and John Paul White
The Details: Discord and awkward Grammy speeches aside, we're all still listening to this folksy duos' luxuriously sad songs. Thankfully the Civil Wars recently put out new music, "Long Time Gone," with friend and producer T Bone Burnett for the documentary A Place at the Table. Ready yourself as the complete soundtrack is available February 26.
The Duet: Does anyone else fondly remember when they first saw these two sway to Cohen's classic back in 2009? Dance me to the End of Love
The Duo: Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffee
The Details: These 20-something story tellers spin banjo, violin, guitar, and vocals into solemn songs packed with soul. By their own admission, you're not listening to country, not folk, not rock — but somewhere in between. You'll like that space.
The Duet: Don't Know How
The Duo: Josh and Nicole Johnson, Elenowen (EP)
The Details: These two were made for one another, in life and in music. Perhaps you recognize the cute couple from their appearance on the first season of NBC’s The Voice or from spots on One Tree Hill and MTV’s World Of Jenks where their heartfelt lyrics stole the show. Sharing a label with the Grammy nominated Lumineers, Elenowen's indie pop tunes have that Nashville touch with plenty of instrumentation and familiar Americana flavor.
The Duet: Run
Photos by Jamie Clayton
Elephant's Gerald (temporary moniker)
The Duo: Emily West and k.s. Rhoads
The Details: Each accomplished artists in their own right, Emily (a singer-songwriter for Capitol Records) and k.s. (a composer and bandleader of the Ten of Tenn tribe) create a new venture where her saturated sadness hangs on his melancholy minor chords. After hearing the Elephants perform in January, I'll admit it felt a lot like a first date—still a bit green on the vine when performing together; but their songs, so deep and intricately assembled, are ripe and ready to be devoured. Emily's voice could fill an ocean and k.s. has built an ark so we can all ride through together.
The Duet: White Horse
Enjoy our Nashville Duets playlist on Spotify: