Published May 23, 2014Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison have been making exceptional country records, together and apart, for almost 25 years now, but nothing they've ever done has been the equal of 2013's indelible Cheater's Game, a delicious collection of their own material and well-chosen songs by their peers and pals. Billed as their first official record as a duo — despite the fact that the married couple have frequently collaborated on each others' solo outings over the years — Cheater's Game announced the mid-career rebirth of Willis and Robison as a kind of traditional country supergroup. On Our Year, the king and queen of Americana seek not to outdo that watershed record, but rather to pick up where it left off.
A mellow, homespun affair, Our Year is dominated by covers, lending it a decidedly offhand feel. This is only half-criticism, however; if Robison wasn't such an ingenious songwriter, one might not even notice how few of these tracks are his. But he is, and we do. Still, as usual, the songs Willis and Robison have chosen to play here are all absorbing, and their close-harmony approach serves the material beautifully. On standouts like Robyn Ludwick's aching "Departing Louisiana," the Zombies' "This Will Be Our Year" and the welcome surprise that is Willis' playful reading of Tom T. Hall's classic "Harper Valley P.T.A.," the Bruce and Kelly Show is in full, harmonious effect.
Read our exclusive interview with Willis here. (Sony Music)