Music can and does touch all of us in different ways. Whether we’re playing it or singing it, or just simply listening to a great song, it connects with all of us in a way that nothing else can. For those of us who get to make music, that connection is even deeper. But few of us get the joy of what husband and wife Jason Eady and Courtney Patton have found, the gift of making music with someone we love. It is why duets can be uniquely powerful forms of expression, and it’s why fans of the two Texas artists have been anxious for a duets album from them for years. It would bring two incredibly talented artists and regular touring partners together, but more than that, it would be a timeless and personal display of the love and the music they share.
Last October, we all got our wish when it was announced an acoustic duets album, mostly of covers of songs previously recorded by each of them, would be available in early 2017. Then, with very little fanfare, the album dropped in December on iTunes and Amazon and is now available in physical copies. This is my first experience reviewing an album mostly of covers, but I feel that this one deserves my attention.
I won’t go through each track here because most of them are songs previously recorded by Eady or patton. These were selected by their fans, and they did a nice job highlighting some of the best of each artist’s individual work. If you are unfamiliar with one or both of them, this is a great place to start. Jason Eady’s “Cry Pretty,” a heartbreaking song about a man running into his ex and remembering how she looked when she left him, is arguably even better as an acoustic song with Courtney Patton’s backing vocals. Patton’s “Twelve Days,” a song she wrote for Eady about missing him on the road, means even more here with him harmonizing. Another excellent choice was “where I’ve Been,” a song written by Jason from the point of view of a woman and recorded by Courtney on last year’s So This is Life. The woman is lonely in her current relationship and telling the man that she’ll be there physically, but she isn’t committed to trying anymore because he is ignoring her; “If you ever decide that you ever wanna try again, I’ll be here in the morning, just don’t ask me where I’ve been.” It was a great solo, but it resonates even more when you hear it sung from both sides, the lonely woman and the man she’s addressing.
There are lighthearted moments on the album too. “Man on a Mountain,” first recorded by Eady, is a fun, upbeat song about a “mountin man” and a “valley girl” who would love to be with each other, but they can’t agree on anything. IN the end, they decide, “let’s meet in the middle, let’s never meet again.” “Move it on Home,” one of the few songs that neither had performed before, is another fun moment. The man is staying out late drinking in a bar while the woman is at home heating and reheating dinner. Eventually, he decides to go home “where heaven on earth and love is at.” Easily the most infectious part of the whole album is the closer, where Courtney takes the lead on the traditional “welcome Table.”
As I mentioned, not all of these songs were revised versions of the artist’s individual material. Eady takes the lead on a great rendition of Merle Haggard’s “My favorite Memory,” followed by a Patton-led track called “The words to My favorite Memory,” where she sings about playing the Haggard song when she found out her lover had died. The album highlight, written by eady and fellow Texas songwriter Adam Hood, is “Suffering Fools.” Here, a couple are staying with each other simply because “we know it’s the right thing to do.” They sing, in chilling harmony, “Why don’t you go your way, and I will go mine, and we won’t be suffering fools.” The harmony here, and in several other places throughout the record, is something special and showcases the musical and personal chemistry between them.
Jason Eady and Courtney Patton are each great artists in their own right, and a duets album from them is truly special. I do wish there had been more original songs, and some of the songs felt a little less like duets than just an acoustic version with backing vocals. But there is no doubt that these are excellent song choices and that the two are excellent together. If you don’t know one or both of these artists, this is a great place to start for good Texas country and authentic, honest songwriting. for fans of one or both of them, this is a good addition to each of their discographies. either way, it is definitely worth checking out.