Re: Bluegrass duets
Bill Monroe did an "...and Friends" album in the '80's, with singers from Emmylou Harris, to Willie Nelson, to Johnny Cash sittin' in with him. Even the Oak Ridge Boys and Barbara Mandrell! Quite a few people wonder how Performer X and Performer Y would sound together, and there's a strong country music tradition of duet singing: Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and a nearly-endless list of others.
There's also a fairly extensive history of non-bluegrass artists recording bluegrass album projects, from Rose Maddox Sings Bluegrass through Skeeter Davis's I Love Flatt & Scruggs, Tom T. Hall's The Magnificent Music Machine, Emmylou's Roses In the Snow, Patty Loveless' two Mountain Soul albums, Jonathan Edwards' collaboration with the Seldom Scene, and many more. Some work, some don't. Reminds me a bit of the great "folk revival" of the 1960's, when pop artists from Chubby Checker through Connie Francis to Trini Lopez released "folk" albums. Smart managers and A&R men do their best to hit every niche that might be profitable.
There are country artists who either came up in bluegrass (Vince Gill, Marty Stuart), or at least have a real love and understanding of the style. When they decide to do a bluegrass project, they do it right. While not bluegrass, the Trio album with Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton (1987) showed what country and pop performers who love traditional music, can do with a fairly heterogeneous collection of songs, in a sensitive acoustic format.
I don't fault non-bluegrass performers for giving the style a try, if they get good producers, use experienced bluegrass musicians, and pick repertoire that's faithful to the genre and that suits their styles and talents. Bluegrass is a small enough musical field, that none of these "immigrants" is going to get wealthy selling a bluegrass CD. In many cases, it's just 'cause they really like the music, and what's wrong with that...?
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