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Our Year

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

If Austin s happily egalitarian music scene suddenly switched to a monarchy, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis might have to learn to perform while balancing hefty crowns. The two already reign as one of Americana music s coolest couples, and their latest release, Our Year, elevates them closer to the lofty territory once occupied by beloved royals Johnny n June and George n Tammy.

Working again in Nashville with producer Brad Jones, they delivered their musical thoughts in 10 outstanding tracks, from formidable originals to well-honed covers including a knockout version of the Tom T. Hall-penned Harper Valley PTA.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 27, 2014)
  • Original Release Date: May 27, 2014
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Premium Records
  • Run Time: 32 minutes
  • ASIN: B00JN68LJE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,653 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 12, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis
"Our Year"
(Premium Records, 2014)
. . . .

Another fine album from hard country's reigning husband-wife duo... Honestly, I can't tell you how how much I love hearing their voices together (and solo) and of course, the calibre of songwriting and musicianship is always top-notch. In addition to more great Bruce Robison originals, this set features several cool cover tunes, such as Walter Hyatt's homage to Detroit and American car culture, "Motor City Man," and Buddy Mize's weeper, "Hangin' On." The album's most delightful surprise is that the title comes from their cover of an old rock ballad by The Zombies (one of my favorite '60s bands!) and when Willis croons "This Will Be Our Year" to a stripped-down country arrangement -- with a banjo and pedal steel taking the place of the brass fanfare and dreamy keyboards of the original -- it's a moment of sheer brilliance. Not surprisingly, Willis and Robison have chosen perfect accompanists, with particularly strong contributions from Eamon Mclaughlin on fiddle and mandolin, and Geoff Queen playing dobro and pedal steel. This is sweet, soulful country traditionalism at its best... Another gem from these unfussy twangcore auteurs. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Country Music)
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This married pair has appeared together on stage and on one another's solo releases, but it's only in the past few years they've focused on working regularly as a duo. Their duets on tribute albums, and what at the time seemed a one-off project in 2003's Happy Holidays (and its 2006 expansion), turned into a deeper collaboration with 2012's Cheater's Game, live shows and now a second album. As on their previous releases, they trade leads, backing and harmony vocals, supporting one another with a familiarity that makes duets more than the sum of their parts. Robison contributes a pair of original songs, Willis one, and they fill out the track list with endearingly selected covers.

The album opens with "Departing Louisiana," a biographical song whose emotional details suggest a Robison original, but it's actually from the pen of his sister, Robyn Ludwick. When you count in their brother Charlie, it's clear that songwriting runs in the family. Robison's "Carousel" evinces the resigned sadness of Roger Miller's "Husbands and Wives," but the mood is turned around by the rolling beat and hopeful longing of Willis' "Lonely for You." The album's covers include Buddy Mize's "Hangin' On," sung with the same enthralled powerlessness as the Gosdin Brothers' original, and a funky take on Tom T. Hall's "Harper Valley PTA" that's become a staple of Willis' live act.
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This is great American music. This follow up to last year's Cheater's Game--one of the best albums of 2013--is every bit as strong and satisfying.

Bruce and Kelly are so much more enjoyable together (not that they were bad as soloists). As a duet, their talents seem to jump exponentially. Every song is great. But their version of Harper Valley PTA is downright soulful. Motor City Man echoes some of the swinging songs from Cheater's Game. And even though I originally thought This Will Be Our Year was a love song that would surely endure as a classic, thanks to a posted Amazon comment, I learned that it already was a classic first performed by The Zombies and later the Foo Fighters.

Let's hope they continue to make many more great records like this!
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I couldn't wait to hear "Our Year" and played the CD as soon as it arrived in the mail today. I could listen to Kelly and Bruce all day long and this is every bit as good as "Cheater's Game" which was #1 on the AMA Chart for many weeks. I love every song on "Our Year" and can't even decide which one is my favorite. Kelly's rendition of "Harper Valley PTA" is the best I ever heard and was like watching the scene unfold--"Mrs. Johnson" really did sock it to the Harper Valley PTA!--and I found myself rooting for her as Kelly was singing the song. It is wonderful to hear a couple sing together who sound like they are still so much in love and I know that every year will be THEIR year.
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I haven't heard a Kelly Willis record since the oughts. I was never a huge fan and really wanted to like her stuff more than I did. This record really brought out her potential.
Bruce and Kelly not only work together well, they bring out the best in each other. There are a lot of cover tunes on the album that they service well. It is odd however to hear someone other than Jeannie C. Riley sing Harper Valley P.T.A., but Kelly Makes it work.
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It's hard for me to be objective about these two. I'm a fan of their music individually, and really enjoyed their first album together. Our Year shows that they are onto something with the Bruce and Kelly Show, and that they should keep at it. First cut of the album written by sister/sister-in-law Robyn Ludwick is a highlight, as is Kelly's take on Harper Valley PTA. If you like Americana/Alt Country or just good music, check this one out.
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