Tift Merritt / Two Dollar Pistols

Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt

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Chapel Hill, North Carolina, musicians the Two Dollar Pistols, led by John Howie Jr., team up with singer Tift Merritt of the Carbines for a real alt-country explosion, on this, their first-ever collaboration. This EP features seven cuts -- two originals and five cover tunes -- and every track is as smooth and tight as you could hope for. Howie's deep vocal strains compliment the exquisite country singing of Merritt, and the music that results sounds great. Among the tunes covered are Charley Pride's "I'm So Afraid of Losing You Again," George Jones and Melba Montgomery's "Suppose Tonight Would Be Our Last," Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris' "One Paper Kid," and Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton's "Just Someone I Used to Know." "We Had It All," written by Donnie Fritts, and previously recorded by both Ray Charles and Waylon Jennings, is given the duet treatment, and it works very well. The pair of Merritt/Howie originals fit perfectly into the mix. Merritt may be the best hope for a return to traditional country music. She is no doubt one of the finest female vocalists singing country today, and Howie ranks right up there at the top of the male vocalist category himself. The CD is only about 25 minutes long, but there isn't a wasted minute on it. There hasn't been this much honesty in country music since the day Gram Parsons met Emmylou Harris. We can only hope that the guys decide to return to the studio and cut a full-length work of art soon. Better yet, how about a live album? Just one listen and you'll be a fan.

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