The singing partners range from Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood to Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton, from Loretta Lynn to Mavis Staples and Alison Krauss. Dolly joins Willie for “From Here To The Moon And Back,” a duet she wrote that was originally recorded with Kris Kristofferson for 2012′sA Joyful Noise film. The duet with Willie is actually miles better than the Kristofferson one and sets the stage for Miranda Lambert’s duet “She Was No Good For Me,” a previously unknown (to me at least) track from Waylon Jennings with a 2012 copyright date. The Secret Sisters — who released a fantastic album in 2011 — perform “IT Won’t Be Very Long,” a song written by Willie and Buddy Cannon which is just one more case where the sisters from Alabama show off their traditional Country sounds.
Kristofferson’s “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends” finds Willie dueling with Rosanne Cash while Sheryl Crow handles “Far Away Places” and Wynonna sings “Bloody Mary Morning” with Willie. As good as all of these songs are, Carrie Underwood’s performance of “Aways On My Mind” just cements why she should record a collection of Classic Country standards as she was born to sing such songs (even though she does quite well with her own contemporary fare). Mavis Staples joins Willie for a soulful, bluesy take of “Grandma’s Hands,” a gem from the catalogue of Bill Withers, while Loretta Lynn joined Willie on Merle Haggard’s classic “Somewhere Between.”
Everything about To All The Girls…is a delight. It’s the kind of classic duets albums that rarely get made anymore but it’s fitting that a classic star like Willie Nelson would be the man to pull in such a wide-ranging collection of female talent from all points of music to collaborate with him. 18 tracks of fantastic duets, what more could fans want?