Having veritably grown up in one, I have always been a lover of musical duos. Even great solos get boring, and three is already a band. But a duo is fortified on the one hand and vulnerable on the other, interesting and yet very human.
Guitar and mandolin was a popular duet setup, especially in the Brother duets of the 1930s. (The Delmore Brothers used a four string tenor guitar and a six string guitar, but the mando/guitar paradigm ruled for the Monroe, Bollicks, and Louvin Brothers. The Stanley Brothers used banjo and guitar.) It's hard to find a better duo anywhere these days than Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and they play very different guitars, with definite rhythm and lead roles. Gillian's also become a very good clawhammer banjo picker. (More on them next issue.)
One of the things that makes Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez such a compelling duo is that they employ the extremely musical and versatile guitar and fiddle combination. They're both fine singers, full of character and expression. Chip's a solid guitar player, nothin' fancy, and Carrie's a very accomplished instrumentalist. Chip Taylor is a songwriter of rare distinction, with legendary cuts alongside his name. Suffice it to say that the best known ones are "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning." His songs, and their songs together on their first two records, are consistently top shelf material, and bear a strong signature.
when we reviewed their second CD, The Trouble with Humans, we were
so taken with their sound and vibe that we had to get a closer look, and
after meeting them briefly at the Americana Conference, caught them in
NYC for a phone interview. I found them both deep and fascinating, a study
in high contrasts and close harmony. You've probably been hearing about
them, so now hear their songs and their story in their own words. We think
you'll fall for them and their soulful music, as we certainly have.